Only a handful of big new hotels have opened in Washington in recent years and the most outstanding of the bunch is the ultra-luxe
Capella Washington DC. UPDATE: THIS IS NOW THE ROSEWOOD WASHINGTON DC. The hotel’s unique five-story, red brick building, which once housed the American Bar Association, is sandwiched a few blocks between Georgetown’s two other pleasure palaces, the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown and the Four Seasons Washington. One of the hotel’s key attributes is its location– within walking distance of many of the city’s most popular restaurants and shops.
Staying over at the Capella sort of feels like you are staying at a very classy friend’s gorgeous home– for example, there are only 49 rooms and suites in the hotel, and you check in at the hotel’s posh “living room.” The “best” rooms in the house are the 900 square foot, two-room, corner executive suites on each floor.
There are no concierges like you’d expect to find at a luxury hotel– instead, each guest’s needs are attended to by “personal assistants” that are on duty 24 hours a day. The hotel’s popular Rye Bar is cozy and friendly– knowledgeable bartenders cheerfully serve solo guests popping in for a cocktail (I enjoyed a perfect barrel-aged manhattan.) During warmer months, a tranquil rooftop bar overlooking the neighborhood and the Potomac River attracts a tony after-work crowd of hotel guests and colleagues, only.
At TravelSkills, we love new hotels. They smell better, work better, feel better, and are usually bigger, brighter and hipper than others. But new can also have its downside: Construction noise, service issues, and/or locations in sketchy or “upcoming” neighborhoods. Some are so new that TripAdvisor reviews are scant compared to more established hotels. In an ongoing feature, TravelSkills reports on the newest hotels in the world’s most important cities. When we say “newest” we have certain criteria around that: The hotels have to be brand new or deeply renovated within the last few years, 3+ stars and appropriate venues for business travel.
Who stays at the Capella’s 5 hotels? Big shots. Here’s what the hotel website says about its guests: “Our customer no longer has a psychological need to associate with aspirational brands that helped define their earlier economic lifestyle ascendancy. When traveling for business, they have few budgetary restrictions to follow since they are usually the ultimate decision-makers within their organization or are traveling using their own discretionary income.”
Midweek rates at the Capella start at around $600 per night. Those corner executive suites start at about $1200 per night. Details
At the other end of the spectrum (and of the city) lies the brand new 200-room Hyatt Place Washington DC, located on the district’s eastern side in the up-and-coming NoMa neighborhood. (NoMa is short for “north of Massachusetts Ave)
This new live-work-play area (north of Union Station) centers around the new NoMa/Gallaudet U Metro stop, and is home to many of DC’s startups, new media companies, plus (of course) government– the ATF, GSA and DOJ all have big offices in the vicinity. The Metro station is an easy two block walk from the hotel.
Rooms are big, bright and modern– ask for one on an upper floor for expansive views across town to the capitol and above all the nearby construction and road noise. The 14-story hotel stands along a somewhat gritty strip of New York Avenue and if you don’t feel like venturing out, there’s plenty to do inside the hotel– a big bright lobby attracts a busy, buzzy crowd of guests.
There’s a hot complimentary breakfast served each morning, plus the hotel’s Gallery Kitchen serves up full meals which you can eat in the lobby or bring up to your room. Wi-fi is super fast and free, plus there’s an outdoor pool and gym if you don’t feel like jogging in the neighborhood.
Rates at this Hyatt Place start in the $200-$300 range this summer. Details
Last May, The 1,175-room Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, finally opened and is now the largest hotel in town. It is located on Massachusetts Avenue, on the northern edge of the city core, adjacent to the huge Washington Convention Center. Here are 5 cool things you should know about this hotel. Rates range from $250 to $350 per night in May and June.
Disclosure: I was a guest at the Capella for one night and received a 50% media rate discount at the Hyatt Place
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s new 50,000 mile bonus + Secret stash of hidden hotel deals + The most outrageous luxury suites in the sky + Roomier widebodies on domestic flights!