Washington DC Hotel Gem has your perfect location and is better than ever
For its small population, the nation’s capital has an impressive array of grand hotels. The reason for this is tourism and business/diplomatic travel, but oddly enough, most of the newer and better luxury hotels (Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Rosewood, etc.) are in Georgetown, and not are not particularly practical for most things. visit DC for monuments, museums, the Capitol, the White House, the Mint, the National Mall and downtown businesses.
I lived in DC and have stayed in most of the top hotels. In terms of location, my choice would be the DuPont Circle area, which is within walking distance of most major tourist attractions, in the heart of the business district. , walkable to bustling Foggy Bottom/George Washington University area, and also extremely convenient to Georgetown, with the unique Circulator, a special modern bus that makes very smooth and fast trips between DuPont Circle and M Street to Georgetown, separate from the other public buses in town, nice, very convenient and only a dollar to ride. There is also a metro station, putting the rest of the city within easy reach.
In this area, it’s hard to beat the DuPont Circle Hotel, an understated pick that doesn’t look like much from the bland exterior but is brimming with charm — and was completely renovated just before the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I chose this hotel on my last visit to the city, for two reasons, the location and because it is part of the Irish family business Doyle Collection, and have happily stayed at some of their other properties (eight luxury city hotels and resorts in London, Dublin, Cork and the Irish and English countryside) and really enjoyed them. The company combines a bit of European flair with top-notch accommodation, food and service, and a family pride penchant for reinvestment that is often all too absent in the increasingly profit-margin driven world of big chains. hoteliers. While some major hotel brands are cutting services like room service, housekeeping, and live desk staff, the DuPont Circle Hotel is still focused on the human touch and still offers turndown service, with personalized chocolates.
The DuPont Circle Hotel is the brand’s only US property and feels like the kind of place where, like in London, the GM personally meets returning customers (they have LOTS of repeat customers) and the doormen recognize you when you go and come. Fittingly, the hotel is a few blocks from the Irish Embassy and Ambassador’s Residence, and visiting dignitaries – including the country’s Prime Minister – stay here and call the hotel their home away from the Emerald Isle. Michigan-based travel journalist and award-winning radio host Michal Patrick Shiels broadcast his show live from the hotel for several days earlier this year, entertaining members of Congress there, and later wrote for the Gannett diaries: “Step into the Dupont Circle Hotel is like being welcomed into an upscale club – an elegant yet comfortable club of which you are the most important member.”
All guests enjoy the VIP vibe, but mere mortals can enhance it too, as the hotel is a privileged member of the Virtuoso luxury travel consortium, which means that if you book through a Virtuoso Affiliate Advisor (aka agent trips, and most of the best are affiliated with Virtuoso), you get lots of extras like late/early check-in, room upgrades, breakfast, and more.
The refurbished rooms are like new, spacious and very comfortable, with luxurious bathrooms including heated marble floors and towel racks and a staggering range of amenities: Malen + Goetz bath products, replicated on the tubs, showers and sinks, plus the extras you only get at the best hotels, from shaving kits to toothpaste and mouthwash. The rooms have extremely comfortable beds, down duvets, high thread count European sheets and Nespresso machines. A hidden-from-the-eyes part of the renovation was the replacement of the HVAC system, and the thermostat cools (or heats the room) precisely and comfortably, something I’ve found strangely lacking in so many hotels around the world, where the temperature on the display rarely corresponds to reality. The hotel has a small but well-equipped 24-hour fitness center, and I visited it every day without ever seeing another guest. It also accepts dogs, a big plus. Top-floor suites have large open private heated balconies overlooking the neighborhood and add jetted tubs. The ninth floor has its own controlled elevator access and can be considered a private redemption for the Presidential Suites and twelve other Penthouse Suites.
A big highlight is the hotel bar, another its restaurant. I have a friend who works in finance nearby and he tells me that The Doyle, the hotel lobby bar, has become the go-to for after-work cocktails in its sphere, and they serve a long list thoughtful craft cocktails in addition to an array of draft beers and wines by the glass. It’s an upscale yet welcoming watering hole with plenty of semi-private circular tables, perfect for small groups and date nights. A Chicago Grandstand The reviewer wrote: “I was delighted with the bar, a throwback to the classic cocktail lounge of the 40s and 50s with dim lighting, low-key seating and soft music that provides a backdrop for conversation rather than to drown it out with shattering music like so many bars today do. With an atmosphere to spare and classic cocktails (you can even sign up for a mixology course with the bartenders), it’s no wonder The Pembroke has become something of a clubhouse for the Dupont Circle ensemble.
When the Pembroke restaurant opened as part of the big revamp, it showed off a $5 million investment in the brand’s interior design, and food critics around town immediately acclaimed it as a important and much needed addition to the neighborhood, with the most influential of all. , long duration Washington Post reviewer Tom Sietsa gave it 2.5 stars (Good/Excellent) and described it as “cut in a different fabric” from anything nearby, calling the look “a space where coral sofas and the floor-to-ceiling windows help raise the bar for eating and drinking in the neighborhood Eater.com ranked it number one on its list of places in the city for a “quiet, intimate diner” and called it a “new stylish and beautiful restaurant at the Dupont Circle Hotel. You can find handmade pasta, fantastic lamb tagine and red curry snapper with fresh salads, crudos and more. To splurge, opt for the Chateaubriand for two.
It describes itself as “contemporary American cuisine with global influences”, but I have more of a European vibe with global influences, blending Pacific Rim, North African, Italian, French and American, tied in with a British Isles feel. A friend from London dined with me and felt right at home, saying it reminded him of the best restaurants in the UK capital. The menu included plenty of raw Asian seafood options, Mediterranean dishes like grilled octopus, more refined pastas, and a European classic you don’t see enough of here, a well-executed veal chop Milanese style, pounded very finely. and garnished with small savory lettuces. Dover sole – the real prized thing, not the more common ersatz version found on so many menus – is a signature of the Doyle collection and featured in the varied restaurants. It’s a stylish restaurant with excellent service – quite rare these days – and an extensive wine list by the bottle and glass. I really enjoyed the Pembroke and would recommend it even if you are staying elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, given the Irish roots, they also serve an excellent breakfast, with exceptional corned beef hash and several signature Benedictines, and the hotel offers European-style bed and breakfast packages. They also take advantage of the city’s good weather with outdoor terraces from spring to fall, particularly popular these days but still a good option. There’s also a small mini coffee and pastry cafe in the lobby, a nice departure from the myriad Starbucks nearby.
Most recently, in May 2022, The Doyle Collection was awarded Gold status in all of its properties from one of the most established sustainability ratings in the travel industry, Green Tourism (founded in 1997). Green tourism helps businesses reduce their environmental impact through United Nations-backed sustainability standards, which are based on three fundamental pillars (People, Places and Our Planet) and assess 70 indicators across 15 sustainability goals (such as carbon, waste, water, biodiversity, local products and products, ethical purchasing, health and well-being, equality and inclusiveness, culture and heritage, active travel and solidarity, etc.). This is particularly relevant today as a number of recent surveys have shown that consumers demand much more from the tourism industry in terms of sustainability and give preference to hotels that do a good job.
Washington DC is an international city, and the DuPont Circle Hotel is a perfect match, with facilities on par with America’s finest luxury hotels and a touch of European flair in food and service, and is a perfect perch whether it’s either to explore the capital as a tourist or on a business trip.