Beneath the shadow of the nation’s Capitol and among the bustling sidewalks, brick clad, and marble landmarks of Washington DC‘s Capitol Hill neighborhood, sits a lively and iconic tourist hub that has welcomed the District’s sightseers for decades.
The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel at 415 New Jersey Ave NW – one of the city’s most distinctive boutique hotels – boasts 343 rooms throughout it’s 10 floors of high class hospitality. Just minutes away from the city’s most historic, cultural, and political hot spots (The U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, Newsuem, National Gallery of Art, U.S. Botanical Garden, and the infamous transportation hub, Union Station) this destination of sophistication offers spectacular views of one of the most prestigious zip codes in the country. Politico’s, business phonemes, and party goers alike rub elbows at this prestigious power hub that offers 17,000 feet of flexible meeting space.
A brand of Joie de Vivre, the hotel’s interior boasts a series of modern yet rustic decor both in the common areas and within its flagship southern restaurant, Art and Soul (which we will cover later on), adjacent to the first floor lobby. Upon entering, each guest is greeted at the revolving door with a warm smile and a firm handshake. And don’t worry – your beloved kitties and pooches are welcome to accompany you for a small fee at time of check-in.
Each boutique room is adorned with furniture rich in neutral colors to create a relaxing and welcoming environment almost immediately, as seen from the below photos. A giant HDTV flat-screen, complimentary Wi-Fi, iPod docking station, and multiple electrical outlets (next to the bed which is a bonus for those glued to their phones) are included for the tech-savvy traveler, and an instant coffee machine, oversized work desk, and plush bedding are conveniently accessible for the workaholics.
An additional amenity that should not go unmentioned is the giant terry cloth robe hanging in the bathroom closet, which we absolutely took advantage of during our stay! (Pro Tip #1 – while there may only be one robe hanging in each closet, guests can kindly call down to the front desk and request one for each additional guest in their room at no extra charge. They will be delivered in no time).
After lounging in our fluffy robes while snacking on a fruit plate and artisanal cheese board (which included five different kinds of seasonal cheeses with jams and assorted breads and crackers) compliments of The Liaison, we decided to venture out of our tranquil sanctuary to experience the rest of what this had to offer.
While many elements such as design and decor set this hotel giant apart from the rest, The Liaison is best known for its hospitable staff and the largest rooftop pool in the entire city.
Open daily Memorial Day through September 30th, pool guests can order stout cocktails and snacks from the full service open-air bar (the only one in DC!), reserve a cabana to catch some rooftop rays (how cute are they?!), swim laps to round out their daily exercise routines, or perfect their “Warrior pose” during one of the hotel’s weekday morning yoga sessions. (Pro Tip #2 – pool goers should’t try to bring their giant, inflatable rainbow unicorn, (we have one who may or may not be named Cher), into the pool with them…inflatables aren’t allowed).
While the pool itself closes at 5 p.m. daily, the fun doesn’t stop there! For guests and visitors 21 years and older, the rooftop happy hour boasts sensibly-priced specials from 5-7 p.m. on weekdays, as food is served from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily. On weekends, The Liaison is known to host an array of evening musical and artistic talent on the rooftop, which provides a unique experience for guests without leaving the comfort of the hotel’s property.
After a full afternoon of sunning and sipping on Lavender Lemonade while curled up on a cabana, we decided to venture back to our room to change for our dinner reservation at Art And Soul.
A restaurant that prides itself on it’s southern roots, Chefs Art Smith and Douglas Alexander comprehensively bring impressive experience to this favored farm-to-table eatery that provides diners stunning views of the Capitol dome from the outdoor patio.
A former day-to-day Chef for Oprah Winfrey for more than a decade, Chef Smith’s extraordinary talents have landed him several television appearances over the years including ABC’s Lady Gaga Thanksgiving Special, Top Chef, Top Chef Duels, Top Chef Masters, and Extreme Makeovers: Home Edition. These days, you can find him in any one of the numerous kitchens where he serves as Executive Chef and co-owner: Table fifty-two, Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, and LYFE Kitchen restaurants. Chef Smith is also expected to open two additional restaurants this year at the Walt Disney World and Naples Bay Resorts in Florida.
Chef Alexander spent years cooking at Penn Quarter’s Againn and Ashok Bajaj’s 701 after a stint on the West Coast at Southpark Food & Wine Bar and Fivespice Seafood & Wine Bar as sous chef and Executive Chef respectively. In addition to his work at Art And Soul, Chef Alexander is the brains behind Angry Chef Hot Sauce, a – you guessed it – hot sauce company he started in 2014.
Nowadays, these two culinary prodigies can be found whipping up down-home dishes such as the Rabbit Pot Pie and the Fried Amish Chicken (both pictured below), or a slew of other handcrafted dishes available for viewing on their full online menu.
The Rabbit Pot Pie contained fresh english peas, diced carrots, and tenderly shredded rabbit meat soaked in rabbit gravy and wrapped in a pillow of golden-brown, flaky puffed pastry dough. Similar to that of chicken, the rabbit meat was soft and rich in flavor, with the right amount of seasoning to accompany the gravy base. The vegetables were soft yet not too mushy, which is a tough feat to overcome when baking a pot-pie to perfection. The dish was completed with a side of oven roasted carrots and a simple arugula salad with vinaigrette – a light yet fulfilling meal that is perfect for hot summer nights.
As one of the top premier southern entree’s in the city, the Art and Soul’s “Fried Amish Chicken” was breaded and seasoned to perfection. It definitely gave our Mom’s homemade fried chicken a run for it’s money! Served with a heaping side of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes and collard greens (being honest, any fried chicken served without a side of creamy buttered mashed potatoes or collard greens should be considered blasphemy according to these two Kentucky natives). We highly suggest putting the mashed potatoes on top of the fried chicken if you want a truly savory experience. To put it lightly, any time we’re missing our Mom’s classic fried chicken, you’ll find us (posted up at the A&S)!
No meal is complete without a proper dessert, and Art and Soul did not disappoint. As part of their seasonal menu, we enjoyed a gigantic slice of salted caramel brownie cheesecake. While the overall texture of this dreamy and decadent dish is rich and flavorful, we should warn readers foods with very prevalent salty tastes are not your thing, you should probably go with another option on the menu (such as the Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée with caramelized sugar crust, Art and Soul’s Signature Baby Cakes, or a flavor of one of their assorted icecreams or sorbets) of which all are perfect summer sweets.
Non-guests of the hotel can dine at Art and Soul during any of their hours of operation, which include 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday’s; 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch Monday through Friday; 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner Monday through Saturday, and 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for dinner on Sunday.
With our bellies bursting to the brim, we decided to take advantage of Liaison’s luxuriously plush bedding and retire to our rooms early to fully experience a truly relaxing D.C. staycation.
We plugged in our iPhones, turned on some tunes (Nicki Minaj to be exact) and decided to catch up on some long overdue blog business. Before turning in for the night, we happened to catch sight of a menu on the giant desk next to the television. Breakfast in bed? Room service?? Genius. (We were in a hotel after all).
The beautiful perk about Liaison’s room service amenity, is that guests can place their order ahead of time (as late as 2 a.m.) for delivery as early as 6 a.m. While we knew any delivery before of 8 a.m. was a bit too aggressive, we decided to hang our order on the door knob with the option of a wake up call to ensure we didn’t miss our grub (again, their hospitable staff is legit).
Soon enough, we awoke to the glorious smell of fluffy scrambled eggs, a plate of crisp strips of bacon and lightly salted new potatoes, a jar of freshly squeezed orange juice, and a plate of sweetly ripened fruit. In true food blogger fashion, we considered it only natural to stage our own photo shoot:
For guests that aren’t particularly fond of mornings or trekking outside of the hotel in search for food, the breakfast-in-bed option is fail proof. The food is delivered on time (if not early), is piping hot, and is enough to share with another person while still curbing that pesky early morning hunger.
After breakfast, we decided to go scope out the cabanas to catch some early morning rays and start brainstorming ideas for our next adventure It is perfectly acceptable to have constant wanderlust, right?
If a trip to the nation’s capitol isn’t in the cards just yet, the comfort and relaxation of a stunning Joie de Vivre boutique hotel can be found at multiple tourist destinations around the country including California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, and New York. Featuring spas, unique dining experiences, and breathtaking views of city skylines and natural landscapes, a Joie de Vivre experience is sure to accommodate visitors of all ages with varying levels of travel experience.
To book your next adventure, staycation, or work travels at The Liaison Hotel Capitol Hill, or any one of Joie de Vivre’s locations, visit http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/. Don’t forget to tell them the East Coast Contessas sent you.