A Washington DC escape away from the politicians

The place

Kimpton Carlyle Dupont Circle

The location

The Dupont Circle neighbourhood of Washington DC is a short distance from the key attractions and centres of power in the US capital. The area is made up of pretty, tree-filled avenues and low brick townhouses. It's home to most of the major foreign embassies, including Australia's, as well as a wide selection of cool eateries.

The space

The hotel entrance leads to a small, unassuming lobby in keeping with the local neighbourhood feel, with just the marble floors and reception desk offering the telltale signs you're not coming into a neighbourhood apartment building.

The lounge and restaurant are found at either end of the lobby with two small lifts taking guests up to the 198 rooms. Complimentary wine and nibbles are served from 5pm to 6pm in the hotel lobby lounge each day, which is popular with guests and an opportunity to socialise.

The room

My corner room offers a short entryway into a large space with a comfortable king-size bed, flatscreen TV, desk and corner two-seater couch. The room has views out to the Washington Monument (the tallest structure in the city).

While the hotel has a yoga studio, if you prefer to exercise in private there is a yoga mat in every room - a nice touch. The bathroom is small, which is typical of many US hotel rooms - it's a space built for function and not something a couple can both occupy at the same time when getting ready for a night out, for instance.

The food

The fine dining restaurant on the hotel's ground floor, The Riggsby, is something of a destination for locals and guests alike. It's busy on the nights we're at the hotel, but not so busy that you can't get a table without a reservation. That said, the rich food lacks subtlety of flavour.

Stepping out

The Dupont Circle district is one of the hip happening neighbourhoods of DC. U Street and 14th street are filled with cool cafes, restaurants and bars. There's a young vibe thanks to the proximity to several university campuses.

District Distillery is a restaurant, bar and distillery that has its own gins, bourbon, rum and whisky. B Too, meanwhile, is a waffle bar putting a local spin on the Belgian favourite, with sweet and savoury waffles (I opt for green eggs and salmon folded inside a waffle).

B Too is also home to the "doffle" - a sweet treat that's half doughnut, half waffle. The neighbourhood along U Street and 14th Street also features cool stores, live music venues and plenty of other drinking establishments.

The verdict

Kimpton is a nice, comfortable hotel that's far enough outside the central business district to offer a local feel, but close enough to the city's main attractions to please visitors wishing to see the sights.


Rooms at the Kimpton Carlyle Dupont Circle start from $US129. See carlylehoteldc.com/

The writer stayed as a guest of the Kimpton Carlyle Dupont Circle.