Category Archives: Washington DC

10 Restaurants With Arts and Smarts

Tired of eating in the chains? Checking Yelp? Chasing down the Michelins? 

Here are ten restaurants and cafés in some of the most interesting, creative and unexpected spaces and places from New York to London, D.C. to Miami. Venues range from high-end cafeteria to two Michelin star affairs, all drawing inspiration from their unique settings. Get ready to feed your body, mind and soul.

Continue reading 10 Restaurants With Arts and Smarts

Last Minute Gifts: Magellan Luxury Hotels E-Gift Cards

Magellan Luxury Hotels E-Gift Cards

With just a few days until Christmas, you may have a few more gifts to buy for people on your list. And isn’t the gift of luxury travel one of the finest presents you can offer? Continue reading Last Minute Gifts: Magellan Luxury Hotels E-Gift Cards

Rooftop Beekeeping at Fairmont Hotels

Think of it as a hotel within a hotel.

On more than 20 Fairmont hotel rooftops, beekeepers dote year-round on apiaries and bee hotels. A queen and her honeybee minions populate the hives, while pollinators, wild mason bees, take refuge in bee hotels, structures stuffed with natural materials riddled with small holes to mimic the nooks and crannies they love. Continue reading Rooftop Beekeeping at Fairmont Hotels

The Best Spring House Tours for 2016

When spring arrives so arrives the glorious season of the house and garden tour. We are no longer tethered to two-dimensional images in magazines or on Pinterest; we are elevated from bystander to participant, able to enter the private spaces that are normally out of our reach.

And others benefit from our robust curiosity: proceeds from the sale of tour tickets fund community groups and select charities. Here are some of the best spring house tours for 2016 happening across the country:

NYC & vicinity

New York Junior League Spring House Tour
May 7th, 2016

VIP advance ticket – $250
Regular advance ticket – $100

As the granddaddy of all house tours, the NYJL Spring House Tour showcases New York City’s prestigious and luxurious residences while highlighting architecture, art, history and the exquisite style of interior design. Admission includes: breakfast at the Astor House, the self-guided house tour, a buffet lunch, post-tour cocktail reception and silent auction. Consult the website for additional advantages accrued to a VIP ticket.

7th Annual Southampton House Tour “Insider’s View”
Saturday, June 4th, 2016
$95 in advance, $110 day of

This self-guided tour provides the opportunity to explore the exclusive enclave of Southampton. Participants will visit a number of extraordinary residences, exploring the area’s architectural history from colonial days to present. Sant Ambroeus will host a post-tour champagne reception at the Rogers Mansion.

San Francisco

Berkeley Architectural House Tours
Sunday, May 1st, 2016

The annual spring house tour is BAHA’s major fundraising event, as well as an opportunity to share information on important Bay Area architects and Berkeley neighborhoods. Visit the website for past and present tour guide books.

2016 Silicon Valley Modern House Tour
Saturday, May 14th, 2016

$35 in advance; $40 day of
Self-driving, self-paced

Los Angeles

Venice Garden & Home Tour

For over 20 years, the Venice Garden and Home Tour has been a showcase for the unique homes and gardens of the creative Venice Beach community. The tour changes each year, featuring different properties and neighborhoods.

2016 Pasadena Showcase House of Design
April 17th – May 15th, 2016

$40 advance, $45 at the door

The Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) is a non-profit run by volunteers who produce the annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Founded in 1948, it is one of the most successful house and garden tours in the nation.

19th Annual Carpinteria Beautiful Home & Garden Tour
Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Enjoy the day visiting five wonderfully unique homes in the small beach town with a big heart. The tour marks the finale of Carpinteria Beautiful Month and is the main fundraiser for local beautification projects.

Washington DC

2016 Georgetown House Tour
Saturday, April 23rd

$50 per ticket or $40 for groups of 10 or more

For the past 84 years, St. John’s Episcopal Church has organized and hosted the Georgetown House Tour. The 2016 edition features ten homes around the neighborhood and includes admission to the Parish Tea at Blake Hall.


2016 Denver Modern House Tour
Saturday, May 21st, 2016

$35 in advance; $40 online
Self-driving, self-paced


2016 Seattle Modern Home Tour
Saturday, April 30th

$35 advance, $40 day of; children 12 and under free
Greater Seattle Area; self-driving, self-paced

Historic Seattle Tours

Check the website for upcoming tours

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

Langham Place, New York - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue is a commanding presence on famed Fifth Avenue. With notable attractions just minutes away, the impressive amenities and dedicated service have set a new benchmark for Manhattan luxury hotels. Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue has got it all.

The Beverly Hills Hotel - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Since opening in 1912, The Beverly Hills Hotel has been the epitome of glamour. Known by many as the “Pink Palace”, this California landmark is the place of legends. From the famed Polo Lounge to the luxurious pool and lush grounds, the world’s elite have been experiencing the upscale service and style that has defined The Beverly Hills Hotel for 100 illustrious years.

InterContinental Mark Hopkins - Magellan Luxury Hotels

For over 85 years, the InterContinental Mark Hopkins has identified with true San Francisco luxury. Perched atop Nob Hill and looking out over San Francisco, this historic landmark hotel offers a refined elegance that pays homage to its illustrious past. Combining old-world aesthetics with gracious service and new-world amenities, this award-winning property is widely considered a leader in the hospitality industry.

Magellan Luxury Hotels

The Politics of Drinking in Washington, DC

There are three things you could use when you go drinking in D.C. and want to blend in: a power suit, a photographic memory of who’s who on the political scene, and a generous helping of discretion.

Visit any of these three historic and upscale hotel bars, all a stone’s throw from the White House, and chances are you’ll recognize fellow patrons because they’re splashed across the news and/or are caricatures adorning the walls or a cocktail coaster. Expect to spend time matching famous faces to famous names.

Off The Record
The Hay Adams Hotel, 800 16th Street NW, 202-942-7

The elegant Beaux-Arts hotel is built on the former site of mansions belonging to two political heavy-hitters and old friends: John Hay, personal secretary to Abraham Lincoln and secretary of state for Teddy Roosevelt, and Henry Adams, kin to the second and sixth presidents of the United States. With such patrician roots, the hotel and its bar, Off the Record, was bound to host the great, the famous and the wealthy doing business in D.C. Under the unwritten rules that govern discretion, it is known as “the place to be seen but not heard.”

No shrinking violet, the bar’s lavish and rich decor takes it cue from the ubiquitous red tie; red, described by Victoria Finlay in her book Color, represents not only feelings of the heart but fire, anger, the god of war and, appropriately, power. It is also known to stimulate appetite and conversation.

Located directly across from the White House, Off the Record is tucked below street level and accessed down an unmarked interior staircase. It suggests a speak-easy, albeit a very upscale one. It is known for its hand-crafted cocktails and expansive wine list. It is also showing off clever, highly-collectable bar coasters featuring presidential hopefuls depicted as customers. The pop-art discs are like trading cards for adults – issued in limited runs and wildly popular – so you best get them before they disappear.

The Jefferson, Washington, DC  1200 16th St. NW Washington, DC 20036

The Jefferson refers to THAT Thomas Jefferson: third President of the United States, American Founding Father, oenophile, Francophile and foodie, an accomplished man with excellent taste.

Quill consists of three distinct areas: the lounge, the Book Room and the East/West Jefferson Cabinet rooms. The decor is all things Jefferson, drawn from Monticello, his residence which still stands (and is open for public viewing) in the hills of Virginia. The Book Room, with a fireplace, sofas and Jefferson-themed titles, is inspired by his private library, the contents of which he sold to the government to form the nucleus of the Library of Congress. Eighteenth century maps adorn the golden walls of the lounge, tracing his travels through the wine regions of France, Germany and Italy.

The atmosphere is upscale, genteel and cozy even when it is busy. Pianist Peter Robinson entertains guests from Tuesday through Saturday after 9:00pm. An outdoor patio, opening onto 16th street, is discreetly tucked behind a hedge, a welcome addition in the warmer months. Clients are invited to enjoy a cigar with their drinks on the patio. Quill is best known for its changing selection and variety of seasonal cocktails.

Guests are seated in the lounge area on a first-come, first-served basis, but the East and West Jefferson Cabinet rooms may be reserved for small parties of up to six people. To begin the week, there is Sunday Dinner at Quill, offering three courses and wine for $35.

Round Robin & Scotch Bar
The Willard Washington DC 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

The Willard refers to itself as “The Residence of Presidents.” Not only is the tagline catchy, it offers a pretty good idea of what to expect inside.

The Willard has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce in 1853 as well as numerous notables including Reverend Martin Luther King, Charles Dickens, Buffalo Bill, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and P.T. Barnum of circus fame.

The luscious emerald green walls hint at Round Robin’s signature drink: the Mint Julep. In the early 1800‘s Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced his own recipe to D.C. substituting the usual gin, rum or brandy for his particular favorite: bourbon. Two hundred years later it is being served in the same fashion.

Ask about the “44 for 44” a spectacular list of presidential cocktails of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety. Favorites include the Herbert Hoover (a long island iced tea to reflect the prohibition era inclination to camouflage liquor), the John Quincy Adams (a New England hot toddy with spices from the West Indies), and the Ronald Reagan (a glass of the sparkling California white wine served at his inauguration).

There are also more than 100 single malt whiskeys, organized by region, served up at the adjacent Scotch Bar.

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

Hay-Adams Hotel - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Originally designed in the 1920s, the Hay-Adams offers the traditional elegance of a private estate and the gracious service of a premier luxury hotel. The closest hotel to the White House, this legendary boutique offers unparalleled views of both the White House and Lafayette Park, along with a range of services designed with both the business and leisure travel.

Jefferson Washington DC - Magellan Luxury Hotels

The Jefferson, Washington, DC is a Beaux-Arts jewel that offers the ultimate boutique hotel experience. This award-winning luxury property has a unique character and rich history. Offering impeccable service, and opulent amenities, The Jefferson creates an atmosphere of pure elegance that will suit even the most discerning traveler. Guests of The Jefferson, Washington, DC will enjoy incredible dining, a 24-hour Butler service and graciously-appointed accommodations.

Willard InterContinental - Magellan Luxury Hotels

A Washington, DC landmark, the Willard InterContinental has been at the center of DC’s social and political life since opening its doors in 1818. Today this luxury property offers a timeless elegance, thoughtful amenities and unsurpassed service. Guests will enjoy opulent, old-world design mixed modern eco-friendly practices. The Willard InterContinental is a hotel that has been leaving sensational impressions on guests for almost 200 years.

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FotoWeek DC – a lens into the world

Since 2008, the best and brightest photographers from Washington, D.C. and beyond have been on display throughout the city via FotoWeek DC. The week-long festival runs from November 7-15 this year, and offers visitors the chance to experience an incredible number of themed exhibitions in a wide range of spaces throughout the city.

The festivities kick off November 6 with the official FotoWeek DC opening party. Live music, small bites, an open bar, photo booths and more are all part of the fun, and those in attendance can get a sneak peek at some of the festival’s exhibits.

No matter what your style or preference, you’re sure to find a number of riveting exhibitions that will move you. Check out 100 large prints celebrating the best of 20 years of nature photography. Explore the life of Ingrid Bergman in Sweden through a collection that celebrates her life and legacy. Experience George Washington’s Mount Vernon in 3D through a special installation that will take you back to the 19th century in vivid detail. Be transported to war-torn countries through the lens of some of the world’s most brilliant photojournalists, or contemplate the themes and motifs that run through more experimental, art-driven photography.

Budding photographers also have the chance to talk with professionals in all fields through FotoWeek DC’s collection of workshops, talks and demonstrations. Whether you’re just getting started or are looking to further hone your craft, you’ll get the chance to take your photography to the next level.

That’s not all. You can also take part in FotoWeek DC through their Instagram photo contest. Take a picture around D.C. and upload it to Instagram, making sure to include the hashtags #iseeDC2015 and #fotodc. If your photo is chosen as one of the best it’ll be part of an installation at the District Architecture Center in early 2016.

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

Capella, Georgetown - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Park Hyatt Washington - Magellan Luxury Hotels

The Dupont Circle Hotel - Magellan Luxury Hotels

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More-than-memorable museums

Every great city has its venues for high culture — museums, art galleries, private collections, public spaces, parks, and theaters.

But if you’re feeling a little burned out by the regular tourist attractions, consider seeking out something a little more… colorful. Here are three of our favorite off-the-beaten-track museums for the next time you decide to hit the road.

Museum of Bad Art — Boston
For over 20 years, the not-even-close-to-masterpieces of the world have found a home at Boston’s Museum of Bad Art. What started in the basement of a private home has blossomed to a pair of theater basement spaces — perhaps fitting, given the hilarious duds in this collection. From portraits to landscapes, these sometimes captivating, often gut-busting works prove beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

International Spy Museum — Washington, DC
America’s only museum dedicated solely to espionage has the largest collection of artifacts of its kind in the world. From physical exhibits to multimedia displays to hands-on interactive adventures, kids of all ages (even the grown-up kind) will find the International Spy Museum a thrilling, mind-opening experience that changes the way you think about espionage.

Museum of Sex — New York City
The preservation of “history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality” — that’s the goal of New York’s Museum of Sex. Books, media, and artifacts run the gamut of human history, with a focus on the way we have changed — and the way our thoughts about sex and sexuality have changed as well. It’s certainly one of the steamiest stops you’ll make while in New York City — no matter what the weather’s like outside.

 Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

The Roger - Magellan Luxury Hotels

The Ritz, Carlton, Boston Common - Magellan Luxury Hotels

Hay-Adams Hotel - Magellan Luxury Hotels

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Celebrate Memorial Day in the Capital

Every year on the last Monday in May, Americans remember the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

This year, why not mark Memorial Day, May 26, by seeing some of Washington’s most notable sights for yourself?

Lincoln Memorial
Located on the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is a proud monument that honors the 16th president of the United States after which it is named. Fashioned in the style of a Greek Doric temple, between the columns sits an oversized statue of Abraham Lincoln, plus inscriptions of his second inaugural address as well as the Gettysburg address.

It was here that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. It’s a monument that reminds us of the fundamental values of America, and is truly a sight to behold.

The White House
There’s no address more famous than 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The official workplace and residence of U. S. President Barack Obama and his team, this 200+ year-old building is truly iconic when it comes to Washington landmarks.

A White House tour is every political junkie’s dream come true. Self-guided visits allow visitors to absorb political history and culture from the days of Thomas Jefferson all the way through to the present-day administration.

Arlington National Cemetery
On Memorial Day weekend, be sure to visit Arlington National Cemetery, as more than 250,000 flags are placed on the graves of soldiers buried there. A wreath will also be laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as part of the event — a truly moving experience.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
There are few that come away from a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial without a great deal to contemplate. On Memorial Day weekend, veterans and their families congregate at the wall to ruminate over the friends and family they lost in combat.

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

Capella, Georgetown

Willard InterContinental

Grand Hyatt Washington

 See all of our Washington, DC Luxury Hotels


Spring Festival in Bloom

If this year’s winter deep-freeze put you down in the dumps and has you itching for spring, the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. is the perfect event to get you feeling good about the season to come.

Taking place from March 20 – April 13, the festival celebrates the coming of spring in the D.C. area. With a decidedly outdoor focus, there are plenty of options for those looking to take in art, music, festivities and much more.

Washington’s cherry trees come thanks to a gift from the citizens of Japan for the United States. Located in three National Park locations — East Potomac Park, West Potomac Park, and along the grounds of the Washington Monument — their bright white blooms are eye-catching and fragrant.

No matter how you choose to take in the cherry blossoms, you’ll be amazed by their breathtaking beauty. Jump on a boat cruise down the Potomac River for a unique perspective on the trees as well as area landmarks. Rent a bike and go for a two-hour ride based around the festival. Or take part in one of D.C.’s special “photo safaris,” where a guide will take your around the cherry blossom area for a closer-up, first-hand look.

In honor of the friendship between the U.S. and Japan, there are plenty of cross-cultural events taking place in conjunction with the 2014 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Take in the opening ceremony, featuring influences from a number of cultures. Check out the Grand Sake Tasting, featuring 20 Japanese master sake brewers pouring (and taking about) Japanese sake and beer.

Other festival activities include plenty to do with kites — namely, a kite-building/decorating workshop for kids as well as the Blossom Kite Festival on the National Mall. Enjoy the fresh air as you fly a kite while surrounded by the city’s incredible foliage.

Many of the events and activities at the National Cherry Blossom Festival are free, meaning it’s a great chance to get the family outside to experience the beauty of these incredible trees while taking the sights and sounds of the capitol region.

Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:

Capella, Georgetown

Fairmont Washintgton, DC

The Dupont Hotel

See the rest of our Washington, DC Luxury Hotels