The palatial St. Regis has reigned since 1926 just two blocks from the White House, a classic, sumptuous Italian Renaissance ode to Old World hospitality. An innate sense of service and attention to the most meticulous details are what set this grande dame apart. Beautifully appointed rooms in traditional style, a romantic Mediterranean restaurant, and a buzzy Sunday brunch round out a very special stay for heads of state, diplomats, businesspeople, glam celebs, and normal folk alike.
Special perks include a daily 6 p.m. champagne sabering ceremony and toast, with the bartender opening a bottle of bubbly using a sword to celebrate the transition of day into night.
Decorated in a variety of muted palates, the guest rooms retain the hotel's historic feel with dark wood furniture, damask drapes and Italian Renaissance painted chandeliers--yet you'll enjoy the top of luxury with pillow-top beds, Pratesi cotton linens, and state-of-the-art Bose technology. They're a little on the small side for a luxury hotel, but full of light thanks to high ceilings and large windows. You have your choice of superior, deluxe, premiere deluxe, or suite (the most extravagant of which is the 2,700-square-foot Presidential Suite).
YOU SHOULD KNOW Suites offer your very own personal butler, who will unpack your suitcase, purchase Kennedy Center tickets or make dinner restaurants at the town’s hottest dining spot.
The marble-and-tile bathrooms tend to be smallish, though the two-sink vanities, fluffy towels, custom-designed brass fixtures and Laboratories Remède products are definite perks. Most rooms have showers only (suites have shower/tub combos).
Now, this is a lobby. The outside world melts away the second you enter this Gilded Age drawing room--for that's what it feels like, with its red velvet and leather furniture, crystal chandeliers, accents of gold and tapestry, and homey touches such as stacks of coffee table art books and orchid accents. Be sure to admire the gilded coffered ceiling, a work of art in itself.
There is no spa, though plans are in the works to build one by 2019.
The small basement gym offers treadmills, elliptical machines, and free weights (though why would you run on a treadmill when the National Mall, one of the world's greatest running and walking routes, awaits nearby?). Plans are in the works to renovate the fitness center by 2019.
Silver chrome and white, midcentury furniture, see-through walls of wine and several alcoves with crystal chandeliers and sheers for privacy are unabashedly romantic in the hotel's signature St. Regis Restaurant. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more romantic place to celebrate an anniversary--or to propose. The Mediterranean-inspired menu showcases seasonal dishes by executive chef Sébastien Rondier's childhood experiences in southern France.
An Orient Express essence pervades this luxurious space, with its Chesterfield leather sofas, archway doors and soft lighting. Order an Old Fashioned or Classic Red Snapper and relax by the fireplace. Light fare and small plates are offered between 11:30 a.m. and 11 p.m.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The St. Regis is famed for the Capitol Mary, a local twist on the Bloody Mary with Old Bay seasoning and oyster juice.
The St. Regis is located just two blocks from the White House, with D.C.'s major monuments and museums within walking distance. Your best bet for public transportation is the Metro, with the McPherson Square metro station just two blocks away.
Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak and Stone Crab (6-minute walk) offers Steaks, seafood and the legendary dishes of Joe’s Stone Crab, a Miami-based restaurant founded a century ago. Bombay Club (4-minute walk) serves up sophisticated Indian cuisine in an old-world setting, complete with live piano.
Masterful mixologists create innovative cocktails for D.C.’s power elite at Le Bar (6-minute walk). Old Ebbitt Grill (8-minute walk) has been a D.C. tradition since 1856, full of historic charm; Teddy Roosevelt allegedly bagged some of the animal heads over the Main Bar. Off the Record (3-minute walk), in the basement of the Hay-Adams hotel, is a classic D.C. bar, filled with the post-work crowd.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The bellman, in his stiff red jacket, cracks a joke as he opens the door--summing up the esprit de corps of this grande dame hotel. It's classic and historic, but not so much that it can't have a little bit of fun. Speaking of fun, there are always entertaining events going on, whether it's the afternoon tea (with seasonal sandwiches), weekend brunch with a rolling champagne trolley, or a Santa letter-writing session for kids during the holidays. But in the end, we like love the St. Regis because, although it's known for serving presidents and heads of states, it's not so full of itself to make every regular Joe (and Jane) feel special too.