- Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner
- Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner Center
- Tysons Corner Marriott
- Residence Inn by Marriott Tysons
Great Falls Park in Virginia sits along the Potomac River, about 15 miles from Washington, D.C.
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The Park is near the top of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which links important sites in American history along a scenic driving route. (Its Maryland twin is part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.)
It’s a beautiful Park with trails, picnic spots, and the famous falls. Over the years, I’ve hiked, picnicked, and ridden horses in the Park many times.
Great Falls is an unincorporated bedroom community nestled among other Washington suburbs. The area is very car-dependent. Traffic in northern Virginia ranges from annoyingly congested to parking-lot stuck, but it’s usually bearable outside rush hour. I don’t recommend using ride-share to the Park, because cell service there is uncertain. The closest Metro stations to the Park are Greensboro and Spring Hill on the Silver line, each about five miles away.
About six miles from Great Falls Park is Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, which features a fabulous outdoor concert venue where I’ve seen shows by Roger Daltrey, Barry Manilow, and the late Tony Bennett (with a “surprise” appearance by Lady Gaga), among others.
Great Falls is home to a lovely French restaurant, L’Auberge Chez François, where a dear aunt and uncle treated me and other family members to one of the best dinners I enjoyed during my misspent youth as an office worker.
But as a suburban area, Great Falls and its surroundings don’t have the wide range of hotels that you’d expect in a city.
Your best bet is Tysons (Corner), a regional business district about five miles from the Park. I used to live about 20 minutes from there. The area boasts the corporate headquarters of big businesses like Capital One, Gannett, and Hilton Worldwide. But it’s best known for its two shopping centers, to which the Tysons Metro station on the Silver line provides direct access.
Tysons Galleria is a luxury mall where I’ve shopped, dined, and joined friends taking their children to see Santa. Its department stores are Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Its smaller shops include Cartier, Prada, and Restoration Hardware. Restaurants are typical suburban chains like the Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and P.F. Chang’s.
Tysons Corner Center is an upscale mall where I’ve shopped, seen movies like Miracle and Ocean’s 13, and watched a Lego master building an eight-foot replica of R2-D2.
Tysons Corner Center is one of the biggest malls in America. Its anchors are Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Nordstrom (my favorite). Smaller stores include several of my go-tos like Barnes and Noble, Coach, and Talbots. Restaurants include chains like the Capital Grille, Silver Diner, and T.G.I. Friday’s. The enormous mall also hosts rotating exhibitions featuring local artists, 16 AMC Theaters, and a Valet Spa auto-detailing service.
Tysons is also home to the closest cluster of hotels to Great Falls Park. Among the suitable are:
This luxury Marriott hotel is about five miles from Great Falls Park. It is also connected to Tysons Galleria, about four miles from Wolf Trap, and 11 miles from L’Auberge Chez François. I once enjoyed a nice stay here during a conference.
Amenities include a gym and valet parking. Check-out time is an annoying 11 a.m.
The hotel’s ENTYSE restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dishes are mostly upscale standards like Eggs Benedict, Crab Cakes, and Braised Short Ribs. Wednesday and Thursday are “sushi nights”.
Until December 31, the hotel is participating in the “Sip & Shop with Marriott Bonvoy” program — which promises to ease the sting of Christmas shopping. The promotion offers hotel guests two complimentary cocktails, “a small gift”, and up to $500 in savings at Tysons Corner Center. The promotional code is: SHO
The Ritz-Carlton is a good choice for travellers who prefer elegant luxury.
This upscale hotel is about five miles from Great Falls Park. It is also connected to Tysons Corner Center, about five miles from Wolf Trap, and 11 miles from L’Auberge Chez François.
Amenities include a gym and on-site parking. Check-out time is 11 a.m.
The hotel’s bar-restaurant Barrel & Bushel serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features American standards like burgers, salads, and steaks. It also offers interesting plates to share like crab-cake sliders. The bar offers more than 20 regional craft beers on tap and 45 bourbons. Happy Hour is a generous 2-7 p.m.
The Hyatt Recency is a good option if you’re looking for classic comfort.
This midscale hotel is about five miles from Great Falls Park. It is also under a mile from Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria, about four miles from Wolf Trap, and 11 miles from L’Auberge Chez François.
Amenities include a gym and on-site parking. Check-out time is a reasonable 12 noon.
The Marriott is also participating in the “Sip & Shop” promotion.
This would be a solid choice if you like a traditional full-service hotel.
This extended-stay hotel is about five miles from Great Falls Park. It is also about a mile from Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria, four miles from Wolf Trap, and ten miles from L’Auberge Chez François.
Amenities include a gym, on-site parking, and complimentary breakfast. Check-out time is 11 a.m.
The Residence Inn is a good choice when a spare but spacious suite with a kitchen best meets your needs.
Lagniappe: There are 40 other hotels around the country participating in the “Sip & Shop with Marriott Bonvoy” program:
- Courtyard Phoenix Chandler | Fashion Center
- Courtyard Scottsdale North
- Courtyard Scottsdale Old Town
- Delta Hotels Phoenix Mesa
- JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
- JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
- Marriott Phoenix Chandler
- Residence Inn Phoenix Desert View at Mayo Clinic
- Residence Inn Scottsdale North
- Scottsdale Marriott Old Town
- SpringHill Suites Scottsdale North
- The Camby, Autograph Collection, in Phoenix
- The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale
- TownPlace Suites Phoenix Chandler | Fashion Center
- W Scottsdale
- Courtyard Sacramento Cal Expo
- Fairfield Inn Sacramento Cal Expo
- Le Merigot Santa Monica
- Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica
- Los Angeles Airport Marriott
- Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel
- Residence Inn Sacramento Airport Natomas
- Residence Inn Walnut Creek
- The Westin Los Angeles Airport
- Walnut Creek Marriott
- AC Hotel Chicago Downtown
- Four Points by Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport
- Le Méridien Essex Chicago
- Residence Inn Chicago O’Hare
- Sheraton Suites Chicago O’Hare
- SpringHill Suites Chicago O’Hare
- The Westin O’Hare
I fell in love with travel on a trip to Mexico when I was nine years old. Since then, I’ve travelled the globe from Israel to El Salvador. I’ve skied the Swiss Alps and hiked national parks like Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, and Virgin Islands. I’ve marvelled at masterpieces in the Prado, the Uffizi, the Huntington, and the National Gallery of Art. I’ve stayed in a cabin on a mountaintop in Norway and on a kibbutz along the Sea of Galilee, and been kicked out of the Ritz at the Place Vendôme. I’ve taken cooking classes from New England to the Caribbean, and watched a chef prepare traditional shakshuka in the kitchen of his restaurant in Tel Aviv. I weave historical research and my personal experiences together in writing this blog. I hope you find it helpful. Read more …