Last week I boarded an Amtrak train and headed down to Washington, D.C. for NEWH’s first Sustainable Tradeshow and Forum held at the Capital Hilton. In addition to hearing inspiring speakers such as Judith Heerwagen, Penny Bonda, and Donald Griner discuss a more eco-friendly future, other highlights included lunch at Fabio Trabocchi’s elegant Fiola, dinner at Top Chef Mike Isabella’s wildly popular Graffiato (still swooning over those pancetta laced crispy Brussels sprouts), and a cozy night at the luxurious Jefferson Hotel (www.jeffersondc.com).
Two years ago, this Relais & Chateaux property, first built as a posh apartment building by Jules de Sibour in 1923, was tastefully overhauled by ForrestPerkins. Everywhere I turned in this Beaux Arts beauty the dual influences of Monticello and Paris were evident. The lobby, flaunting a recently unearthed skylight, is a stunning first impression what with its black and white marble floor, Thomas Jefferson bust, and wrought-iron screen. The 99 rooms and suites upstairs are just as classy, awash in hushed tones accented by the likes of soft green splashes, a velvet settee, and a modern TV-embedded mirror in the bathroom. The bed, featuring silky Porthault sheets and an abundance of pillows, was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in, while a glass bottle of purified water left on my nightstand at turndown not only was a refreshing alternative to the familiar $7 Evian encountered at hotels, but captures the Jefferson’s appreciation for meticulous detail.
However, it was the rich atmosphere of the public spaces that seduced me most. I expected a well-heeled diplomat to plop down beside me as I sipped a Sidecar at the illuminated glass bar at dark, inviting Quill, or wrote in my notebook in front of the fireplace in the historic tome-lined Book Room.
As I ventured to Union Station to return to New York, it wistfully felt like I was leaving home.