Washington, D.C.


Entering the The Madison (www.themadisondc.com), just blocks from the White House, is akin to stepping into an elegant home you once knew, filled with relatives who have been awaiting your return. The doormen serve as ambassadors throughout your stay. If they pass you in the hallway, they’ll be certain any arrangements you’ve requested have been made. When you come back to the hotel in the evening, you’re actually happy to see them again.


Other liaisons at the hotel, which is managed by Axel Suray (202-577-6530), include Guest Concierges Radmilla Jackovich and B.B. Hallares (202-587-2648), who have been entrusted with escorting a bride’s wedding dress across town and arranged polo lessons for guests with the hotel’s polo pro (the hotel has its own polo team; games take place every Sunday from May 15 – October 16 on the National Mall).

Guest rooms run on the smaller side at the hotel (a member of  The Leading Hotels of the World), so we recommend a Madison Suite, whose parlor, at 658 square feet, seems huge and even comes with a Murphy Bed. The Royal Suite is always in demand, thanks to its balcony that overlooks the Washington Monument. Families should opt for the five-room Presidential Suite. Press-weary celebrities and international dignitaries take note: This suite can also be closed off from the rest of the hotel to ensure privacy. All suites can be booked via GDS.

The hotel does not have a spa, but can provide a masseuse for in-room treatments. Palette restaurant (try the crab cakes) is very popular with the local market (whom you’ll also find at the restaurant’s spacious bar late at night, savoring the generously sized cosmos). For dining away from the hotel, we suggest Michel Richards Citronelle (3000 M Street; 202-625-2150; www.citronelledc.com).

The Hay-Adams (www.hayadams.com) sits on prime real estate across from the White House, which leads to the obvious: Request a White House View room for clients who want to soak up the scenery (if they’re sold out, the Lafayette Park View rooms look out at the same landmark). Families can request a series of connecting Superior Rooms if they’re seeking togetherness. Otherwise, there are 20 suites available throughout the hotel, ranging from 500 to 1,000 square feet. The one-bedroom Federal Suite (not bookable via the GDS) has two full bathrooms and astounding panoramic views, but we love the French doors that lead out to a small balcony with a White House view. We also suggest room 806 on the top floor of the hotel, if only for the views.

Another nice touch at the hotel is its complimentary sedan service for those guests who have appointments within the local area (in the mornings and evenings during the work week). Hans Bruland is the hotel's general manager (202-638-6600) and is accessible for VIP concerns. Head Concierge Jack Nargil is a member of Les Clefs d'Or USA and has done everything from arranging limousine service to hot air balloon rides for clients.

The Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. (www.mandarinoriental.com) rests on the city’s tidal basin and Washington channel. As a result, 60% of the rooms here have water views. The rest of the hotel’s inventory has equally enviable vistas of the city’s famed cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial, as well as views that stretch from Old Town to Georgetown.


Prepare to be dazzled by the 3,500-square-foot Presidential Suite; its three bedrooms keep it in high demand, as do its 10 (yes, 10) flat-screen televisions. If a dignitary or celebrity has already booked these lavish digs, opt for a Waterview Junior Suite on floors three through seven. At 608 square feet, they’re ideal for those staying in town for more than a few days. An added plus? They’ve got a balcony and provide access to the Club Lounge.

At the spa, reserve a Time Ritual treatment; it’s sold in blocks of time (two to four hours) and is customized for the client after a consultation. Book prior to your clients’arrival; this swanky, eight-room facility, run by Tracy McClellan (202-787-6100; [email protected]), is always in high demand.

Consult with Richard Johnson (202-787-6172) of the Guest Services department if you’re sending a VIP; General Manager Darrell Sheaffer’s office (202-787-6111) is another valuable contact.

Reserve a table three weeks in advance at the signature restaurant, CityZen, which offers a chic tasting menu. For a new twist on a traditional theme, point clients toward nearby Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave., NW; 202-547-8100), where the wine list impresses all.

Note: Those traveling to the city in private jets can land at Washington Dulles International Airport (www.metwashairports.com/Dulles). Reagan National Airport has not reopened to private jet service. 

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