Luxury Hotels


From time immemorial, apparently hunters have fashioned decoy ducks to attract real birds to within range of bows and arrows, and later guns. Earliest extant decoys were fashioned out of reed. Later they were carved, sometimes meticulously, out of wood. Park Hyatt Washington is a hotel that is synonymous with Americana, and decoys thus fit perfectly into the picture.

Suite #916’s decorations – presumably like all its peers – is a big red apple and a decoy duck. There’s also a book, Decoys: North America’s One Hundred Greatest, Loy S Harrell Jr, Krause Publications, 2000. The page, above, is opened at a pair of green-winged teals by Elmer Crowell, 1862-1952, from East Harwich MA.  Apparently they were carved in 1915 when Crowell was in his prime – three years later he lost interest in exact carving when new laws limited the shooting of migratory waterfowl (‘now the fun has gone’, he is quoted as saying).

The red apple in the suite is a small copy of a football-sized apple in the hotel’s main floor walkway. Tony Chi has gone for simplicity throughout the interiors and they work magnificently. Girlahead just adores the wide floorboards, with occasional blocks of Shaker chairs and multi-person seating.

As you walk along, to the bright lights of Blueduck Tavern some 200 metres along. To the right you look up a couple of stairs into the Tavern, an L-shaped space that stretches the entire length of 24th Street (from inside, you look out at fabulous plantings in the hotel’s flowerbeds).

Girlahead was only able, sadly, to try Blueduck’s breakfast and it was superb – see a video, below. The Sunday morning staff all looked like male models waiting to pay characters (nice ones) in The Wolf of Wall Street. The goat cheese omelette with frissée fringe was divine and would I like an extra coffee to-go? There were piles of papers, and the two buffets, one hot, one cold, were discreetly set: it was much more fun to choose à la carte and watch your dish being made.

You can do a lot of watching here. In the 24/7 gym, 20 grey steps down from the north end of floor three, you look out at real runners, or dog-walkers, or clients coming for designer manicures in the salon immediately below. Early evening in the lobby you might spy the capital’s finest arriving for yet another black tie event, lower level.

Final thought. The same bellman, Moustafa from Algeria, was on hand at departure as at arrival. As soon as he saw the wheelie coming near the entrance he rushed down the five steps to carry it up. The Uber arrived so quickly there was no chance to correct the pickup location. Moustafa and baggage rushed across 24th Street to the Fairmont and handed his precious parcel (= happy hotel guest) over to Uber driver Mohammed from Morocco and, with lots of Arabic and laughter, Girlahead left town. `