ESCAPE LONDON & VISIT AMERICA – 24 Hours in Washington DC

You don’t have to be a politician to enjoy a trip to the nation’s capital, Washington, but do expect to see as many aspiring congressionalists on your travels, as wannabe starlets in LA, buzzing around the imposing architecture, giving the city a unique feel of heritage and happening. Perfect for a short visit, here’s a great way to spend a day in DC.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 07.52.16Mandarin Oriental

With a landscape of equally grand buildings and parkland akin to London UK, begin your day as many locals do, with a jog around the city’s key cultural icons. A six-mile flat loop will take you along the National Mall from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, past the Washington Memorial to the Capitol, weaving past various Smithsonian buildings as you run, with plenty of photo opportunities.

ChefNilesh Bombay Club Chef Nilesh

Appetite sufficiently worked up (and showered for sure – DC is quite smart) head to breakfast at the historic Old Ebbitt Grill, a Victorian-style mahogany-rich tavern, where simple breakfast classics include a must-have Corned-Beef hash, served in velvet booths, opposite the White House lawn. Or for something more upscale, you can’t beat the Signature Crab Cakes and Poached Eggs at Juniper’s fresh elegant dining room at the Fairmont, where locally sourced ingredients are the focus.

IMG_5981Hay Adams

A tour around the White House is definitely a highlight, and can be done with advance notice by requesting at their official website, in the morning only, and offer photo opportunities such as the Blue Room and State Dining Room.

Continue the refined elegance nearby with a multi-course Thali lunch of classic Indian cuisine at The Bombay Club, replete with old-world service and live piano music – a delicious way to reward your palate, before feasting your eyes on intriguing and visually-impressive modern art at the Renwick Gallery, or marveling at the science and progression of flight and space exploration at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum where entry is free and artifacts are aplenty.

If the weather is fair, treat yourself to happy hour at one of the alfresco bars at Georgetown Waterfront, where the spirits are high and people watching is essential. Or hang with the locals at unanimous favorite Barcelona Wine Bar along the trendy 14th Street Corridor. From here, its a stone’s throw to a rustic and impeccable Italian feast in cozy-yet-sophisticated Lupo Verde, where inventive dishes include a famed squid ink ‘scialatielli’ in this ambient bare-brick converted townhouse, perfect proximity for some after-dinner jazz in the area, before the obligatory Ben’s Chilli Bowl Half-Smoke Dog to end your night.

basketLupo Verde

You could also opt for hand-crafted cocktails and casual conversation at Quadrant, the Ritz Carlton’s sleek european-flavored bar before dining on excellent Chesapeake-French fusion creations at West End Bistro, before retiring into one of DC’s many well-appointed, fit-for-a-president hotels. Choose the Mandarin Oriental for understated business class, with warm tones and thoughtful asian-influenced service; or the Hay Adams, classic regal elegance, with a boutique feel and unrivaled location overlooking the White House; or The Fairmont who’s bright, airy and sophisticated decor is complemented by a beautiful courtyard that explodes with color during cherry blossom season, and their recently refurbished oversized rooms offer that home-from-home feel with all modern amenities, and a contemporary appealing decor, accented with local and historical artwork. This sanctuary will definitely get your vote, to relax and recuperate after your busy DC day.

Darren Darnborough


(Thanks to Bombay Club, Juniper, Lupo Verde, Quadrant, West End Bistro, Mandarin Oriental, Hay Adams and Fairmont for providing experiences)