Located farther from the White House, Mall, and other major attractions, than downtown hotels
Daily fee for Internet, depending on speed
Parking for a steep daily fee, by valet only
Located in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown, the Four Seasons consistently hits the high notes with luxuriously appointed rooms, a Michael Mina restaurant, a massive tri-level fitness center, and exceptional service from a devoted staff. Georgetown's top luxury option and one of the best in the city.
Exceptional service and spacious rooms at one of D.C.'s most renowned hotels
Located 1.4 miles from the White House on the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the historic, rarefied neighborhood of Georgetown, the 211-room hotel emerged in 2009 from a $40 million renovation that included the lobby, upgrades to rooms in the West Wing, the opening of Bourbon Steak from two-time James-Beard-Award-winning-chef Michael Mina, and a $15,000-a-night Presidential Suite replete with bullet-resistant glass. It's that kind of place -- where power players come to make things happen. Seasons restaurant and some event spaces were renovated in 2012, and the hotel's forthcoming Eno Wine Bar is slated to open in spring/summer 2013, adding to its constant effort to maintain class and luxury throughout.
The driveway of the hotel is perpetually clogged with black Escalades with tinted windows and Benzes with diplomatic plates; and men with earpieces scan the public spaces with purpose. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was in residence during my stay.
Rooms are what you would expect from a Four Seasons in D.C. -- comfortable, luxurious, but a bit bland, even with the help of fine art on its walls from the hotel's impressive collection. The bathrooms are hard to top, though, with huge sunken tubs, separate showers, and almost enough space to set up pins and bowl.
But it's the service, more than the rooms, that makes this property stand out. A few dozen employees have worked at the hotel since it opened in 1979, which means not just an experienced and well-trained staff, but a devoted one as well. All six concierges are members of Les Clefs d'Or, the elite concierge organization with just 3,000 members worldwide. (During my stay, the most junior member of the concierge staff has worked at the hotel for seven years, and is considered the "baby." The most senior has been there since the hotel opened.) What this means is that the hotel is run like a fine-tuned machine; nary a thread, a leaf, or a staff member's tie is out of place.
Other notable features include the tri-level fitness center, which blows away the one at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, a few blocks down the street; and the hotel's restaurant, Bourbon Steak, from award-winner Michael Mina, where the butter-poached steaks can be pricey -- not that the patrons are counting dollars or calories.
The Four Seasons is an all-around great stay, but planting yourself in Georgetown is a matter of taste and preference. You're close to some of the city's best shopping -- and steps away from the charming Rock Creek Park, which is a great place to jog -- but you're definitely not close to the major monuments. If you're not married to Georgetown, consider the Jefferson or the Hay-Adams, where Obama stayed during the inauguration. Both are located near the White House, and significantly closer to the Mall and other major tourist sites.
On the edge of Georgetown within easy walking distance of the city's best shopping and restaurants, but farther from main tourist sights
Located on the edge of the wealthy, historic neighborhood of Georgetown. Cobblestone streets, charming rows of two- and three-story brightly colored brick rowhouses, and historic, treelined C&O Canal, make Georgetown one of the most beautiful areas of the city. Despite being sandwiched between the Whitehurst Freeway and the busy Rock Creek Parkway, the hotel is still surprisingly quiet. It's also just a few minutes' walk from the heart of Georgetown's shopping and restaurants. The downside of Georgetown is that it is not part of D.C.'s fast and efficient Metro subway system.
Located off Pennsylvania Avenue, just steps to M Street, Georgetown's main shopping and restaurant drag
Charming, historic neighborhood along the Potomac River with cobblestone streets and two- and three-story brick rowhouses
20-minute walk to Georgetown University
15- to 20-minute walk or five- to 10-minute taxi to Dupont Circle
20- to 30-minute walk or five- to 10-minute taxi to sights like the White House
Two and a half miles to the Smithsonian Institution
Two miles to the center of the National Mall
15- to 30-minute cab ride to Union Station
20- to 30-minute cab ride to Reagan National Airport
45- to 60-minute cab ride to Dulles International Airport
Classic luxury, high-end amenities, and fine art in every room
Rooms pack in the luxury you'd expect from a Four Seasons -- marble bathrooms with huge sunken tubs, supremely comfortable beds with feather-topped mattresses, 32-inch flat-screen TVs, and unique pieces of art from the hotel's bona fide collection. (They don't get points for creativity, however; this is a very traditional version of luxury.) Standard guest rooms start at 350 square feet, but there are only 16 of them -- so guests are more likely than not to get bumped to a premier room, which gets you an additional 125 square feet of space and a significantly more spacious bathroom with dual sinks and a massive sunken bathtub. Rooms are spread across two wings, East and West, which are connected by a glass-enclosed walkway.
Tech amenities in all rooms include a 32-inch LG flat-screen TV with about 200 channels, including HBO and music channels, a Zenith DVD player, Tivoli radio with universal jack to connect an iPod, and an electronic safe big enough for a laptop. The hotel also has a DVD collection of about 50 titles, including a selection for children.
Beds are super luxurious with feather-topped mattresses, 200- or 300-thread-count Rivolta Carmignani linens (the higher thread count linens are in the newly renovated West Wing), down pillows, and duvets.
Bathrooms in the premier rooms are significantly larger than those in the superior rooms, which only come with a shower and single sink. Premier room bathrooms come with dual sinks and deep soaking tubs large enough for two. All come with L'Occitane toiletries and plush robes.
Rooms in the West Wing tend to be slightly larger than those in the East Wing, and primarily look out onto 29th and M Streets, whereas those in the East Wing have views of Rock Creek and the C&O Canal. Some rooms in both wings have courtyard views. It's more preference than anything else.
Daily fee for both wired and wireless Internet, depending on speed
The hotel's massive, three-story fitness center and spa with a two-lane saltwater lap pool and Jacuzzi is enough to set the hotel apart from most in Washington. Add in the Kindles that are available during breakfast at Seasons, and the free Internet and printing in the business center, and it's almost possible to overlook the silly Internet fees to access Wi-Fi.
Tri-level spa and fitness center. One floor is devoted to cardio, with over a dozen Precor and Life Fitness machines with individual TVs, a second to strength training equipment, and a third to a two-lane saltwater lap pool and Jacuzzi. In addition to the traditional fitness areas, there's also a tranquil room set aside for yoga and aerobics, and a full-service spa and salon.
Pets under 15 pounds are welcome for no additional charge. Guests checking in with their pet must sign a waiver saying they will not leave the animal alone in the room, but dog sitters (and cat sitters) are available for hire.
With Premier Rooms with two queen beds, a modest-size lap pool, children's menus, DVD players in all guest rooms, and an extensive DVD library with children's titles -- plus a staff that will bend over backwards for any person, big or small -- the Four Seasons is a top luxury pick for families.
Superior rooms come with two twin beds, but a better option is a premier with two queens or a premier with a king and a pullout sofa.
Adjoining rooms are available.
Cribs are free.
Rollaways are free, but only fit into a grand premier room or higher.
Welcome amenities include chocolate chip cookies with children's names on them.
Free baby and children's toiletries
Magazines, books, and age-appropriate toys upon request
Babysitting services available, arranged through a third party company
Two restaurants for power meals, including Bourbon Steak by award-winning chef Michael Mina
Included in the hotel's latest renovation was the addition of Bourbon Steak, the fourth outpost of the popular steakhouse from two-time James-Beard-Award-winning-chef Michael Mina. It's a welcome addition to the already established Seasons, known as one of the places where the D.C. machers come for their early morning power breakfasts. Bourbon, which was designed by starchitect David Rockwell, is known for Mina's butter-poached steaks and duck-fat French fries -- both of which live up to the hype.
Located on the mezzanine level, Seasons is open only for breakfast and lunch, and weekend brunch. It offers tablets to diners to read any paper in any language.
Bourbon Steak is open only for dinner and fills up fast, so make reservations!
Eno Wine Bar is set to open in spring/summer 2013
24 hour room service from Seasons
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