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Friday, March 2, 2012

A Weekend in Washington

The Jefferson, Washington DC

It always felt somewhat sacrilegious that I had never been to Washington, DC; especially when considering the mere 4 hour driving proximity from my home and the fact that I was raised by a history nut! So now, at 25 years old, it’s easy to understand why I jumped so quickly at the opportunity to spend a weekend there in the newest addition to the Signature Collection, The Jefferson. Leaving late on a Friday night meant I would not arrive until after midnight, however, I was quickly revitalized upon pulling into the Jefferson’s round driveway on 16th street. A smiling attendant came out to help us with our bags and car in the swiftest professional manner before we were whisked into the beautiful marble lobby. Then, in continuance of their utmost courtesy and my own astonishment levels, the lovely receptionist, Jessica, somehow greeted me by name! After checking in at the front desk, I was very anxious to see the room yet could not help but pause at length to admire the striking aspects of the main hallway. The ones worth most mention happen to fittingly be gold framed documents signed and/or personally written by Thomas Jefferson himself. It was easy to see this hotel has a true sense of place. When I entered my room, 807, this feeling was only further confirmed.


The d├ęcor of the room is clear nod to Jefferson’s era. Accents of Parisian flare, which he thoroughly admired, in the furnishings, depictions of 18th century American life, and images of his Monticello vineyard property. While this sounds very traditionally styled, the truth is, there is definitely a feeling of modern freshness and amenities to balance it all together. While taking in the vibe of the room, I realized there was a welcome platter of fresh fruit and cheese with flavored popcorn as yet another wonderful courtesy from the staff. After nibbling on these delicious snacks I ventured into the bedroom with an impressively and abnormally large king bed dressed in French linens and resting on a four point bed post. The marble bathroom was complete with a full soaking tub and separate stone lined shower with gold fixtures. Twenty minutes of adoration later, I slipped into a coma so that I could make the most of the sightseeing day that lay ahead of me.

After a deep sleep in what may be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, I woke up to the soothing sounds of classical music. I, luckily, remembered to set the alarm on the Bose sound system, otherwise I may have very well slept all day! The floor to ceiling bay windows behind the bed had heavy drapes fully capable of emulating the nighttime all day long if desired; or you can easily draw them to the side and bask in as much natural sunlight as the sky has to offer. With a warm jacket and comfortable shoes I was ready to take on the day. First stop was the White House, a convenient 4 blocks away on the same street as The Jefferson! The White House is perpendicular to the street and faced our walking path. While approaching it, I became exceedingly grateful for this visit. I’m pretty sure I had been basing my knowledge of Washington’s monuments and buildings solely on Independence Day and Forrest Gump. I’m glad I cleared up some of these slightly embarrassing misconceptions and that’s all I’m going to divulge about that!

Up next, we leisurely strolled by the Washington monument, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and reflective pool (which, sadly enough, is currently empty for construction). I then tried to tackle museum row, but fully admitted defeat to my expectations of visiting each Smithsonian branch. So I decided to visit one, the Air & Space Museum. While fascinatingly showcasing the many eras of aviation and space travel, there were also hands-on and educational exhibits. I’m also happy to say that some of my newfound knowledge of flight helped chop away at my life-long fear of traveling by plane! I then decided to go somewhere a little different and walked up 7th street towards the Spy Museum. Here I took part in an exercise to take on a different identity and infiltrate enemy lines while exploring the history of espionage. As the sun was going down and the temperature dropped, I briskly walked a few blocks away to see Ford’s Theater and the house where Abraham Lincoln died. After paying homage to one of history’s greatest leaders I was grateful that my cozy room at the centrally located hotel was a quick walk away!

Back in my room I found a surprise platter of chocolate covered strawberries (a personal favorite) which I indulged in as I rested for dinner. I already had a scheduled brunch in which I could further experience The Jefferson the next day, so decided to venture out in the historic Georgetown neighborhood for dinner. The area boasts some of the city’s best nightlife and restaurants and also happens to be a quick 10 minute cab ride from the hotel. I opted for Martins Tavern, a local watering hole with an interesting history. It was perfect. Bustling, but not too crowded, delicious food, great service and Dogfish 90 minute IPA on tap. After finishing a delicious meal highlighted by Maryland’s famous crab dishes we went back to The Jefferson and took a quick peak around Quill Bar, the charming meeting place on the first floor of the hotel. With wooden furnishings and glass bar, the vibe in this room was one of sophistication and class. I was very impressed by the crowd that was still gathered, even as the night was winding down. It was such a great feeling to enjoy a drink here, knowing that the comfort of my massive bed was a quick elevator ride away.

The next morning I met with the Director of Sales at the Jefferson, Joan Esposito. It was apparent to me very early on how passionate she is about this property and how much confidence she holds in its ownership, who are a constant presence and continually reinvest in the hotel. We had brunch in the Green House which is covered by a glass awning that bathes the room in natural light. On rainier days, the molding is fit with LED lights to give the impression that it is sunny and bright out. After an amazing meal I was able to tour their wine cellar. This area, aside from its impressive collection of wines, has won many awards for overall excellence. There are numerous romantic and intimate dining spaces, my favorite of which was the coveted Bird’s Nest table in the fine dining room that drapes a large 110 year old chandelier with quite a history. We then explored the upper floors and other rooms which I had not seen. While I was spoiled by a luxurious suite, I was impressed to find that even the entry level rooms were quite spacious. Going up even further, The Martha Jefferson suite was really something to admire. A living room, dining room, master bedroom and large bathroom beckoned lengthier stays in complete comfort. However, my favorite area of the hotel was not a room to sleep, but one to work. The Jefferson Boardroom, with its large backed velvet chairs and built in AV system, made it easy to believe the grand power meetings that have been hosted here. When all was said and done, I was sad to leave the charm, hospitality, and overall special energy of this downtown DC gem.

Now that The Jefferson is part Signature, you can expect the following amenities along with your affordably priced booking with FROSCH:
  • Continental Breakfast for each guest daily, also available through room service
  • $100 Food and Beverage Credit in Plume, per room per stay (Note: Plume is closed Sunday/Monday - credit to be used in other Food and Beverage outlets.)
  • Welcome Fruit Amenity
  • Upgrade based on availability, at time of arrival
For more information, visit the hotel's website!

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