Published on June 16th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
0 In Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, Old-World Glamor with Modern Charm
“Only valet parking,” the concierge beamed at us as we arrived at the Omni Shoreham hotel. I was a bit taken aback. Surely, he didn’t mean that we couldn’t take our car and personally park it into the lot that was just a few yards away?
I pretended I did not understand.
“Oh it’s okay,” I waved at him. “We’re pros at parking.”
The concierge’s smile did not fade as he said, “no, we don’t allow that.”
This was a travel first: I’ve never been forced to pay for valet parking, but visitors to the Omni Shoreham, which lies conveniently away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Washington D.C., tend to be leisurely travelers as well as diplomats who want everything done for them.
A four-diamond hotel located near scenic landscape, including Rock Creek Park, the Shoreham is all Old World glamor, with chandeliers dripping from the ceiling, artistic orchids and splashes of politics, culture and music everywhere.
The hotel has a legendary history, and has played host to presidents, inaugural balls and been a home to world leaders, and that’s easy to see. It’s also great for kids because it’s steps away from the National Zoo.
There are 832 luxury guest rooms and suites. We stayed in a Junior Suite which was roomy with elegant furniture, a coffee table, and a comfortable bed and ensuite bathroom and it was perfect for a family of three (it would be big enough for a family of four too: no elbow rubbing!).
Rooms with a view
What we loved about the hotel was the pool, which is huge, along with the little Jacuzzi area that gives you ample opportunity to practice your sunbathing techniques. No wonder that the hotel won the Best Pools award from Southern Living Magazine. The Omni Shoreham is also just a block away from the Metro station that takes you right smack into the heart of downtown, so you can have the cake and eat it too (stay far away from pricey Washington Mall, and yet reap the benefits of a beautiful location).
The service is courteous and pleasant, and the hotel is a bit of a shopper’s haven too (think diamond jewelry and such). Roberts Restaurant offers a pleasant brunch and 24/7 in-room dining options too. There’s also a seasonal Splash! Pool Bar so you can relax from a hard day’s work with a glass of martini. So, although we had our hands tied with valet parking, we experienced old world glamor in the heart of Washington D.C., which made us feel oh so very Eleanor Roosevelt. If you’re into period pieces, this is your hotel.
Here are some sightseeing options at the Shoreham’s doorstep:
New Heights Restaurant: This is almost always packed and buzzing, but it is spacious and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. It serves a good brunch and also offers a four-course wine tasting menu. The bar is open late as well, so this is a dawn to (way past) dusk kind of place.
Smithsonian National Zoo: This is one of the oldest zoos in the country, and it’s steps away from the Shoreham hotel. True to Smithsonian fashion, the zoo does not charge any admission.
Bars and Restaurants: The area around Calvert street is particularly lively, and you’ll find several Thai restaurants, bistros, bars and clubs all around.
Rates start from $279 per night. Cribs are available.