Followed my sweet husband to DC and he got a room at the Lorien. OK, I tagged along partially because he DID get a room at the Lorien. In any case, I went to celebrate the kick-off of the "sequester" with visits to some of the nation's treasures, monuments and museums and cemetaries, and also to enjoy Alexandria, of which I had heard much rave reviews. The Lorien was a fantastic location for all that, still very close to the Metro compared to the hotels that loom next to the train, but a little closer to the town, and felt it. Romantic and convenient, and we loved and took advantage of all the adjacent food-related things, including getting soft pretzels made to order for a work pot-luck.
The hotel was a little modest at first glance, and the room was very small and had both nice qualities and some drawbacks. The shower, for example, was very beautiful and I loved the modern take on industrial, but the mechanical reality meant it was impossible to not get water all over the bathroom floor. For being a "spa" hotel, we were surprised that there was no sauna or jacuzzi available, certainly no pool, though the bathroom floor made an honest attempt. A perfectly fine gym in the basement, and spa/beauty services, but they were booked. We hoped the "snow storm" would created cancellations, but of course not, since there was no snow.
But all is not lost! It took a couple of days, but we figured out that the "happy hour" from 5-6 is delightful, the best ever. The restaurant's continental breakfast, which was included with our room rate, was spectacular, as was everything else on the menu. The outdoor patio with the fire pit was inviting and glamorous. The staff was fantastic. Everything was immaculate and pleasant, just all a little lower-ceilinged than we are used to in the land of giants, also known as St. Louis. We walked around the profoundly historic-y town in the evening, and all day on the blustery "snow-day", enjoying all the little shops, bars and restaurants, getting to the river, scowling that we would not have an opportunity to take the water taxi across the Potomac to National Harbor, and consoling ourselves with food, drink and a view at the Chart House. We loved the King Street shuttle that lets you keep walking, knowing you can hop on it to get back up the hill to the hotel. Very nice. Ended the trip with a precious purchase at one of the antique stores, Golden Rhodes, who opened early and had the glasses we had seen in the window the night before all wrapped up and ready to go so I could get to the airport in time. Thanks, Charles!
Funny thing... in the lobby living room, where the happy hour takes place, there are bookshelves with books all wrapped in white paper so you can't see what they are. A la Restoration Hardware. It makes for quite an adventure browsing, and you may open up to anything. After a few tries in this literary lottery, I found a collection of Damon Runyon short stories, which I have never read, and that, in fact, made my trip even more marvelous. Also recommend, grim but with happy endings, at least of a sort. Very good.
All in all, very delightful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Centrally located in Old Town Alexandria, our luxury boutique hotel is a collaborative dream. Renowned interior designer Vicente Wolf created a space that is reflective of the past and grounded in modern sensibilities. Combined with the stylish calm of our spa, our destination restaurant, BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier, a striking environment and the amenities expected of a Kimpton Hotel, Lorien Hotel & Spa unites the elegance of yesteryear with the comforts of modern-day living. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lorien Hotel Kimpton