The calendar may say it's still fall, but the thermometers beg to differ! Winter is here, my friends. To be honest, I am a big fan of winter, so long as I can make the best of the cold and do really awesome things. Ski trips with cute outfits and spiked hot chocolate? I'm there! Snuggling under blankets on a porch swing while fresh snow falls, spiked hot chocolate in hand? You better believe it! Ice skating with a cutie while gazing up at the stars, followed by witty banter over spiked hot chocolates? Abso-freaking-lutely!
We all know D.C. has a pretty insane outdoor rink game -- ice skating on the Georgetown waterfront, ice skating in the sculpture garden on the national mall -- but this year the Watergate Hotel is taking it up a notch. Now, you can ice skate on the rooftop overlooking the city, with insane 360-degree views. Oh, and did I mention you can skate right up the bar and order yourself a steamy cup of spiked hot chocolate?? Top of the Skate is a 70 foot x 20 foot one-of-a-kind synthetic ice rink that can fit up to 40 people and a cozy winter lounge located where the hotel's rooftop bar, Top of the Gate, usually is. The rink is open Wednesday- Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday) and no advance reservations are required. Group ($90 per skater for three lessons) and private skating lessons ($35 per lesson not including skate rental) are also available.
After you work up a sweat, skate up to the bar and enjoy a tipple or snack from Chef Michael Santoro's curated winter menu. Enjoy nibbles such as a hot pretzel with British mustard and jalapeno cheese, a stromboli with sopressata picante, scamorza and provolone or san Marzano, basil and tomato, and two varieties of s'mores. Warm up with Kahlua and brandy-spiked coffee, hot cocoa spiked with Baileys and Grand Marnier, mulled wine, or spiced apple cider spiked with bourbon; four cold libations are also available. Drinks are $16 and snacks range from $10-$20.
The rink is run in partnership with Mel's Rink, a non-profit organization based in Poolesville, Maryland that provides mentally and physically challenged children and adults with athletic training, development and play space.
If you're looking for a slightly less active winter-themed activity, you can always reserve one of the couches surrounding the fire pits, and kick back and observe the skaters while enjoying the same food and beverage menu. Or, head downstairs and check out the The Next Whisky Bar's new igloo experiences. The four 12-foot heated domes each have a different theme and are located on the outdoor terrace of The Next Whisky Bar and require a reservation. They can be rented for parties of two to eight people and start at $200 for three hours. You can also choose to add four different packages on to your Inuit experience, ranging from whisky, burger and cigar pairings ($75/person) to afternoon tea service ($55/person), dessert and wine/cordial/tea pairings ($42-$56/person) or a romantic night out package that includes two dozen red roses, gold leaf truffles, Valrhona chocolate-dipped strawberries and champagne ($375/couple).
Top of the Skate at Watergate Hotel opens on November 16, 2650 Virginia Ave NW, Wednesday- Friday 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Saturday- Sunday 1 p.m.- 10 p.m., $20 (children 12 and under $10); Igloos are available by reservation only Monday-Sunday from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.