In the April 2013 Issue
Beyond the Pink
Behind Flourish of Cherry Blossoms Lies Rainbow of Spectacular Sights
by Karin Zeitvogel
It's funny how many similarities there are between cherry blossom season and choosing a new pope.
Take this similarity: In Rome, locals rub shoulders with huge crowds of tourists from around the world in Saint Peter's Square, watching for white smoke to rise from what's probably the most famous chimney in the world to signal the election of a new pontiff.
In Washington, meanwhile, throngs of locals and tourists flock to the National Mall and Tidal Basin to admire some of the most famous cherry trees in the world, checking them for signs that they have reached "peak bloom."
Another parallel is that nobody knew when the conclave of cardinals would elect a pope, just as no one knows exactly when the cherry blossoms will be at their finest. Yes, National Park Service horticulturalists go out on a limb every year and say, around a month in advance, when they think "peak bloom" will be. This year, they originally pegged it in the period between March 26 to 30 but later revised it to April 3 to 6, although with cold temperatures and even snow at the tail end of March, the buds may hide a bit longer.
In the January 2013 Issue
At 2013 Inauguration, Hotels Solemnly Swear to Do It Up
by Stephanie Kanowitz
The robocalls and attack ads have ended. That's cause for celebration enough for many of us. But January will bring to Washington a party like no other when President Barack Obama is sworn in on the 21st for his second term at the helm of the free world.
For D.C.-area hotels, the inauguration means big business. More than 1 million people attended Obama's 2009 inauguration, and area hotel rooms brought in more than $100 million in revenue, according to Destination DC, a private nonprofit corporation with a membership of 850 businesses and organizations that support the Washington travel and tourism sector.
Since then, hotels have invested $250 million in refurbishing and renovating — and are ready to welcome guests for the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Most lodgings require a four-night minimum stay and carry hefty price tags, but all promise an experience fit for royalty (or at least a head of state), with lavish meals, personal fashion consultants, unique keepsakes and undivided attention.
Here are a few of the more sumptuous options.
In the October 2012 Issue
Let's Get Together
Washington Offers Vast Array of Venues for Every Event
by Stephanie Kanowitz
Washington, D.C., is no stranger to events large and small. Whether it's a presidential inauguration on the National Mall for a million people or an everyday power lunch for two, the District has a place for everyone.
So to help you plan your next gathering, we've compiled a list of some of the area's top spots based on event size, type and fun details such as high-tech perks, historical details and the ghosts of famous visitors past.
In the July 2012 Issue
Staff Serve as Invisible Glue That Keeps Hotels Together
by Suzanne Kurtz
From heads of state to globetrotting tourists, visitors to Washington have come to expect an experience worthy of the nation's capital.
A peak behind the scenes at some of D.C.'s premier hotels reveals a quiet cadre of dedicated service professionals working hard to ensure that the city's guests are well looked after.
In a structure built in 1818, and always functioning as a hotel of some sort, the Willard InterContinental Washington has a long history of hospitality, which even includes hosting the first diplomatic mission of samurai from Japan in 1860.
"That legacy impacts our service to this day," said Barbara Bahny, director of public relations for the hotel. "In many parts of life service has gone away and been replaced by self-service."
In the April 2012 Issue
Individually Tailored Hotels Suit Range of Traveler Types
by Stephanie Kanowitz
Tourism in D.C. has been growing at a steady clip in the past five years. In 2010, about 17 million visitors spent $5.68 billion in the nation's capital, according to Destination DC, the city's tourism marketing arm. More than half of that money came from business travelers, and the rest from leisure. The bottom line: Tourism is crucial to this region's bottom line.
But with 122 hotels and 29,256 guestrooms to choose from, according to Destination DC, it can be tough for those all-important visitors to decide where to stay. To help them, we put together this guide of properties that excel at catering to certain personality types, so that Washington — an eclectic hub of politics, business, history and entertainment — provides each visitor with an individually tailored experience in the nation's capital.
In the January 2012 Issue
Design Lets a Property's Distinct Personality Shine
by Stephanie Kanowitz
Washington, D.C., has no shortage of hotels running the gamut of international chains to mom-and-pop boutiques. Within its 68 miles, the District has 28,304 rooms in 119 hotels serving about 17 million tourists each year, according to Destination DC, the city's tourism marketing arm. With that much competition, hotels are constantly trying to outdo the other in service, amenities, price and creative packages to set themselves apart. But ultimately, a hotel's personality is what makes or breaks it, and the easiest way to convey character is through style — that signature design and ambience that define a property.
The Diplomat takes a look at three hotels with completely different and distinctive styles to see how their décor expresses the message they want to send. Their looks embody the inherent variety of Washington's hospitality scene: classic elegance, trendy luxury and Asian Zen.
In the October 2011 Issue
Willard Marks 25th Anniversary And 150 Years of Illustrious History
by Rachael Bade
On Sept. 20, a few skips from the White House, guests of the Willard InterContinental Washington toasted with scotches and mint juleps in the hotel's stately lobby. They were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the reopening of this landmark 12-story, Beaux-Arts property.
Don't let that wee number — 25 — confuse you: With a history that began less than three decades after the birth of the United States itself, the Willard is practically an American institution.
From the mid-1800s to 2011, the Willard had kept watch on life in the nation's capital from its vantage point on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street, NW. From the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln to the crafting of an inspirational speech by a man who "had a dream," the hotel has witnessed some of U.S. history's most monumental events.
In the July 2011 Issue
Washington Hotels Excel at Catering to Superlative Events
by Jacob Comenetz
Photo: The Fairmont Washington, D.C.
As a capital city of international import, it's only fitting that Washington, D.C., hosts more than its fair share of larger-than-life luminaries, political and otherwise. And the city's venerable hotels, famous destinations in their own right, are well-versed in what it takes to satisfy their singular demands, especially when it comes to hosting big-time events.
From political fundraising and charity dinners, to galas honoring world leaders, to multicultural weddings with hundreds of guests, the events that top Washington hotels host are as outstanding as the clientele they serve. To get a sense of what goes on behind the scenes to produce some of the largest, most exceptional events, The Washington Diplomat talked to catering directors at three leading hotels: the Fairmont and Ritz-Carlton, both in the West End, and the Washington Hilton in Dupont Circle.
In the April 2011 Issue
Roof With a View
At Select Washington Hotels, Rooftops Become Hotspots
by Rachael Bade
Between the White House, Capitol Hill and the monuments on the National Mall, Washington, D.C., is considered one of the most awe-inspiring cities in the United States — not just politically but visually. Yet the view from the ground isn't the only perspective in town.
So when sauntering past the giant marble memorial of Abe Lincoln or kayaking to the Jefferson Memorial gets old, there's always another angle from which to appreciate the city's monumental landscape: Check it out from above.
The District's hotel rooftops offer some of the most breathtaking and picturesque views of the city — postcard-worthy and picture-perfect for visitors and locals alike. They're all the more special because there's really only a handful of places in the city that can be considered genuine rooftop destinations.
Among Region's Many Charms: Its Resilience
by Anna Gawel
Cobblestone streets meander along magnificently preserved old town squares that exude medieval grandeur. Elsewhere, Art Nouveau and Baroque architecture and imposing gothic cathedrals mingle with tiny Wi-Fi-connected cafés that offer an ideal perch from which to soak in centuries of history and culture. Beyond the city centers lie beaches and lakes, lush forests and quaint villages — with a few castles and palaces thrown in for good measure. But the landscape, while impressive, isn't the most striking feature. Rather, it's the fierce national pride among the people, tinged with an equally fierce kinship with the West.
The beauty of the three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — is no longer a hidden gem. Tourists have been flocking to these picturesque countries ever since they emerged from Soviet control exactly 20 years ago (the United States never formally recognized the World War II-era Soviet takeover, which in part accounts for the enduring admiration toward Americans).
Also See: Estonia and Latvia Online Resources
Last Edited on April 3, 2013