You have to work hard to keep a hotel operating – just as an orchestra needs a conductor to keep the music flowing, so a hotel’s myriad moving parts require a boss to keep everything in sync. And it is even more of a task when the luxury hotel in question is Trump International in Washington DC, obviously constantly in the public eye. Its MD, Mickael Damelincourt, deliberately keeps himself on stage as much as he can: he uses a particular table in the lobby as his office, day-long, for hours at a time. He was meeting with his long-time colleague, Suzie Mills, now heading ops on a corporate basis, when the gal arrived.
Once again I was in suite 535, looking out at the Environment Protection Agency EPA building. Oh this is all so regal, or rather presidential. The suite is basically white, with lots of royal blue and sumptuous fabrics. Fittings and highlights are gold. Yes, sumptuous is the right word. It is also practical. The bathroom’s Hampton Cypress towels really do dry, which is not always the norm, even in the world’s best hotels (there is still a misguided belief that fluffy and big towels equate to a good dry, which is not the case). I also, by the way, have a private fitness area, with a Technogym jogger, and Hampton weights.
On this visit I was especially keen to look at the regular Friday night dessert buffet. First we dined at BLT by David Burke. This is a clever two-floor construction plonked, so to speak, in the hotel’s massive nine-floor glass-topped atrium. Some like to sit downstairs but I always prefer upstairs, where the 40 seats have the best views across the busy lobby lounge to the bar (apparently Rudy Giuliani was there that evening but his bald pate did not stand out in the crowd). One circular table, set somewhat discreetly back, is usually reserved for the current President and Mrs Trump but since it was vacant that night it was given to us.
We drank Trump Meritage 2016 from near Charlottesville VA, and I loved my tuna tartare with avocado, and a cowboy bone-in rib, 30 days dry-aged. And then it was time to move down to floor level for the buffet. My goodness, as pastry chef Monica Amtower explained, as soon as one Friday night is over she is already planning what she will produce next week. Tonight, with sticky toffee puddings being flambéed to order – see a video below – it was mothers and daughters special (where were all the guys?). It is $29 for grown-ups, $14 for the under-15s, and it was a real eye-opener to see all these size-zero adults competing with their offspring to see who could pile their plates the highest. This luxury hotel is really on to a winner with this Friday night fling, and it should not be missed. SEE SUITE 535, AND WATCH THE FLAMBEE