Stepping into the Sofitel from the rain soaked streets of Washington DC was a lovely experience. The hotel lobby was lit in a warm glow and the door staff gave me an equally warm welcome. For a European visiting the US capital it was slightly disconcerting hearing the reception staff greet me with ‘bonjour, ça va?’ but before I was able to respond in my um… rusty… French I was quickly checked in and escorted up to my luxury king room.
The hotel definitely feels like a little part of Paris in the heart of DC and I immediately felt at home. I loved the elegant touches and although the Sofitel is a chain it certainly feels more like a boutique hotel. The decor is a mixture of luxury French style and classic 1920s art deco all of which make for a very cosmopolitan atmosphere.
As it was pouring with rain outside I decided to spend some quality time in the bedroom with my new friends, the king size bed and the perfectly positioned wide screen TV. After a few hours of mindless TV and napping (what can I say the duvet was just too inviting to ignore) I decided I wasn’t being very Parisian so I made my way to the bathroom where I took thorough advantage of the marble bath and a large glass of vin rouge.
Now I don’t normally talk about my bathroom habits but it was at this point that I started to realise the Sofitel has some truly nice touches. The habit I am about to refer to is blowdrying my hair. Normally when staying in a hotel I am locked in the bathroom trying desperately to dry my hair with a hairdryer that is cemented to the wall, blows out tepid air and will turn off immediately if I remove my tired thumb from its on/off switch. As you can imagine I was delighted that the Sofitel allows its guests to have free reign with a hairdryer. I sat at the desk and dried my hair while looking in the nicely placed mirror. Oh I am easily pleased but it was lovely!
The little touches didn’t end there. The bathroom had a fog proof mirror with excellent lighting and a separate magnifying mirror for make-up application. There was a plug adaptor in the room, Bose speaker for the iPhone and the curtains really do close you off from the rest of the world. It seems like the hotel has given quite some thought to the female traveller which always makes a nice difference.
After a fun night out in Georgetown I returned to find the bar area nicely busy with guests and local office workers. The drinks list is impressive and the atmosphere inviting although not as inviting as the king size bed!
The following morning the clouds had cleared enough for me to don my running shoes and take myself out for a run around the city. There is a well-equipped fitness centre for those that do not want to brave the elements. I’m always a bit self conscious walking around a beautiful hotel in my work out clothes so I scurried out of the door hoping I wasn’t noticed. However on my return to the Sofitel the eagle-eyed door man presented me with a bottle of water and a towel. That is what I call service!
The impeccable service continued at breakfast which was made to order. My eggs Benedict came with a very very strong coffee and as you can imagine the most perfect pastries. The restaurant is a great place to hold an early morning business meeting, which appears to be very popular in Washington DC.
During my stay in the Sofitel I noticed quite a few events taking place. Considering it was early January and Congress were not yet back in session the meeting space was very popular – always a good sign! The conference rooms are just off the lobby and quite separate from the rest of the hotel with its own dedicated entrance. I had a chance to look at the main space which holds 200 guests. It is on the ground floor so there is lots of natural daylight and the room is elegantly decorated. The location of the hotel is in the heart of downtown DC and makes a great choice for meetings and events.
I was in a slight rush when checking out of the hotel so was dismayed when I got to the reception area to find only one member of staff who was tied up serving another guest. After waiting a good ten minutes I had to leave my key card and dash out the door for a taxi. It would have been nice to finish my visit with the same level of service I had encountered at the start but this did not tarnish my view of the hotel. I will certainly stay in a Sofitel again so for now I will say ‘see you soon’ rather than ‘goodbye’. I think there is a French saying that is much more eloquent…
Why book the Sofitel for your boss? For a female business traveller this hotel is perfect. For everyone else it is in a great location, has fantastic staff, a lovely bar area and relaxing bedrooms.
The Sofitel: 806 15th Street NW WASHINGTON DC
Practically Perfect PA received complimentary accommodation at the Sofitel. Opinions are entirely our own. Advertised minimum rate per night $288 (January 2014).