We just made our third trip to the Inn at Little Washington, to celebrate my 50th birthday. The last time was 10 years ago, for my 40th, and before that, we visited in the early 1990s. I wondered this time if it would live up to my memories and therefore to my heightened expectations. It did. It's amazing just how fabulous this place is, and how it has managed to remain so over a 20 year period (and by all reports, over its entire 35-year lifetime), without slacking off and resting on its laurels. While its steep price really makes it a special-occasion place, it certainly succeeds in providing the epitome of a special-occasion experience, where every single detail has been designed to come as close to perfection as possible.
We had a refreshing welcoming cocktail upon arrival, and took a tour of the grounds, which are just lovely. By the time we returned, our bags had already been brought to Room 5, overlooking the garden, which was beautiful. It seems that housekeeping comes in a tidies up virtually every time you leave the room, so it always looks as lovely and neat as the moment you first entered. The service is impeccable in every way and never intrusive.
But of course the reason for the visit is really that mind-blowing dinner, which for my husband and me was about three and a half hours of bliss. It was especially delightful to find that the whole experience, despite all the elements of elegance, was not in the least intimidating or uptight or haughty. In fact, there were touches of humor and whimsy and joy at every turn, from the adorable little amuse-bouches that arrived first to the extremely entertaining (and equally knowledgeable) gentleman who presented the cheese cart. How wonderful to enjoy serious food without the serious attitude. And the food IS just insanely good -- absolutely delicious, imaginative and beautifully presented without being overly precious. (Don't believe those reviews that say that the courses are so tiny they can't be shared. It's hard to imagine how anyone can say that they felt like there wasn't enough food... )
It must be noted that dining here is very expensive: dinner for 2 starts at $336, and that's before cocktails, wine, tax and gratuity. We ended up at just under $600. Lodging is also a major investment -- prices are listed on the website. However, this is truly a memorable experience for anyone who appreciates food and revels in watching artisans strive for perfection. We're already looking forward to our next visit. I hope we won't wait another 10 years!
- Also Known As:
- The Inn At Little Washington Hotel
- The Inn At Little Washington Hotel Washington
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the small town of Washington, Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington is the only Double Forbes Five Star, Double AAA Five Diamond property in the Washington metro area. The Inn's eighteen bedrooms and suites are sumptuous hideaways created by Joyce Evans, a London stage and set designer, for whom The Inn has become a life's work. Many of the furnishings were purchased in England, numbered and shipped to Virginia to be assembled on site like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The Inn offers a range of accommodations from well-appointed rooms to luxurious, two story suites many with balconies and garden views. The Inn's dining rooms are pure fantasy - a wondrous cocoon of luxury. Rose-colored, silk lampshades float above each table creating a private, romantic world below. Chef/Proprietor Patrick O'Connell's creations arrive as if served by invisible hands, course after course more dazzling than the last. From the award-winning 14,000 bottle wine cellar, which includes the finest offerings from Bordeaux, Burgundy, California and Virginia, the Sommelier plays matchmaker between you, your dinner and the wine. ... more less
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