Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This decade-old pioneer of boutique chic offers plenty of playful design and luxurious amenities, but the surrounding area isn't nearly as interesting.
In 2000, the Hotel George made hospitality news in D.C. as the first hip boutique in the city. No one had thought to put a luxury hotel on Capitol Hill, two blocks from Union Station, no less a memorably stylish one. The eight-story refurbished building, circa 1928, features an airy lobby that feels like a lounge space at a modern art museum, with floor-to-ceiling glass, touches of stainless steel, fossilized coral stone, ceramic and black granite floors, and original works by Andy Warhol protégé, Steve Kaufman. Even the furniture is cool: a Cassina USA chrome-detailed table, vintage sofas, chairs by architect Gerrit Rietveld, and Louis Poulsen lamps.
The same understated and luxurious feel is evident in the 139 guest rooms and suites, which feature clever, space-saving entertainment and closet wall units, 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, granite desktops, marble bathrooms, and in-room spa treatments. And it extends to the service that includes optional turndowns, overnight shoeshines, and a friendly, can-do demeanor.
As with most Kimpton hotels, there's the popular wine reception (weekdays from 5 to 6 p.m.) and a nice on-site eatery -- in this case Bistro Bis, a bustling French restaurant that's a frequent lunch stop for congressmen and local celebs, and consistently rates as one of D.C.'s best. A well-equipped fitness center with separate lockers and steam rooms for men and women, plus an all-Mac business center, are also available.
Though plenty of boutique properties have arrived in D.C. since the George, none seems to equal this hotel's unique charm. It's true that the Liaison Capitol Hill -- which opened last year with a sexy moonlit roof-deck pool and six-foot-tall, original lobby murals -- is a worthy opponent just around the corner. And the Hotel Palomar in Dupont Circle (another Kimpton) has a more happening neighborhood (Dupont Circle). But even given the lack of restaurants and nightlife near the Hotel George, its brand of understated luxury amid high-design is still the gold standard for D.C. boutiques.
Solid service includes optional turndowns and in-room spa treatments
This tiny boutique is big on personalized care with everything from optional turndown service to in-room spa treatments to providing guests with forgotten toiletry items. The weekday wine receptions, a signature Kimpton hotel feature, are well attended and almost festive in the airy, elegant lobby.
In the Capitol Hill area, a good springboard for sightseeing but a quiet area in the evening and on the weekends
The Hotel George is in Capitol Hill, an area filled mostly with drab 1970s-style office buildings. It's on the low-lying Judiciary Square section, which means it's surrounded by federal and county courthouses, law offices and the campus of the Georgetown Law School. Though this older part of the city has fallen on some hard times in the past, it is now reviving -- best evidenced by the Hotel George's own hip restaurant and bar scene and that at the new Liaison Hotel. Yet, traces of its dicey past linger and there's scarce nightlife and entertainment in the neighborhood immediately surrounding the Hotel George. But its location does have its advantages -- namely, it's a quick walk to the National Mall, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the White House, and other Capitol Hill sites.
Hotel George's guest rooms offer welcome mix of luxury details with modern touches, from the oversize all-marble bathrooms to the stocked minibar with plenty of gourmet treats. In general, the Hotel George's basic rooms feel a little cozier and less self-consciously cool than the rooms at the Liaison Capitol Hill, around the corner.
Worthwhile features, but it is a small boutique -- no pool, no spa
Man's best friend, and cats too, are welcome here for free.
The Hotel George welcomes both dogs and cats, and keeps a pet goldfish on hand at the front desk for guests to visit if they've left their own animal companion at home. Excessive pet-friendliness is integral to the Kimpton brand; staffers here provide welcome treats and turndown service with a biscuit and a bowl of mineral water.
Fine for families -- great location, large rooms, and perks for kids, welcome treats and kid-size animal-print bathrobes
Sparkling, despite being a decade old
This hotel maintains a high level of cleanliness both inside and out.
On-site French restaurant is one of D.C.'s best; minimal food options in the immediate area.
Popular among congressmen, powerbrokers, and local celebrities, Bistro Bis is consistently voted as the "Power Spot" by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. But it's not stuffy -- overhead, you'll hear French pop music -- and the space feels more like the Tuileries Garden in Paris than somewhere on The Hill. Chef Jeffrey Buben prepares classic French dishes like beef Bourguignon ($28) and duck confit Toulousaine ($25). About the only thing not so French about the food is the portions -- the popular Steak Frites is the perfect size for two to share for lunch.
A decade ago, this stunning, 139-room Kimpton-managed hotel was Capitol Hill's first hip boutique. Today, it sees big competition from The Liaison -- a new hotel, just around the corner. But the George's airy, urbane lobby, swank guest rooms, well-equipped fitness center, and top-notch French restaurant make it a solid choice.