Travel

By Sharon Gomes Thomas

Play. Breathe. Frolic. Dream. Aspire. Indulge. These are six themes for six stylish boutique hotels of the Kimpton Group in Washington DC (http://www.kimptondchotels.com). I find it refreshing that a family of hotels has different themes to suit their guests’ personalities. However, I’m all six traits (and more) at any one time, so it’s difficult to decide at which hotel I should unpack my bags.

I’ve been traveling to Washington DC almost weekly for the past few months, and I’ve had the pleasure in staying at some of these hotels. In my travels, it’s often difficult to find accommodations that will allow dogs. Some hotels only allow dogs up to a certain weight limit. Others will give you the worst rooms. How many times have dog owners been stuck in the nosiest smoking rooms? Too many, I say! Happily for me and my dog, the Kimpton hotels are extremely dog welcoming, and their pet friendly rooms are often their premium rooms too.

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Each one boasts a unique pet program. Hotel Helix (http://www.hotelhelix.com) offers free pet manicure and pedicure. At Hotel George (http://www.hotelgeorge.com) dogs receive the presidential treatment at the Doggie Style Pet Spa & Boutique, with an aromatherapy bath and massage, professional styling and a full day of interaction and play. Hotel Monaco (http://www.monaco-dc.com) offers a room service menu for pets. Additionally, the Monaco offers Guppy Love, a complimentary goldfish to keep you company during your stay, so you won’t feel too lonely if you’re traveling alone.

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On my last trip to the nation’s capital, my dog and I enjoyed the hospitality of the Topaz Hotel (http://www.topazhotel.com). From the moment we stepped into the lobby and were greeted behind the front desk by the Manager and her mellow golden retriever, we knew we were in the right place. The theme of the Topaz Hotel is Breathe, and it certainly lives up to that serene premise as soon as you step in to the moodily lit lobby. The tranquil atmosphere was also reflected in our room, the Yoga Suite. Part of the spacious suite was a little alcove for yoga, complete with its own TV, VCR, tranquility CD, mats and instructional video. And for the pooch, there’s even a Doga for Dogs book, doggie placemat and bowls. You can also choose an Energy Room which has its own exercise equipment.

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The Topaz Hotel is small and personal, with a cozy bar on the main floor serving a small food and beverage menu, and it claims to be one of the trendier cocktail destinations in the city. The staff is friendly and room service is available, but limited in selection and not the hotel’s best feature for efficient service. There’s complimentary high speed internet access in all rooms, but if you travel sans laptop, there is a small guest office of one computer with printer. The main attraction of the Topaz Hotel is the location, on a quiet tree-lined street, steps to shopping, restaurants and the popular Dupont Circle. My dog and I walked everywhere and our stress-free stay at the Topaz was a big part of our enjoyable time in DC.

I’m going to be in Washington DC again in a couple of weeks, I’ll have to ask the dog which new hotel she wants to try.

Topaz Hotel
1733 N Street NW
Washington DC 20036
Tel: 202-393-3000
Toll-free 800-775-1202

Originally published September 2006
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