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When Kimpton does it right, it knocks it out of the park. A quick visit to DC to see the astoundingly great Eighth Blackbird at the Kennedy Center was a perfect time to cash in a free reward night at the Palomar in DC. What a treat. More about the performance on apothecaryshed.

Not only were we greeted by the front desk staff and the valet guys who recognized us, we were upgraded to a killer room: 1024.

The new look in 1024 is bright and spacious. Excellent design.

1024 sitting room

1024 sitting room

And yes, there was sparkling water.

We had a cocktail and some oysters with our friend Steph Vogel who ran this hotel for a few years. Steph specializes in lifting a property to its potential, and his touch can still be seen here at the Palomar.

1024 lounge

1024 lounge

The window treatments are SO much better!

Natural light on a bright spring-like day

Natural light on a bright spring-like day

1024 bedroom

1024 bedroom

What geometry

What geometry

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And yes, the bathroom is huge, with a great glass cube.

The NPS fantasy shower

The NPS fantasy shower

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A private reception at A Bar + Kitchen after the performance was very nice. Meeting the members of Eighth Blackbird was the highlight of course! The mac and cheese was also delish.

Bartender Alexandria Bianco mixed a mean cocktail or two, including the Potomac Bourbon
1.5 Bourbon
.75 St Germaine
.5 Lemon
.5 Honey/sage simple syrup
Blend in champagne flute. Top with prosecco.

When it comes to hotels, management makes all the difference. Five plus mega showerheads for the Kimpton DC.

First things first. We left this:

Snow, dogs, cats, and the chicken palace

Snow, dogs, cats, and the chicken palace

For this:

No snow, no dogs, no cats, and no chicken palace

No snow, no dogs, no cats, and no chicken palace

So that was good.

Getting in to DC was going swimmingly until Pennsylvania Avenue was blocked by police just at the wrong time (Whitehurst Freeway doom). Must be a White House thing going on. That debacle cost us 30 minutes and an excruciating crawl through Georgetown. Traffic thereby ate most of the allocated Phillips time.

A quick dash through the Phillips. Bees and Picasso.

Picasso

Picasso

Beekeeper in the bee room

Beekeeper in the bee room

Then time for a tea at Soho Cafe just across the street from the DC Palomar. (The Soho is a great find, way better than the Starbucks next door.) There was even time for the tail end of a particularly crowded Kimpton wine hour. 30-year-olds everywhere.

Checkin was chaotic. I do believe the Palomar is full to the gills for the dregs of Valentines Day. At checkin, the computer had a hell of a time time finding us, mostly since newly minted GM Abe Liao had plussed us up to avoid plastic shower despair. Thanks Abe! You rock. (Steph Vogel has moved on to become GM of George. Time for a visit to the George it seems!)

Because of Abe, we’re back in the Presidential Suite at the DC Palomar. Sweet.

But due to a massive shortage of cheese, the amenity we were told about at checkin (as Kristen spoofed Abe to deliver a “personal” message) was not in the room when we walked in. Eventually it arrived, cheese included, and all was well with the universe. Great hotel on valentines weekend? Chaos! Chaos I say!

Chaos tilted our way. Cheese, sparkling water, and cupcakes. Awesome.

The cheese did it

The cheese did it

Plus the Presidential Suite?! Yay. You should know that we’re here reaping the benefit of staying many nights at various Kimptons all over creation. The Kimpton InTouch program free night thing? Superb. No other hotel chain does it like this. And an quadruple upgrade to boot. As predicted, Kimpton is rocking our little world.

The no-amenity-yet table in 1024.  (Yes, 1024.)

The no-amenity-yet table in 1024. (Yes, 1024.)

NY bag by the bed.

NY bag by the bed.

This shower is NOT plastic. Glass cube goodness.

This shower is NOT plastic. Glass cube goodness.

Dinner tonight was arranged by Larry Kilbourne aka “baker Bob,” executive baker at Le Diplomate. So fun to have friends who include the best baker in North America.

Bread and oysters: le diplomate.

Bread and oysters: le diplomate.

Le Diplomate is excellent. And Baker Bob’s bread is truly out of this world. The only thing we took home in a “doggy bag” was some slices of the gorgeous walnut/cranberry bread.

BTW, their bar is top notch too, though way overcrowded.

A negroni and a tete a tete: le diplomate

A negroni and a tete a tete: le diplomate

Let there be cupcakes!

Cupcakes from Jerry Chou

Cupcakes from Jerry Chou

For a month now, the Chicago Palomar has been leading the “battle of the Palomars.” With their artists suite hack, replete with house made jerky and a truly outstanding bar downstairs, they were looking like a lock. (Not to discount what San Francisco has been up to this year, I just need to get back there!) But Steph Vogel, GM at the DC Palomar has joined the game, and the Presidential Suite certainly doesn’t hurt!

Super friendly checkin. The valet guys remembered the mosquito.

Room 924 is not just a suite in name, with tons of room and stylish decor.

The fruit and cheese welcome package came in very handy as dinner was slated for late. And loyal readers already know how we feel about sparkling water here in noplasticshowersland.

Greetings

Greetings

What President would like this?

What President would like this?

It’s refreshing to be in a presidential suite that was designed well after the Reagan administration. Compare this gorgeous space to what the nearby Westfields Marriott has to offer. Kimpton = skinny pants, Marriott = khakis.

Presidential sleep land at the DC Palomar.

Presidential sleep land at the DC Palomar.

This chair is crazier than it looks from this angle.

This chair is crazier than it looks from this angle.

There are two bathrooms in this space, and room for a small gathering.

Powder room.

Powder room.

The master bath has a glass shower and a gigantic whirlpool tub.

Old school glass shower with a marble floor.

Old school glass shower with a marble floor.

The usual sink.

The usual sink.

A visit to obelisk (right next door) for said late dinner was solid, but not outstanding. A couple of the creations were remarkable. However, the day’s entres needed more sparkle. Fourth visit not a charm.

It got better.

Cupcakes and san pellegrino!

Cupcakes and san pellegrino!

Imagine that after a long boring meeting you walk in to drop off your computer and you are greeted with cupcakes and a specially concocted cocktail. Jerry Chou made day2 special. Thank you Jerry. (Hey Jacques, you know that sitting a manhattan around in a barrel after mixing it destroys the vermouth, but the guys at Urbana don’t.)

A nice dinner at Noras followed by a visit to Bourbon just up the street made the day complete. And what does Bourbon have in stock?

William Larue Weller

William Larue Weller

Hirsch 16 Reserve

Hirsch 16 Reserve

Day3 allowed for some time at the Phillips collection after a nice lunch at Bistrot du Coin. The Van Gogh Repetitions show is fantastic even if you have been to Amsterdam (where I will be Monday).

The permanent collection (Bonard)

The permanent collection (Bonard)

This Bonard of the purple person shares a theme with the Postal Worker edition six. Disappearing subject.

Purple person Bonard.

Purple person Bonard.

Dinner at the much anticipated Range (a Voltaggio restaurant) interesting. Won’t be going back. See review here.

Five showerheads and current lead in the battle of the Palomars to the DC Palomar. Better watch out San Francisco and Chicago!

Kandinski at the Phillips.

Kandinski at the Phillips.