Last Sunday we were finally able to visit Washington, DC. I had made reservations to José Andres’s Jaleo. We left the New York Metro Area around 6:30 am and were able to park near the restaurant with 2 minutes to spare!
We had some concerns about the size of the tapas, however, we were more than satisfied with the taste and portions of everything we tried. Sergio, our waiter was amazing. He took great care of us and all his recommendations were on point.
After a wonderful brunch, we decided to head to our hotel, the JW Marriott a short walk from the White House. We could not find parking and decided to stop driving around and pay $59 for overnight valet parking. While this was a pricey choice, it was very convenient since we only had a day in the city. We were able to check-in early, actually, I had requested an early check-in from the car using Marriott’s app. A representative wrote back quickly, letting us know that the room would be ready.
We were given a corner room with views of the Washington Monument and the White House area. The trees so rounding the White House prevented us from viewing it.
View from our hotel room
The room was elegant and clean. We had stayed an another JW a few weeks ago and loved it. The desk person told us that the DC JW was the first ever. First or not, the hotel did not disappoint. The hotel lounge closes after breakfast on Fridays and opens Sundays at 5 pm. We were curious to see how this lounge compared to the one we had visited in Bogota, so we went by after checking out the White House, the Washington Monument, and the National Gallery.
For a hotel this size (772 rooms) we found that the lounge while nice was rather small. They had some snacks, great coffee, and tea. The lounge at the other JW felt like a full fleshed restaurant and bar in comparison.
View from the JW Marriott Executive Lounge
We feel DC is underrated, just as the National Gallery is underrated when compared with other attractions. For instance, we walked right in at 5 pm while there were at least half a dozen buses and a seemingly endless line to enter the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
We then headed to the US Capital to take a few pictures and then took a ride-sharing service to go back to the hotel. We went to check out the pool, which we thought could be bigger for a hotel this size.
When we finally got hungry again, we went for pizza at “_______ & Pizza” which was a couple of blocks from the hotel.
This pizza place was a rather pleasant surprise. We all found our pizza creations to be delicious.
Then it was time to get some sleep. The JW beds were very comfortable and we all slept like bears.
We were hesitant to go to the lounge for breakfast, however, we decided to just check it out. To our surprise, there was a line to enter the lounge. According to everyone in line, this was a first. None of us had ever seen a line to enter any hotel lounge! The staff worked swiftly to ensure we all got inside as soon as possible. The offering this morning was better than expected, we got a “continental plus” breakfast of sorts because they had scrambled eggs and lots of bacon. Although the place was packed, the staff kept the food coming!
After breakfast, we headed to the Air and Space Museum which we all loved. For anyone interested in aviation or space this place is heaven. We tried to enjoy everything we could in a couple of hours then we did the VR experience and watched Journey to the Stars at the Albert Einstein Planetarium. Our plan was to leave Washington by 2 pm. I had requested 3 pm check-out, but the traffic on the way back to the hotel forced me to contact the JW via phone to push the checkout to 3 pm. The staff informed me that 3 pm would not be an issue, but that we would need to reset the cards at our return, which would take 10 seconds.
Deconstructing our choices
Choosing where to eat Jaleo was recommended to us by a credit card concierge and it also made the list of several trusted sources including Yelp and TripAdvisor. There is no shortage of great places to eat in DC. We also considered Blue Duck, BlackSalt, Occidental Grill and Seafood, and Charlie Palmer’s Steak. Blue Duck is at the top of the list for our next D.C. journey which can’t come soon enough.
Choosing a hotel
Our top hotel choices were the Park Hyatt, Kimpton George, and the JW Marriott. We don’t think any would have been a bad choice. We could have gotten the Park Hyatt for free, however, we had other plans for our World of Hyatt points. The Kimpton George’s price was very competitive, however, we ended up using 24,500 Marriott points and $161 for a wonderful stay in DC. Our great experience at another JW, the magnificent location combined with the fact that 24,500 Marriott points are less useful for our immediate plans made us go with the JW.
Overall this was an amazing trip. We would go back to the JW, Jaleo and “_______ & Pizza” without any hesitation, however, it is likely that the next time will stay at the Kimpton George and eat at the Blue Duck.