Trip Tips: Washington, DC, So Hot Right Now, Here’s Why

- Megan Montenaro, Kiwi Collection's Director of Communications

Homeland, Showtime’s runaway hit that debuted its second season last month, swept the Emmys upsetting perennial favorite Mad Men. The United States Presidential election is in full swing with Obama and Romney taking the stage for the first of three debates last week. Still not enough to spark an interest to visit the nation’s capital? Perhaps one of these new exhibits will do the trick.

Earlier this year, The Art Institute of Chicago curated the first major retrospective of Roy Lichtenstein since his death in 1997. Lichtenstein is a universally celebrated pop artist whose now iconic images shared the spotlight in the 1960s with the likes of Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. The exhibit, which opens at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC on October 14th, features 130 works and “gives full consideration to all periods of Lichtenstein’s career.” It will run until January 13, 2013.

On October 7th, the work of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made its North American debut when his According to What? exhibit opened at Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. As one of China’s most controversial artists, he might be best known to Americans for collaborating on Beijing’s Olympic National Stadium, aka The Bird’s Nest. Through sculpture, video, and photography the 25 plus works all emphasize “the value and place of the individual within society” and will be on display until February 24, 2013.

In April of last year, NASA announced that the four remaining shuttles from the retired Space Shuttle program would be put on display at prominent locations around the country. Discovery, which had the longest run of the entire fleet, now calls Washington’s National Air and Space Museum: Udvar-Hazy Center home. The aircraft completed 39 missions, traveled 148,221,675 miles and in 1990 placed the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. When it arrived, the museum and NASA encouraged Washingtonians to play “Spot the Shuttle” as the aircraft was delivered to its permanent home; now it’s easy to take a peek along with the extensive collections of aviation and space artifacts on display over three levels.
If you ask us, these hotels are reason enough to plan a visit. Here’s more on where to stay while in town:

The Jefferson
Housed in a 1923 Beaux Arts landmark building that was once one of Washington’s most luxurious residential addresses, this 99-room hotel has been a favorite among Washington’s elite since it was converted into a hotel in 1955. Inside you’ll find decorations of silk, dark wood and wainscoting alongside modern-day amenities. With three options for meals, including the acclaimed The Greenhouse that sits beneath the original lobby skylight, and a list of amenities that begins with a private collection of original art and historic documents and ends with a private cellar that boasts over 1000 wines, you’ll soon realize you’re among the best of the best.

Park Hyatt
Explore the nation’s past while luxuriously in the present at this modern oasis designed by Taiwanese-born, New York-based Tony Chi. The hotel’s public spaces are soothing and relaxed, only enhanced by details like wooden shutters and folk art. The generously-sized rooms (the smallest are 400 square feet) are modern and high tech, yet warm and inviting, and also include many a nod to your historical setting with antique checkerboards and Shaker-inspired furniture. The award-winning Blue Duck Tavern is a favorite among the current President and First Lady. The hotel’s Tea Cellar offers more than 50 rare and vintage teas, and features a glass humidor to store, display and age tea.

Mandarin Oriental
With a top-notch location and stunning views from each guest suite, this hotel offers an elegant retreat in the heart of the nation’s capital. You’ll be spoiled in spacious rooms appointed with imported Fili D’oro linens and handmade silk tapestries and its spa is a haven of holistic tranquility. For art lovers, the private gallery space exhibits fine pieces in a unique arrangement with the Smithsonian Institution. And when that’s not enough, feel free to unwind in the Tai Pan Club, an exclusive lifestyle club or head to the spa that’s lusciously spread over 10,500 square feet and has an extensive menu. Traveling with your brood? Check into the breathtaking three-bedroom Presidential Suite and take advantage of all the kids’ activities the hotel has to offer.

W Washington DC
Steps from The White House you’ll find high style and hip décor inside what was once the oldest hotel in Washington. The 317-room property is comfortable, sleek and efficient and has killer views from its rooftop patio. W’s well-touted, signature offerings are on full display here with cuisine from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a great spa and gym and those heavenly beds proving that tradition and sophistication make a wonderful pair.

The Ritz Carlton Georgetown
One might think a city incinerator, complete with a red brick smoke stack, that had been abandoned for some 30 years wouldn’t make for a nice hotel, but you’d be wrong. The original brick and steel beams remain and complement the contemporary upgrades along with views of the Potomac River. With just 86 rooms, including five luxury suites, this property feels like a boutique hotel but comes with all the amenities you’ve come to expect from Ritz Carlton, such as elegant rooms, high-end linens and great food options. If you’re there with a loved one, be sure to indulge in the serene Boutique Spa, which includes one of the area’s few couples massage rooms.

Read more on Washington, DC:
Five Free Things to Do in Washington, DC
Easy Weekend Escapes: Resorts Near Boston, Miami, New York City, Toronto and DC

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