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Two Washington, D.C., Hotels & Spas Win New Forbes Star Awards

Washington, D.C.
  • Forbes recently added the Waldorf Astoria and the Pendry hotels and their spas in Washington, D.C., to its Star Awards list.
  • The two luxury hotels are very different, and one or the other should satisfy most premium travellers.
  • Both have good locations for enjoying many of Washington’s significant sites.

Forbes Travel Guide recently released its 66th annual Star Awards list of the world’s most outstanding hotels, restaurants, spas, and ocean liners.

Two Washington, D.C., hotels and their spas joined the list this year:

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Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C.

This Hilton hotel scored a four-star rating.  According to Forbes, this designation goes to “exceptional properties, offering high levels of service and quality of facility to match”.

The Waldorf took over the Old Post Office Pavilion building that once housed the Trump International Hotel.  The 19th-century Romanesque Revival building boasts soaring ceilings, gilded marble finishes, and a bright central atrium with an enormous skylight.

The Waldorf Astoria Spa Washington D.C. also earned a four-star rating.  It offers the indulgent services you’d expect at a luxury spa, like facials and massages, as well as a eucalyptus steam room and complimentary champagne.  There is a gym but no salon.

Rooms and suites honor the building’s history with details like federal-blue velvet draperies.  They also boast high ceilings and large windows.  Many offer nice views of downtown Washington.  The bathrooms are large and feature soaking tubs, brass fixtures, and marble-topped vanities.

The hotel’s Peacock Alley lobby bar is one of my favorite spots in Washington, thanks to its spacious and comfortable atmosphere and enviable display of crystal decanters.

The Waldorf also features two restaurants:  Michelin one-star Sushi Nakazawa and the Bazaar by José Andrés.

The Waldorf offers valet parking.  Check-out time is a reasonable 12 noon.

Attached to the building is the Clock Tower, one of the tallest structures in Washington.  The National Park Service offers complimentary tours of the Tower during the day.  You may enjoy 360-degree views of Washington from its 12th-storey observation deck.  Sites you can spot include:

The Clock Tower houses ten change-ringing bells.  They are replicas of the bells at Westminster Abbey in London and were cast at the Whitechapel Foundry, which also made the Liberty Bell.  They ring officially on federal holidays and other days of national significance and for practice on Thursday evenings.

The Waldorf is an excellent choice if you value classic design, a sense of history, and a central location.  There are lots of sites within walking distance of the Waldorf, including:

Bilt restaurants within walking distance include:

The closest Metro station is Federal Triangle on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines.

Pendry Washington D.C. — the Wharf

Forbes “Recommended” this Preferred hotel.  This designation goes to “excellent properties with consistently good service and facilities”.

The Pendry is located on the Wharf, a vibrant waterfront area teeming with hip bars and restaurants.  The building features an angular modern design with lots of light coming in from floor-to-ceiling windows.

Forbes gave the hotel’s small Spa Pendry a four-star rating.  It offers the indulgent services you’d expect at a luxury spa, like facials and massages, as well as rainfall showers and a eucalyptus steam room.  There is a gym but no salon.

The hotel boasts a terrace with a heated saltwater pool, a whirlpool, cabanas, and views of the Potomac River.

Rooms and suites have a sleek modernist design with full-length windows.  Many have nice views of the River.

The hotel’s rooftop bar Moonraker offers spectacular views of the River; its walls can open and close with the weather.

The lobby Bar Pendry offers a speak-easy feel, with comfy backed stools and cushy seating by the windows and in a cozy side room; it offers “boozy tea” on Saturday afternoons.  I enjoy popping in for a glass of wine while visiting the Wharf.

The hotel restaurant Flora Flora serves Latin American cuisine.

Check-out time is an annoying 11 a.m.

The Pendry is a good choice if you like modern design, lively surroundings, and a waterfront location.  It’s also a fine staging spot for a stroll around the Tidal Basin, where the cherry blossoms bloom.  Other sites within walking distance include:

Bilt restaurants within short walking distance include:

The Pendry offers guests complimentary rides around the immediate area in its hotel Cadillac.  It also offers the complimentary use of e-bikes.

The closest Metro stop is Waterfront on the Green line.  The Pendry is also a short walk from the Transit Pier, where you may board the Potomac Water Taxi to Georgetown, National Harbor, and Alexandria.

Other Options

Washington venues holding their spots on the Forbes list from years past include:

Bon voyage!  

Continue your adventure in Washington, D.C.

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