New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Washington, DC, is the city of sleepless nights. Amid its beautiful streets, stately monuments, and diverse culture, its denizens are fiercely at work, crafting legislation, lobbying Congress, or roaming the West Wing.
But for visitors to our nation’s capital, the experience is quite different. Epic walks, Georgetown shops, marble icons, and eclectic neighborhoods bleed into nights of dynamic bars and world-class food. At a respectable hour, those free of arduous tasks get to rest their heads in king-sized beds with pillow-top mattresses. (I enjoyed the experience so much at the Melrose Georgetown, a 4-star boutique hotel on the edge of the city’s upscale, historic neighborhood, that I added “sleep” to my to-do list.)
Georgetown dates back to 1751, when it was established as a municipality of the Province of Maryland. In 1871, the City of Washington assumed the port as a federal district, when Congress created the District of Columbia. Its Old Stone House, constructed in 1765, remains the “oldest unchanged building” in DC, and George Washington purportedly had meetings there, its address at 3051 M Street NW. Georgetown’s buildings now house major retail brands, antiques and fine arts shops, and cafés. The bustle of the neighborhood, more than 200 years later, seems to parallel its historical counterpart.
The Melrose Georgetown feels a marriage of past and present, as well. The lobby, lounge, and acclaimed restaurant Jardenea are a mix of stately and chic design, simultaneously evoking warmth and luxury. The elegant, art-filled lobby is sectioned into appealing sitting areas, perfect for relaxing with coffee and a book from the hotel’s library.
Rooms are likewise considered, making smart use of space with a classical-contemporary sensibility. At almost the top floor of eight, my executive suite affords a panel window of Pennsylvania Avenue, which I keep open from day to night, a personal view of Washington’s kinetic energy.
Though DC is generally known for its world-class museums and monuments, you could visit the city for the food alone. Its restaurant and bar scene has exploded in the last decade, with notable chefs and can’t-miss places. Thankfully, one is right at my hotel: Jardenea, French for “garden,” combines the best of seasonal produce with global cuisine. Restaurant and lounge manager Millian Palma warmly greets me with a glass of Prosecco, while executive chef Nelson Erazo shares his latest menu inspired by the flavors of fall. With memorable tastes like the Autumn Harvest Brussels Sprouts (with soft chèvre crumble and truf e essence) and the Kettle Seared Duroc Pork Belly (with Chapel’s Country Creamery Bay Blue cheese, date purée, baby arugula, and aged balsamic glaze—a clever rendition of a “Devil on Horseback”), it’s clear that one of DC’s nest meals is right where I’ll rest my head, while the city keeps watch.