Family Friendly Stay at the Kimpton Helix in Washington, D.C.September 24, 2011 No Comments
On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. built around my daughter’s first east coast music tour, we managed to fit in a great deal of sightseeing along with her performances, enjoy some wonderful food, and experience an exceptionally family friendly AND environmentally friendly stay at the Kimpton Helix.
We loved the Helix, and the staff’s fine service and the fun atmosphere – as well as the reasonable pricing – truly made our visit. From the moment we walked in, with bags and guitar, fresh from Union Station and with only a few hours to spare before my daughter’s gig, to the moment we left, in a sedan car commissioned to take us to our distant, but great value rental car location, the staff was helpful, kind, and genuinely interested in all of needs. Although not the most luxurious of our hotel rooms on this trip, we were happier here than at just about any other location; and the rooms are whimsical, well sized and appointed.
We loved the hotel’s pop art design, created by Hollywood’s own Mike Moore. Sleek and shiny, with plenty of bright colors that will lure the little ones – who won’t like a mirrored Barbie and Ken image, or bright lime green and orange patterns in the lobby? The hotel was conveniently located to my daughter’s performance venue in nearby Dupont Circle, in adjoining Logan Circle. There was a Whole Foods and a CVS – great for us – two blocks away, and the Logan Tavern restaurant, also two blocks away was a real find. The hotel itself offered a nice buffet breakfast in the morning, and a great happy hour at night in the lounge, which was also decorated in the appealing op-art style.
Why was the happy hour great? Well, we walk in, we’re hot and tired after running around Philadelphia and catching our train, we only have two hours to ourselves, and our large extended family is treated to: sparkling wine, house made and very tasty fruit-rich sangria, lemonade for the little ones, and mini-grilled cheeses that were delicious. And when they ran out? They made us more when we asked for them! Additionally, the staff sent us cupcakes and milk, and a fruit plate as a welcoming gift after hearing a little about our travels and our schedule. Hard to beat that kind of service. And when we needed umbrellas – storm clouds followed us up and down the east coast – the door staff was happy to get them for us, and get us cab service, as well. Check out was swift, and with a car waiting for us, the staff showed the driver where to wait, helped us promptly with our bags, and remembered where we were headed next and wished us well. Again – service was exemplary.
Tourists more interested in the Washington Monuments and the Smithsonian than in proximity to a Dupont Circle bar will also appreciate the hotel’s convenience to the McPherson Square Metro four blocks away. It’s not that long a walk to the Mall; however after cramming an entire weeks worth of sightseeing into one day, we took the subway. The neighborhood is mostly residential and quiet around the hotel, and the two nightlife/dining and shopping areas – Logan Circle and the larger Dupont Circle area – are both fine for late night strolls.
Our kids immediately liked entering the hotel through curtains rather than a door that swept aside to reveal the lobby. They also liked the Christmas lights glittering in color coordinated reds and blues on the outdoor patio, the tots welcome package of kids toys and playing cards, and in the room, more gauzy curtains that can privatize the double beds. Larger families seeking one, rather than several individual double bed rooms, can opt for rooms with bunk beds.
The flat screen TVs and brightly covered chairs, ottomans and lamp shades give the room a nice modern feel, but the overall vibe is retro ‘70′s with the lime greens and the orange metallic bathroom counter and chartreuse honor bar. Kimpton In Touch members (membership free) get a $10 honor bar credit, which is a nice touch for a late night candy or juice for the kids. The only caveat is that our double room’s bathroom was on the small side.
With our family’s varied diet, the Whole Foods nearby was perfect for one evening meal, but the second evening we wanted a real restaurant experience, even though it was late after my daughter’s gig. Perfect for all ages – there were babies rocking to sleep in their strollers at a neighboring table although it was 11 pm – with all day dining up until midnight, was the Logan Tavern. This warm, dark and friendly pub features a full restaurant menu that accommodated all diets at a reasonable price. And it was delicious. The Tavern’s staff also went beyond the call of duty, exhorting us to wait out a storm with delicious fresh fruit and chocolate souffle deserts – which they unexpectedly gave us gratis. That chocolate souffle is among the best I’ve ever had – as were the scallops I had as my entree. From salmon to kid friendly boneless chicken, burgers – including a veggie option, fresh organic salads and micro-brews for the adults, this restaurant was a great find. Yes, there is late night dining that welcomes kids that isn’t a Denny’s in the District of Columbia.