Saturday, October 10, 2009

Washington DC Trip Day 1: Flight & Hotel

Things started off a little rocky as our United flight sat on the tarmac in Albany. Washington air traffic control had issued a ground stop due to rain and congestion. We left 1.5 hours late. The air wasn't working on the plane as I found out when I asked the flight attendant to ask the captain to turn it on. When we found out we'd be delayed, they hooked up an exterior A/C unit to keep us cool and the flight attendant brought me a drink of ice water. Very nice! Traveling can be a hassle so it's important to acknowledge the good things when they happen.

I had expected it to be rainy and cool but when we got here, it was in the 80's and people were out playing volleyball and jogging in shorts and t-shirts.

After what seemed like a half hour hike from the gate to the taxi stand, I finally got in line. I asked the guy behind me if he was from Washington to see if he wanted to share a cab. As it turns out, he wasn't, but was visiting from Boston and in town for the Equality March so we decided to split it after all. Lots of traffic turned it into a $70 cab ride. Glad we shared! (When I left, I asked the hotel's guest services to make arrangements and they ordered a sedan that was $65 + tip.)

I stayed at the Hotel Monaco at F and 7th.

• The National American Art Museum and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery are across the street.
• The Verizon Center, home of the NBA Washington Wizards and NHL Washington Capitals, is kitty corner.
• The Gallery Pl Chinatown Metro subway station, serving the Red, Yellow, and Green lines, is also kitty corner under the Verizon Center.
The hotel by day...

...and by night.

According to the in-room hotel channel:
This building was originally the first General Post Office built back in 1839. In 1839, it cost $350,000 to build this historical site. President Lincoln raised the U.S. flag here in an 1861 dedication.
Some other tidbits from a flyer:
• It was the first all marble and significant Federal building constructed in D.C. after the U.S. Capitol and White House.
• It was based on a traditional Italian Renaissance palazzo and constructed from 1839-1842 during the presidency of Martin van Buren.
• It served as the General Post Office from 1841 to 1899 and the Tariff Commission took over the building in 1921 giving it its current "Tariff Building" name.
While steeped in history, I chose it because it was a 4 star hotel for $125/night through

My room, #110, was on the first floor which is, essentially, the basement. I think the ceilings are 12' high and it's rather spacious — almost cavernous, with two windows set high on one side that are just above ground level.

The hotel's artwork in the halls could use some upgrading.

Many such paintings with various colors and geometric shapes are hung throughout. This is when I think I'm in the wrong business.

Adjacent to the hotel is a series of storefronts with a spy theme. The Spy Cafe had a line outside this morning so I ducked in for dinner this evening when it seemed quiet.

For $21.50, I got a chicken ceasar salad made with the inside leaves of the romaine lettuce (all yellow) topped with bleu-cheesish seasoned chicken, three roast beef sliders, and a cup of ginger ale. The cup, fork and knife were plastic, the food was poor to mediocre, and it was terribly high priced.

1 comment:

Lacey said...

You should be a food critic. That was a very funny review of the dinner. As for the art hanging in your hotel, yeah...I'm off to JoAnn to get some stretched canvas. I have those colors of leftover paint in the basement. Those, and many more. Makes ya wonder, don't it?