Story by Melanie Votaw
Photos by Melanie Votaw and Ritz-Carlton
THE RITZ-CARLTON, WASHINGTON D.C.
1150 22nd Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
The Ritz-Carlton is famous for customer service above and beyond the norm, and the property on 22nd Street in the West End of Washington, D.C. lives up to that reputation. From the moment I arrived until the moment I left, I was treated as a guest in someone’s home, not just a hotel patron. On my way to my room, a staff member (who had no idea I’m a travel writer) greeted me with a bright smile and hello.
I stayed on the Club floor on which there is a special lounge only accessible with your card key. This is open throughout the day and evening, offering continuous food and drink with staff on hand to serve you. I checked out the hors d’oeuvres that are served in the evening, and one of the staff started a conversation with me, asking my name, where I’m from, etc. I don’t recall anyone ever asking so many questions of me at a hotel. After the hors d’oeuvres, the Club lounge featured an array of desserts including artisanal chocolates. Breakfast is also served in the lounge with fruits, meats, pastries. In other words, you can’t possibly get hungry if you stay on the Club floor.
My one-bedroom suite was spacious at 900 square feet. My favorite aspect of the suite were the white French doors that opened to the bedroom. The large living area contained a couch, separate television, coffee table, desk, and chairs. The bath included a separate shower and deep tub, as well as double vanity/sink areas. Of course, I always enjoy slipping into a Ritz-Carlton bathrobe and slippers.
The décor of the room was traditional with dark woods and earth tones, while the bathroom was designed in light-colored marble as opposed to the usual black and white that you see in most hotels.
Ritz-Carlton has two properties in Washington – one in Georgetown and the 22nd Street hotel at M Street, which is near Georgetown. It was renovated in 2008 at a cost of $12 million, including all 267 of the rooms and all 32 suites.
The hotel’s SportsClub/LA is huge at 10,000 square feet and includes a pool and 40 different fitness or sports choices. The property also boasts 20,000 square feet of meeting space, including the largest luxury ballroom in D.C. at about 10,000 square feet. A Mercedes house car with chauffeur is available for transport within a three-mile radius.
This Ritz-Carlton’s main claim to fame, however, is its Westend Bistro, which was created by three-star Michelin celebrity chef Eric Ripert of New York’s Le Bernardin restaurant. Westend Bistro is a casual restaurant serving American cuisine. The ingredients come primarily from farmers in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The upbeat, modern décor is done in deep colors of red, orange, brown, and gold.
I ate lunch there during my stay and had a salad of especially fine greens (I didn’t even recognize some of them) followed by an exceptional short rib pot pie, but the restaurant is especially known for its tuna carpaccio. Chef Ripert was not there at the time, of course, but I’m told he visits the property several times a year.
If you’re a Ripert fan, the hotel is offering a package in May 2012 that includes a meet and greet with the chef himself, along with lunch at Le Bernardin in New York, train tickets to Washington, a three-course dinner at Westend Bistro, and Club level accommodations. It’s an excellent deal for foodies. If you can’t make that, ask about the monthly Sunday Brunch Club with cooking demonstrations for eight guests.
The hotel hosted an all-you-can-eat Chocolate Decadence Buffet every Saturday during December for just $35 with Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Mangione and the champagne sommelier. The Lobby Café was turned into a chocolate lover’s paradise with candies, cakes, tarts, hot chocolates from different countries, and strawberry and Swiss chocolate fountains. While this event is over, be sure to check out the hotel’s website for these kinds of specials when you decide to visit Washington. They run these kinds of deals periodically.
This Ritz-Carlton is at an especially good location if you’re flying in and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which is just ten minutes away. The hotel is 40 minutes away from Dulles Airport, though.
If you want a luxury experience in Washington, I can’t imagine wanting for anything if you stay at the Ritz-Carlton. It’s what I would call quintessential luxury in an atmosphere that is also friendly and inviting.
© January 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.