This past week I had the pleasure of getting “stuck” at the Ritz-Carlton. You may think I’m saying this as a joke, but I was actually stuck there because of Hurricane Sandy. What a place to weather the storm, right? While my friends in New York were stocking up on batteries, flashlights and water, I was being served wine, cheese and lobster salad on endive. A business meeting in D.C. prompted a last-minute vacation. I figured, the meeting is on a Friday I might as well stick around for the weekend! And stick around I did…until Wednesday (I was supposed to leave Monday) when I could get a bus back to NYC (home-sweet-home). I can tell you firsthand that there is nowhere better to be “stuck” during a natural disaster than a Ritz-Carlton. The service of this award winning hotel got its guests through Hurricane Sandy worry-free. I was truly so impressed by friendly, warm and reassuring staffers that it truly made me realize the difference between staying at a Ritz-Carlton and anywhere else.

The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C., delivers true luxury: exceptional service, immaculate and comfortable rooms, a restaurant from Michelin-starred, acclaimed Chef, Eric Ripert (Westend Bistro) and renowned gym (Sports Club/LA). Located in Foggy Bottom, roughly a ten minute walk from Georgetown and Dupont Circle, a fifteen minute walk from The White House and a twenty minute walk from the National Mall, the hotel is surrounded by high-end restaurants like Blue Duck Tavern and other Five-Star hotels.

This hotel is definitely one of the finest in the city and perhaps the world, receiving the AAA Five Diamond Award each year since its opening. While even standard rooms here aren’t cheap (starting at about $700/night)  if you’ve got the cash, The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. offers another level of excellence through the Ritz-Carlton Club.

For those guests who are looking for an extra level of privacy and privilege (moi of course), you can indulge in this exclusive club, accessible only by elevator key. It boasts a private lounge where its members can relax in a comfortable living room complete with fireplace and peaceful music.

Access to the Ritz-Carlton Club includes complimentary Internet use and admittance to Sports Club/LA (which is otherwise an extra charge). Complimentary gourmet cuisine is served throughout the day for members so you will be happy that you are able to squeeze in a good workout.  The food presentations are beyond impressive and put traditional hotel food compliments to shame. Breakfast not only includes all your favorite continental breakfast staples like coffee and bagels but also fresh fruit, oatmeal, smoked salmon, bacon, eggs and all the fix-ins. Lunch typically consists of a salad bar and fancy finger sandwiches. Of course there is a traditional happy-hour, which boasts a full-bar, a great wine selection and light snacks that range from lamb-chops to cheese puffs. Perhaps the most extravagant of all though are the desserts served each evening alongside after-dinner cordials. Cheesecake lollipops, homemade candies and fondue accompanied by strawberries and Madelines are the type of decadence you can expect.

The service though is what truly makes this hotel standout. With staff that are always ready to serve, you will never go for want here. In the Ritz-Carlton Club they go so far as to remember guests by name and go out of their way to make sure you have anything you may need, be it a freshly made cappuccino with extra foam or blue-cheese stuffed olives for your dirty martini—at no extra charge. (One night I mentioned my taste for them and out they came! Made on the spot, just for me! For a price, you can even have a butler draw you a bath. Ooh la la, right?

The niceties offered to Club members are of course in addition to complimentary amenities like cookies, coffee, tea and cider, in the lobby for all guests throughout the day as well as free newspapers each morning. You can also leave your shoes out to get a free shoeshine before bedtime and they’ll be back before you wake up! One of my personal fave touches were the freshly baked cookies served nightly in the lobby. It was a bake-off between Michelle Obama and Ms. Romney’s favorite cookie recipes. The first to go was declared the winner of the night! Dead heat tonight as you can see!

The rooms here are comfortable and clean. Very clean. Which is very important to me. The second I lay my eyes on one thing that’s shady, that’s it! The rooms were recently renovated and you will be happy, no worn out furniture or rubbed edges on a desk. Everything is top-notch.

During Hurricane Sandy, the service just could not have been more impressive. We received updates about the storm under our doors, we were distributed glow sticks in case of emergency, the hotel served extra special snacks and offered Hurricane-themed cocktails to cheer us up. I truly felt lucky that I wasn’t home during the Hurricane but instead was with my new family (and look at the nightly dessert)!

You will not only feel at home here but you will feel like you are truly in the lap of luxury. The thoughtful touches that the property provides of are what makes this Ritz-Carlton so special. You can sample a different president’s favorite candy each night in the lobby or enjoy a seasonally-themed cocktail in the Lobby Lounge. And be sure to check your pillow for one of Lincoln’s sweet treats each night before bed.

I highly recommend this hotel! Travelingpanties approved! This hotel is truly a five-star hotel in every sense of the word. I will say this, this place is expensive so be ready to shell out. I do think though that if you’re willing to spend, you won’t be disappointed. I do think the Ritz-Carlton Club is really special and definitely worth your money if you will have breakfast and drinks at the hotel before you start your day/evening. It is also probably worth it if you’re going to pay for gym access and internet use anyway. Might as well get some free drinks, right?

For more information about the Ritz-Carlton Washington DC check out their website!

*I received a special rate for the original duration of my trip but paid for the extra nights I was unexpectedly stranded because of Hurricane Sandy*



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