Luxury Hotels

Washington’s Fairmont hotel’s luxury lobby – and more

Christian Klaus

The name Fairmont evokes comfort and ‘welcome home’.  Increasingly, says the gal, it also indicates continual elements of surprise (think back a few days, for instance, to the sensational fitness centre at Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg).  Fairmont Washington DC Georgetown has had a complete new-look over the last few years, says Christian Klaus, Director of Ops at the 413-room luxury hotel. The lobby, by Forrest Perkins, is now light-bright, with a big horseshoe-shaped sit-up bar, and a welcome table that is difficult to describe – see it above, and to the left.

Lounge-level chandelier

There are so many striking elements to this comfortable hotel. Take the ninth floor club lounge and its lovely team – see Manager Opal Barrett in the video below.  I arrived early and while waiting for corner room 924, I got online in the lounge. Room ready now, said Opal, may I help you move? 924, a pale teal haven by Wilson Associates, was right next door to the lounge and yet there I had no way of getting online.  No problem, said Opal, I will put IT on the telephone.  It took a couple of minutes to realise ‘Nathan’ was neither in the hotel nor in DC nor elsewhere in the USA but in Bangalore.  It turns out the Bangalore company does all Fairmont IT outsourcing: oh the marvels of modern science, or rather technology.  In this case Nathan hooked me into his router in Bangalore throughout my stay.

Trying the Seeker concept

More technology came into play in the hotel lobby. An interactive pop-up studio invites you to answer Yes or No to numerous questions to determine what kind of hotel might be best suited to your interests, and then at the end it suggests properties in the entire Accor network – here, it is being trialled by Diana Bulger.  Conceived by the company in partnership with Toronto-based Cossette agency, and The Mill, which has offices in both Chicago and New York, the Seeker Project, as it is called, is all part of the push to increase awareness and membership numbers of Le Club AccorHotels.

Rent-a-bike, next door

People stay at this agreeable hotel for its proximity to Georgetown, and George Washington University, and the Metro – and for the hotel’s garden, highly popular for weddings and summer lunches, and, now, for its lobby bar and lounge, and the club lounge.  They also come to keep fit.  The outsourced gym, open from 5.30 a.m., is serious, with lots of CrossFit and other classes. Others follow the hotel’s running map, which includes a 2.9-mile suggestion up to the US Naval Observatory and back. There are also lots of rent-a-bikes, or scooters, around: and after all this exercise, some then have the luxury of gorging on one of Jupiter restaurant’s weekly paellas, as long as it is a Tuesday. NOW SEE ROOM 924, AND THE RENOVATED CLUB LOUNGE