Updated: Oct 19, 2018
All of Washington, DC heads to the country on Friday afternoon, making it a perfect opportunity to head in the other direction.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday afternoon brings an exodus to the District of Columbia, as the nation’s powerbrokers head out of the District and spill enthusiastically into the idyllic countryside of northern Virginia and Maryland. Route 66 toward Front Royal is thus crammed with eager hoards yearning to breathe free --- limos and luxury cars, everyone going in pursuit of The Great Unwind.
For something REALLY relaxing, we make a modest proposal this fall: make tracks inside the Beltway and head for the luxuriously relaxing Fairmont Washington, D.C., a gorgeously renovated (and gorgeously relaxing) urban oasis in the fashionable West End. Here, you can roam the empty streets, meander over to Georgetown or to Adams Morgan in search of antiques and fine cuisine, and basically do everything that everyone else will be doing in the country, minus the horses (though we must note here that Joseph Muldoon., et. Al, have been known to play a chucker or two on the Washington Mall).
We checked into the Fairmont one quiet Friday afternoon and instantly took a sigh of relief at the quiet luxury it affords not only business travelers but the burnt-out among us in dire need of some attentive service, fine food, and a suite that rivals the best in the world. The marble clad lobby is discrete, lush with flowers, with a multi-lingual staff that anticipates what you need and gives you a sense of arrival without the usual, unnerving fanfare that seems to plague so many luxury hotels these days.
Our suite overlooked the Fairmont’s luscious courtyard, awash with foliage and flowers, more reminiscent of all that countryside that everyone else will be dashing through than a city hotel in one of the greatest cities in the world. The view from the bedroom of suite boasted a beautiful balcony, a sense of Georgetown beyond, and that certain solidity of peace that one usually reserves for private mansions and oceanfront retreats. In short, it was a breath of fresh air.
The Fairmont is known for its service, and our stay was no exception. Despite the long drive from polo earlier in the day, we were eager to get to work; only to discover that we had someone misplaced the Ethernet cable for our laptop. We rang up our private concierge, who sent a handy assistant right away. The latter found a cord and solved the problem almost as soon as it appeared, leaving us to think the great thoughts and check our office email in short order. Such service might seem trivial, but to frequent travelers who languish in far too many suites awaiting a light bulb or a pair of slippers or the aforementioned laptop cable, the fact that someone will show up and solve a problem is indeed a luxury to applaud.
The suite itself was a spacious beauty, equipped with a gorgeous, Biedermier inspired entertainment center, comfy sofas, a Beaux Art dining table, and other niceties so nice that we opted for a hot shower, a bottle of wine, and some of the excellent Fairmont room service, also excellent, not overpriced, and well worth it if you’re too tired to hit the town.
Fairmont is perhaps more known among vacation travelers for their hotels in British Columbia, Toronto and Montreal, but also has a loyal following among world weary business travelers who know a thing or two about the definition of true luxury.
Breakfast the next morning at Juniper, the hotel’s casual dining venue, was delightful from coffee to omelet, offering a great view of the street and the usual urban landscape of cheerful city dwellers coming from their workouts or just roaming around in search of the perfect weekend morning. The hotel also offers the Colonnade; a more sophisticated venue, as well as the aforementioned in-room dining.
During our stay, we were treated lavishly from our arrival to departure, welcomed by a friendly staff who seemed to actually enjoy their jobs and the luxury of the hotel, and slept as well as we ever have while roaming the equally beautiful countryside in more rustic pursuits.
As usual, sometimes it pays to swim against the tide... In the case of the Fairmont Washington D.C., the surroundings are every bit as idyllic as the countryside farther beyond.