Weekend in Washington

America's capital – still home to masterful monuments – now also boasts a burgeoning culinary scene

Having attended Georgetown University, I am no stranger to our nation’s capital. But it had been many years since I’d spent time in this historic city, particularly as a tourist. So this past May, I did just that, as a wedding brought me nearby to Maryland for a few days anyway. My base for the weekend would be the luxurious Mandarin Oriental. Located right in the heart of the city, it was the ideal locale for sightseeing, exploring the city by foot, and taking advantage of the numerous museums and monuments.

Upon arrival, I was taken to my room, which featured a gorgeous view of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and a marble bathroom with enclosed glass shower in the classic Mandarin style that I’ve come to know and love. It is a spacious, sophisticated blend of east meets west and there are always surprise welcome amenities like cookies or gourmet chocolates, a lovely treat.  

From the hotel, I took city bikes, which were conveniently located just a block or two away, and rode through the many monuments nearby including the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. I also explored the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. There were endless things to see and do, right at the footsteps of the hotel.

Also, a short Uber ride from the property was Rose’s Luxury, which was one of my favorite restaurants of 2017. Full disclosure – they do not take reservations, for anyone, ever. So you must be prepared to wait. However, if you are staying at the Mandarin, it’s easy to pop over, put your name down, and then head back to the hotel for a bit to relax before dinner. I know this is a lot of effort for dinner, but I assure you, it is worth it. I’ve eaten in France, Switzerland, New York, Napa, and more in the last year, and Rose’s was easily in the top three meals I’ve had.

It feels like a New York or LA restaurant. It’s got a great vibe that is original, and a bit industrial, yet still upscale. Their “little” bites are a fun way to start and all their dishes are bursting with flavor. The best plate of the night was the pork sausage with habanero, peanuts, and lychee. It was an unlikely combination of things, but so incredible that I ordered a second! They always feature a couple of pastas and larger proteins family style.

Photo: Rey Lopez

Photo: Nate Cover

Retreating to the Mandarin each day was such a highlight, particularly to their indoor lap pool. DC is a great city to explore, especially in the fall or spring, and has much to offer.