Ok, this may sound crazy, but August might be my favorite month to be in D.C! Sure, it is (usually) blazing hot and humid, but it's also virtually empty. Congress is off enjoying recess, so staffers and lobbyists tend to plan vacations to coordinate, and even the tourists know better than to plan a trip here in the dead of summer. The peace and quiet surrounding the city make it the ideal time to plan a staycation, and play tourist in your own city!
We've talked about the beauty of a staycation before, and while the purpose of a staycation may vary (pure relaxation versus catching up on sightseeing) the essentials for planning and executing a weekend visit to your own city remain the same:
- Centralized Hotel Location
- Luxury Room
- Great Dining
- Retail Therapy
When planning my own recent staycation to enjoy some much needed mother-daughter bonding time, and considering D.C. hotels that checked off all of the above boxes, I decided to check out The Melrose Georgetown Hotel. I'd been in for a meal at Jardenea years ago, took a tour of the rooms and remembered liking the art-deco inspired decor. And with room rates starting at $175, it's an incredibly affordable locale. But when the offer came to stay in the newly renovated presidential suite, it was a no-brainer.
Now, let's go ahead and get the price of this room out of the way up front, because when you go to a website and see "call to book" you know you are in trouble. The presidential suite at the Melrose starts at $3,500 a night. Yes, it's an extravagant luxury to even consider a stay, but at 2,200 square feet, the suite was bigger than my last three apartments in the city, combined! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: staycations are a time to splurge on rooms because you're treating yourself to relaxation, and are likely spending more time in your room than you normally would on a vacation; think of the extra room cost as the trade off for the savings on a plane flight.
From the moment I walked inside and took in the coffered ceilings, the tufted couches, the marble herringbone faux fireplace, the muted gray/ivory/silver color palette and the private terrace -- oh the terrace! -- I began to understand the price tag. The aesthetic of the suite managed to appeal both to a 60-year-old and 29-year-old woman simultaneously, as we both walked around the room pointing out furniture we coveted. While I understand $3,500 for one night is not feasible for many of us, the 600-square-foot executive king suite (with a king bed plus sleeper sofa) starts at $200 per night and is a still-luxurious alternative. However if you can swing it, you won't regret it.
Our hardest decision was whether we stayed in the room all day and bathed in the lap of luxury, or went out and enjoyed the emptiness of the city! Ultimately, we did a little of both. We spent most of Friday enjoying the amenities of the room, and after a beautiful evening of drinks at Off the Record and dinner at Mirabelle (remember, August is the time to take advantage of a quiet city and book those hard to get reservations!), we came back to the suite and were greeted with a beautiful fruit/cheese platter and a bottle of Pinot Noir waiting for us in the room. We toasted to a perfect first night at the Melrose out on our terrace under the stars!
Saturday morning, after a leisurely start to the day reading the paper on the patio and enjoying our first cups of coffee, we ventured down to the lobby and grabbed a quick breakfast. Honestly, I'm never much of a hotel breakfast kind of a gal, but the omelettes were fluffy perfection and the home fries were delightfully crispy. After trying (and failing) yet again to get tickets to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, we decided to just aimlessly wander around the memorials. The weather was in the high 70s, which is unheard of for D.C. in August, so we had to make the most of this gift from the weather gods!
We made our way from Georgetown past the State Department, and briefly stopped at the Department of the Interior building to see some of their murals (did you know there's a museum inside that gives daily tours??) before continuing on to the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Constitution Gardens and finally the Vietnam War Memorial. Having grown up in Virginia, these are all sights I've seen dozens of times, but it's nice to be reminded of how lucky we are to live in a city with sites this beautiful every once in a while! Our six-mile adventure led us to Mimosa Nail Salon to give our feetsies a break, before we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our dinner at Jardenea, which is serving up trendy farm-to-fork dishes such as seared yellowfin tuna with jicama citrus slaw, grilled peach and arugula salad and citrus crusted sole. The weekend wouldn't have been complete without a little "Sunday Funday" brunch, so after tearfully saying goodbye to our gorgeous suite, we enjoyed a waterside brunch at Fiola Mare. I don't know how I have lived without this brunch in my life previously, because at $48 for three courses, a pastry basket and a drink, it's a frigging steal!
Throughout my stay all I could think about is what type of event would be perfect for this room, that could help justify the cost, and I came up with a few things:
- Bachelorette Parties: Even though there is only one king bed in the suite, there are three plush, oversize couches that are just as comfortable as the bed and you could easily fit five girls. Even if you added on the connecting room to the suite and split it all, you'd probably spend less than you would on a destination bachelorette.
- Hosting a pre-wedding soiree: Back to that terrace I mentioned earlier... The expansive terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue has seating for 20 and is just begging to host an elegant evening, and what better time to splurge than when your kid is getting married? Whether you are the parents of the groom or the bride, the presidential suite would make for the perfect venue to entertain out-of-town gusts after they enjoyed all the sites our city has to offer. Butler service and private dining on the terrace can also be arranged through the concierge, so you can have a completely exclusive experience for your guests.
- Big Birthday/Anniversary: If you're looking for a classy venue where you can treat your family and friends to a luxurious night on the town, the suite would be the perfect starting point. The hotel's central location makes it a great starting point for any D.C. adventure, and again, the terrace and large suite itself lends to easy entertaining. Plus, what better occasion to blow some money than a milestone bday or wedding anniversary?? #treatyoself