Our Visit to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington DC
To further our excitement, we were also elated to be spending four nights at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC. We’ve heard great things about Mandarin Oriental, and never having the pleasure of staying at one, we were most excited to stay at this fairly new (opened in 2004) property sitting on the banks of the Potomac.
As we began to do our homework on the property, we found a very impressive string of awards:
- Mobil 4-Star Award (Hotel)
- Mobil 4-Star Award (Spa)
- Mobil 4-Star Award (Restaurant – City Zen)
- AAA 4-Diamond (Hotel)
- AAA 5-Diamond (Restaurant – City Zen)
- Eric Ziebold named “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic”, James Beard Foundation, June 2008
Quite impressive, wouldn’t you say?
Unfortunately, we were unable to experience the award-winning City Zen restaurant. Nonetheless, we were very excited to share a meal with Linda Beltran (Director of Communications) at the hotel’s Sou’Wester restaurant.
Sou’Wester offered us waterfront views of the Potomac, and served up regional cuisine with a very noticeable inflection of Southern cooking.
We let Linda guide our choices as we began our meal. She started off with Pan Fried Oysters (smoked pepper ai?oli). No objection from me, but I was surprised to see Carol smiling as she was enjoying the oysters. She is generally not a fan of such things. But, just take a look at these babies!
I told you that there was a clear Southern influence in this restaurant, and I rest my case with our next entree: Hush Puppies (w/ honey butter) YUM!
It was now time for our salads. The gals went for more traditional salads, while I greatly enjoyed Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad (goat cheese, tangerine, bibb lettuce with pecan vinaigrette). I kind of felt like Popeye the-sailor-man after all of those wonderful vitamin-packed veggies.
For our entrees, Linda went with Pan Seared Filet of “Chicken-Fried” Brook Trout…
Carol went with a Grilled Bone-In Ribeye Steak…
while I ventured completely into the unknown with “Nose-To-Tail” Crispy Path Valley Shoat (cider-braised savoy cabbage, fried egg). “What is shoat”, you ask? Well, I had to turn to my host for an explanation. It turns out that shoat is is a weanling pig, that is, a pig that has just been weaned.
Coming from the Southwest, I was not accustomed to all the fried delicacies of the South, but I quite enjoyed this. “Oddly”, so says my wife, I like anything with an egg on top.
We ended our delightful evening with a yummy Lemon Meringue Tart. Along with a pipping-hot cup of espresso, this was the perfect end to our meal.
Our Fondest Memories
- Potomac River, Tidal Basin, and Jefferson Memorial views from our room.
- The bed. Oh my goodness! Luxury hotels all have very comfortable beds, but this was the best…EVER!
- Breakfast in the Tai Pan Club overlooking the Washington Monument.
- Carol raved about her Oriental Bamboo Massage.
- I greatly enjoyed the Heat and Water Experience: vitality pools, experience showers, steam room, and sauna.
- The hotel’s proximity to the areas memorials. Easy walking distance.
- Evening views of lit monuments.
- The shower in our room was SaWeet! Multiple head wonderfulness. Extra nice after a long day of hiking around town.
The only beef I had with our whole experience was that the bathroom had only one sink. That means lots of waiting while my bride of 25 years is doing her morning thing. However, that problem was dwarfed by the many other wonderful experiences of our stay.
We loved our Mandarin Oriental experience, and hope to experience a great many more of their world-wide properties in the coming months and years.
If you make a visit to Washington DC, we confidently recommend Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC for luxury, and/or business travel. In fact, we overheard one businessman proclaim to another, “this is the best hotel in all of Washington DC”.
Disclosure: a portion of our experience was provided by the very kind folks at Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC. Thanks! We had a great time!
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