Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown
1050 31st St NW; 1-855-922-7355, 202-617-2400; capellawashingtondc.com; 49 rooms from $695 (U.S.).
There may be no shortage of posh accommodations in Washington's tony Georgetown neighbourhood, but with the recent opening of the Capella Washington, the stakes have been raised.
The first North American property of the superluxury Capella hotel management company, the compact, side-street hotel displays a quiet elegance from the moment of arrival.
Guests are greeted by name before being ushered through an understated living room to complete their check-in. From there, things only get better.
While rooms, at a minimum 400 square feet, are as spacious as they are well-appointed, the No. 1 selling point of the Capella is the level of service offered. It begins with the personal assistant who contacts you a week or two in advance of your stay to inquire as to any needs or desires you might have, and to organize a complimentary airport pick-up. Once arrived, staff make it their business to keep guests content. No matter the request, from securing my last-minute Thursday-night dinner reservation to the hotel's relationship with the Washington Ballet (making it possible to land a walk-on role, something I passed on), the Capella has the people to make it happen, usually at cost or gratis.
Georgetown is no doubt the chicest part of the U.S. capital, but it is far from conveniently located. You'll be steps from the shops of M Street and Washington Harbour, but almost anything else will necessitate a car, taxi or 15 minute walk to the Metro.
IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING
The bedside remote panel that controls lighting and the drapes is a nice touch, but any setting other than fully on shuts down power to the desk-side electrical outlets. That's irritating when you want your phone, tablet or computer to charge overnight – a lesson I learned the hard way.
WHOM YOU'LL MEET
Given the hotel's low-key exclusivity and over-the-top service, expect to share the lobby lounge with well-heeled travellers who prize the creature comforts and little (or big) extras a high-end hotel can offer.
EAT IN OR EAT OUT?
Normally, a sure sign that a hotel restaurant should be avoided at night is when it offers three services a day. Not so for the Grill Room, the Capella's lone dining room. Although it doesn't have a celebrity chef attached to it, the dinner menu offers a deftly executed mix of old school and new, juxtaposing a table-side preparation of steak tartare with a remarkable West Virginia ham soup that is as much savoury aspic as it is delicious soup. Afternoon, pre-dinner or late-night drinks are served in the Rye Bar, which offers a spirits selection rather predictably heavy on American straight rye whiskies, plus a well-curated menu of wines, beers and cocktails.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.