by Steve Jermanok
Ever since the Four Seasons opened in Washington, D.C., in 1979, the red brick structure has been an urban oasis for luxury travelers to the city. Whether you’re Head of State or head of a family, you’ll quickly realize that the comforts of the Four Seasons make for an ideal retreat after a day of business or sightseeing. It doesn’t hurt that the property sits at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and M Street at the edge of Georgetown. Many of DC’s finest restaurants and shops are a short walk away, along with strolls along the harbor and the C&O Towpath right outside the hotel’s door. Sights on the Mall, like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, are a short taxi ride from the hotel.
Walk inside the Four Seasons and you feel like you’re entering the living room of a stylishly designed trophy house. Sofas line the lounge area and art graces the walls. Indeed, the hotel owns more than 2,000 works of contemporary art, from prints by Andy Warhol to a painting by Helen Frankenthaler behind the front desk, and they liberally place the wares on walls throughout the building to add a touch of whimsy. For the Presidential inauguration in 2009, the Four Seasons underwent a $40 million renovation that updated the rooms and unveiled a Michael Mina Bourbon Steak restaurant.
Outside Bourbon Steak is a patio that separates the rooms of the East and West wings of the property. In the warmer months, dinner and drinks are served on the patio, often accompanied by live music. A highlight for children, especially after walking the Mall all day, is the swimming pool located in the three-tier health club and spa. A highlight for their parents is a massage in one of the treatment rooms.
Our Editor Loves
- Indoor pool
- Bourbon Steak Restaurant
- Upscale rooms with DVD players
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The East and West Wings house 222 rooms, including 59 suites. Complimentary Wi-Fi for up to two devices can be found in all the rooms.
The spacious guestrooms contain a king or two double beds and a sleeper sofa and a large flat-screen television and DVD player. The closets have a good amount of space, with a mini-bar, ironing board, and hairdryer. The bathroom is oversized with dual sinks, a sunken tub, and separate shower.
Upgrade to the one-bedroom Georgetown Suite and you'll receive a separate sitting area and couch in the master bedroom. The Capital Suite has a second bedroom and bathroom, ideal for older children.
Although it was packed for graduation week the stuff were incredible. Helpful and impeccable service. They would remember what we drink for breakfast. Nice friendly. Had a wonderful stay. Breakfast a bit slow but if you mention you are in a hurry food will come sooner.
Great location...friendly staff...crazy expensive compared to other coparable 5 star luxury hotels in DC. When an in-room breakfaxt for 2 people costs over $100; when 2 glasses of average wine cost $70.00; and when your nightly room charge for an average room exceeds $1,200 per night .... That is EXPENSIVE in my book. Nevertheless the staff and service were all excellent. Also be sure to check your reservation. I booked 2 months prior for Washington, DC and was booked by mistake into the Four Seasons in Seattle. I discovered this mistake 2 days before my trip and was fortunate that they had a room for us in DC. Perhaps that is why I was paying the full Rack Rate.
As soon as the kids arrive, they're treated like special guests, immediately handed a large chocolate chip cookie. Inside your room, pint-sized bathrobes are waiting along with rubber duckies and bath bubbles to play with in the tub (but remember to share with the kids). Depending on the age of your children, a concierge will arrive with coloring books, board games and appropriate videos.
Home to the Air and Space Museum, the National Zoo, and The White House, Washington deserves the kudos it receives as one of America's top getaways for families. Even more so when you realize that all of the museums and memorials are free. Take a short taxi to the heart of the Mall and get a good map that pinpoints all the historic buildings.
When you return to the Four Seasons, take that well-earned dip in the pool. Forget your goggles? No worries. The spa front desk has everything you need. The indoor, spa pool is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch are served at Seasons, the hotel's more casual restaurant, which also offers indoor and outdoor seating. Yogurt parfaits with fresh fruits, eggs any style, and bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese are some of the breakfast options. A kids' menu offers pancakes, French toast, eggs and fresh fruit. Sunday brunch in the winter months at Seasons is a feast, featuring Maryland crab cakes, prime rib, rack of lamb, cedar plank salmon, a seafood station with oysters on the half shell and lobster rolls, and a separate room overflowing with more than 35 desserts. Lunch items at Seasons include Greek salads, Maryland Crab Cake sandwiches, and Reuben sandwiches.
Upstairs, Bourbon Steak also offers lunch. Start with the addictive duckfat French fries and then move on to the lobster corn dogs or grilled Virginia swordfish. A kids' menu offers such standards as mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and fish and chips. For dinner, try one of the oak-fired steaks like the prime rib or flank steak. One bite into the arctic char or Floridian cobia and you'll realize that this steakhouse also knows its way around fish. Wash it down with one of the fresh-squeezed fruit drinks.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
This being the Four Seasons, expect the service to be impeccable. Don't worry if you left something at home, be it a toothbrush or a swimsuit. They'll find you one. On spring and fall nights, when there is still a chill in the air, the hotel will light up the fire pits on the patio outside Bourbon Steak. It's a great place to lounge with the family before or after heading out to dinner.
The fitness center, with its top-of-the-line cardiovascular equipment, aerobics and yoga sessions, and saltwater lap pool could rival any inner-city gym. Finish off a workout by relaxing in the eucalyptus-scented steam room.
Complimentary Wi-Fi for up to two devices can be found in all the rooms.
Babysitting services are available.
The Art of Smart Timing
A popular time to visit D.C. is in April, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Expect to find a slew of families at the property during this time. May and June are also good months to visit D.C., when the heat of the summer hasn't yet reached its oppressive peak. Of course, the Fourth of July is the party of all parties in this city, culminating with the fireworks over the Mall. Winter months tend to be the best times to visit the museums and memorials without crowds of school buses, but don't expect any huge reduction in the cost of rooms. The city attracts leisure and business travelers year round.
Dulles International Airport is about 45 minutes away from the hotel. Ronald Regan Washington National Airport is about 15 minutes and Baltimore/Washington International Airport is about an hour and 15 minutes away.
Complimentary strollers are available to guests. Families will find it convenient to walk or take a taxi.
For Mom and Dad
Babysitting is available at the hotel, so take advantage of this opportunity to head down to the spa and grab a couple's massage or facial. A quiet booth for two at Bourbon Steak also sounds appealing.