Home

You know that quandry where you’re just below the threshold for Inner Circle status by one night? That. Somehow it happens every year.

Why leave this?

Why leave this?

Fortunately, NPS can always make the best of it by visiting Steph Vogel and finding out what he is up to. A little backstory, Steph has run a number of DC-area Kimpton properties, lifting them every time up into excellence: the Palomar, the George, and the Donovan. Now it’s time for the Lorien.

The Lorien’s main problem is competition from the very fabulous Hotel Monaco just down the street (and much closer to the water). The Monaco seems to have sucked up all of the great design resources, leaving the Lorien marooned in the dreamscape ’90s. That is all starting to change now that Steph is in charge.

For example, the bar and restaurant are already going places. Once a scary exclusively white tablecloth space is now a bar buzzing with life and engaged with the street (not to mention soaked in cocktail excellence). Phil Clark runs a very nice bar.

The Lorien bar program is top notch

The Lorien bar program is top notch

Get those drinks right!  Attention detail, you are now on call.

Get those drinks right! Attention detail, you are now on call.

Just take a look at the glassware. This is top shelf.

Liberty Punch

Liberty Punch

Bourbon Crusta

Bourbon Crusta

The amenity deposited for NPS in 619 highlighted both the bar and the kitchen to great effect. Just gorgeous, very welcoming, and kind.

Fancy a sweet?

Fancy a sweet?

How to make a Liberty Punch: Some Assembly Required

How to make a Liberty Punch: Some Assembly Required

Watching the rooms transform from their current stark, almost bland design to something better will be fun. NPS money says that in six months this property will be the hottest ticket in town.

619 Bedroom

619 Bedroom

Stark

Stark

The shower, we are happy to report, is glass shower excellence (and huge). NPS could shoot a movie in there!

Enter the glass door for showering

Enter the glass door for showering

NPS approved shower

NPS approved shower

And off the bedroom and sitting room both, is a balcony overlooking Alexandria. Can’t wait to come back and see what that is like in the summer.

View from balcony of 619

View from balcony of 619

Our visit was punctuated by a drink with Phil and Steph at the bar. And then it was off to the always fabulous Restaurant Eve for dinner. Eve did not disappoint. The five course tasting meal was absolutely delicious and worth every penny (that’s lots of pennies for those counting). Three hours of laughter, great flavors, and fun was just what the doctor ordered after this year.

We returned for a nightcap of Liberty Punch.

Four showerheads and massive velocity towards five for the Lorien. Let the transformation begin.

Great food. Great drinks. Great hospitality. 2016, we bid you adieu.

The Carlyle in DC

November 23, 2015

We’re back at a Kimpton, and you know how you can tell? Warm greetings by super friendly front desk staff on a cold day, an amenity that includes a cocktail and some charcuterie, and personal notes. All is well in Karma-land. (It does help to have Steph pulling strings and Thomas Fraher on the case.)

Amenity with a manhatten from the Riggsby

Amenity with a manhatten from the Riggsby

We were psyched to try the Carlyle, one of the newest additions to the Kimpton in DC family. DC is a big city and the Kimpton properties reflect that from the upscale George and Palomar, to the more modest Donovan and Carlyle with the quirky Helix somewhere in between. The Carlyle has the added benefit of being close to Dupont Circle.

We’re way spoiled, so you know which end of the food chain we like. But we also like trying new things! We especially like to try new things when we’re one smidgen from our inner circle status. The plan is for this visit to eek us over the finish line.

722

722

We’re in room 722 which is one of the King rooms with a hilarious little kitchenette. We won’t be boiling any hot dogs this trip, but you never know. DC has a fine restaurant scene these days.

Will we be cooking in DC?  Hells no.

Will we be cooking in DC? Hells no.

722 desk and glass door to the bathroom

722 desk and glass door to the bathroom

Lil blue couch

Lil blue couch

Open the bathroom door

Open the bathroom door

The diminutive bathroom has a glass shower, so that's good

The diminutive bathroom has a glass shower, so that’s good

Anyway, this is a nice little pod for a quick business trip into the city. For a weekend away, I would move up the Kimpton foodchain to something more fancy pants.

Speaking of food, Fiola Mare on the Potomac less than two miles from the Carlyle is very good indeed. Italian seafood with excellent old school cuisine and a great atmosphere. Our table with a view was very nice indeed as was the Napolitano waiter. Salute!

We started and ended the evening at the Riggsby. Devilled eggs and jalapeño tots with a Vieux Carré were a perfect beginning. Returning after dinner we had some hot tea and a Fernet or two.

All around, an excellent evening. Now if only that overzealous housekeeper did not try to clean the room at 9am!

We rate the Carlyle four out of five showerheads. Above average and well worth a visit.