Peachhead Approved Family Vacation, Washington D.C.
A friend of ours was having a wedding celebration in Washington, D.C., so we were excited to have a weekend to spend in this wonderful city. We flew on Virgin America and arrived in Washington, D.C. 5 hours later.
We stayed at the Donovan Hotel, A Kimpton Boutique, a wonderful hotel located in the Downtown district of the city. The Kimpton is one of the few hotels that have an outdoor pool (located on the roof). We stayed in a premiere suite that was very luxurious. The suite has a separate living room with a sofa sleeper, an executive dining room that even had outlets built into the table for plugs and USB ports, a nice size bedroom, and a very hip modern bathroom with a spiral shower (first time I had ever seen something like this). The room had three 55” televisions. I love Kimpton hotels, as they really know how to make their guests feel welcome. They e-mailed me prior to my arrival to see if there was anything special I needed for the room. They followed up with me to let me know that my requests had been taken care of. They even supply very cool robes in the rooms with zebra and leopard designs. There is a list of items that you can request under the “Forgot it? We’ve got it” card, which includes everything from a toothbrush to a flat iron. Wi-Fi is complimentary if you are a Kimpton Karma member (which is free to join). If you are looking to exercise, yoga mats are provided in every room so that you can work out in the privacy of your own room. There is an exercise room available 24 hours a day, and if you want to exercise while exploring the city, the hotel has complimentary bicycles for guests (subject to availability). The hotel is located close enough to the tourist sites that you can bike to many of them. Complimentary coffee and tea are served every morning in the lobby, as well complimentary wine every evening during the “wine hour” from 5-6. The staff is incredibly friendly (especially Will and Jake).
In fact, Will suggested Filomena Ristorante for dinner, and what a great recommendation. The restaurant is located in Georgetown ($8 Uber ride from the hotel). Before dinner we walked around the area and shopped a bit (there are a lot of restaurants and stores). Filomena is a great Italian restaurant that has been there for over 30 years. They make the pasta fresh (you can watch them upstairs). The main dining room is located downstairs. As you walk down the steps you are greeted by the beautiful desserts on display. We had impeccable service. They bring warm bread to start out your meal. We had the Caesar salad to begin with and then I had the Linguini Cardinale, which is lobster meat in their famous creamy cardinale lobster sauce over linguini pasta. This is President Clinton’s favorite dish there. It was amazing, and it seemed like after eating for a while I had hardly put a dent in it (the portions are huge). I finished my meal with the triple chocolate mousse cake. Heaven!!! While waiting for our check, they brought us after dinner liquor compliments of the house (amaretto and Sambuca). Very classy. We walked around a bit more and then headed back to the Donovan Kimpton to have a drink on the rooftop deck bar. It was quite the happening scene.
The next morning I got up early to visit the Newseum. This museum is truly amazing. My favorite exhibit was the Pulitzer Prize Photographic Gallery, which shows the most heart-wrenching photographs. The 9/11 gallery was also very emotional and touching. Throughout the museum you relive many historical moments while you are viewing the photographs, videos, and artifacts.
After the museum I walked across the street to the National Gallery of Art. You can download their free app and learn about the collections. When I left the museum I walked through the sculpture gardens on the way to the National Museum of American History. When I finished at this museum I took an Uber back to the hotel to enjoy some time at the pool. It was so nice sitting up there soaking up the sun. That evening we ate at the restaurant in the hotel, Zentan, which was marvelous--so much so that I went back there for lunch. The Jidori chicken was so tender and flavorful and my sushi was wonderful, as well. They have great service and a very friendly staff.
I got up the next morning and borrowed a bicycle from the hotel and rode down M Street all the way to Georgetown. It was an easy ride and there was a bike lane almost the entire way. After shopping a bit I biked around and rode along the Potomac River and then stopped at a crepe place close to my hotel. I spent the rest of the day relaxing at the rooftop deck pool. That night we had tickets to see Phish at the Merriweather Pavilion Post so we drove out there and stopped at the Columbia Mall for dinner at Seasons 52, and then walked across the street to the concert.
The next day the hotel did not have any bicycles available so I rented a bike from Capital Bikeshare. There are bike docks set up throughout the city. Once you pay the initial fee using your credit card (which cost $8.00 for 24 hours) you can then ride the bike all day for free (as long as you turn in the bike every 30 minutes at a docking station). If you go over there is a fee ($2.00 for the first hour, $6 for 90 minutes, and the prices go up from there). They really encourage returning the bike every 30 minutes. There is an app called Spotcycle that will tell you the different locations for the biking docks, how many bikes are available, and how many empty docks are available. It was really easy to use.
I rode the bike to the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum (which was a straight ride on 14th Street from the hotel). You need a timed ticket to see the permanent exhibition. Tickets are free. You can get them ahead of time online or the day you plan to attend the museum. I tried online but they were already sold out. I arrived at 9:45 and they were handing out timed tickets as I got there, so I was able to get a ticket for 10:00 a.m. when they opened. There are other exhibits to see without a timed ticket, but you can only enter the permanent exhibition with a timed ticket. I have been to a few Holocaust museums, and I have to say that this museum was the most powerful one I have visited. They also have a wonderful exhibition for families with younger kids called “Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story,” which shows the Holocaust experience through the eyes of a child. As you walk through the exhibit reading his diary, you see where Daniel lived, played, and how his life was changed due to the war. It is recommended for kids 8 and older. Here is a video of the exhibit. On the bottom level of the museum, there are walls decorated with tiles that children have drawn on in remembrance of the Holocaust. It is so beautiful to see the way the kids displayed their feelings on these tiles.
After the museum I checked out another bike from the docking station and rode to the different monuments, memorials, and the White House, after which I headed back to my hotel to hang out at the pool.
I was only in Washington, D.C. for 4 days, but with the Donovan Kimpton Hotel being centrally located, I was able to see everything I had planned on. I can’t wait to return.
I want to thank the Donovan Kimpton Hotel for offering me a discounted rate.