A Weekend at Melrose at Georgetown
Back in our college days, my then-boyfriend (now husband) Patrick and I spent a weekend in D.C. We visited the free museums, tried some decent restaurants and enjoyed a bit of day drinking. (It’s OK—we were in our 20s.) It was before “grown-up jobs,” before marriage, before baby, before we really knew the value of sleep or time.
This weekend, however, we’re heading north to celebrate Patrick’s 30th birthday. I’ve promised him a weekend of impeccable food, a visit to a brewery, a day of exploring historic Georgetown and best of all—sleeping in.
We’ve chosen a splendid place to sleep in—the luxurious Melrose Georgetown Hotel, located just a few blocks from the boutiques and restaurants of Georgetown and only a five-minute walk to the Foggy Bottom Metro Station, leading to some of D.C.’s best attractions. The independent boutique hotel is owned by Remington, but with its chic atmosphere, eclectic décor, black granite bathrooms, lavish suites and luxe accommodations, it feels like anything but a chain. “It’s that element of surprise and delight,” says Executive Human Resources Director Daniel Poray, which makes boutique hotels stand out among others.
Another aspect that makes the hotel stand out is their guest historian, who assembles welcome packages that vary by guest. We're delighted to find chilled champagne, chocolate-covered espresso beans and macaroons in our room upon arrival.
A Jaunt Through Georgetown
Just a few short blocks from the hotel, we’re in the midst of Georgetown and all its refinement. Big name stores like Kate Spade, Anthropologie, West Elm and Nine West are interspersed with locally-owned shops and antique stores.
I even discover foodie heaven at Dean & DeLuca, a gourmet food store offering specialty chocolates, produce, meats and cheeses, smoked fish, gelato, house wares and its own wine hall.
A visit to Georgetown must entail a sweet treat from Georgetown Cupcake, baked fresh daily and featured everywhere from “The Martha Stewart Show” to “The Today Show” to “The Oprah Show.” Perhaps that explains that lengthy line out the door I encounter as I approach the building at the corner of 33rd and M. After standing there for several minutes I ask the woman in front of me “Is it worth the wait?” “Without a doubt,” she replies, not skipping a beat. “And…” she lowers her tone, “If you ask for an Atlanta Peach, you’ll get it for free.” Check their Facebook page before visiting to learn what their secret flavor of the day is, and you may also score a free cupcake. After about 15 minutes, I walk out of the shop with six different flavors, including mocha chocolate chip cheesecake. And yes, it’s worth the wait.
After my sweet fix, it’s time to grant the birthday boy’s wish—a visit to a brewery. The recently-established Bluejacket is just a 20-minute Uber ride away. It’s located inside a 1919 building that was part of the Navy Yards ship and still holds an industrial feel inside. They have a full menu for brunch, lunch and dinner and serve a selection of 20 Bluejacket beers and five cask ales. I order a Swirl—their sour strawberry brown ale while Patrick goes for the Full Bloom farmhouse ale. We relax on some patio furniture outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun as we sip our cold brews.
Before long, we’re sipping chilled glasses of limoncello at Jardenea, Melrose at Georgetown’s farm-to-fork restaurant where Executive Chef Nate Lindsay prepares imaginative dishes sourced in sustainable ways. “People need to know where their food is coming from,” he says. He explains that he and the other chefs make all of their own pastas, gnocchi, sauces and remoulades in-house. “We know exactly what goes into everything,” he says.
After skimming the menu, I start with the Lump Crab and Avocado Tian over artisan mixed greens and white truffle vinaigrette. The perfectly sliced avocado rests in a pool of citrusy sauce with just enough hint of truffle. A slice down the center reveals tender chunks of crab nestled inside.
Patrick goes on the wilder side, ordering the Wild Boar Terrine with aged gouda soufflé and raisin sunflower seed and spelt crisped bread, served alongside a port wine reduction, Asian pear spheres and huckleberry compote. It’s an ideal mix of sweet, delicate tastes against bursts of rich, savory flavors and textures.
Next I decide on a buttery Coriander Dusted Hawaiian Sea Bass atop earthy, soft organic blue corn grits, completed with Chapel’s Country Bay Blue Vin Blanc, a bleu cheese from the Eastern Shore.
Patrick orders what are surely the most decadent and delicious scallops I've ever enjoyed. Wrapped in prosciutto, bathed in leek and wild mushroom fricassee and curry beurre blanc and nestled in sweet potato mousseline, it's a dish I'll be dreaming about for many birthdays to come.
Our dessert choice far surpasses any kind of cake I could have baked for Patrick’s birthday. Lindsay calls it the Deconstructed S’more—a hollowed chocolate bar is piped full of fluffy chocolate ganache and topped with gooey, toasted marshmallow, served with a homemade graham cracker and spritzed with caramel. It’s absolutely indulgent and totally worth it.
After finishing our sumptuous dinner and a second round of drinks, I ask Patrick if he’d like to go out on the town to continue the celebration. He chuckles as if I’ve made a silly joke and announces he’s off to bed. It’s OK—we’re in our 30s.
Melrose Georgetown Hotel is localed at 2430 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC. Learn more by calling 202-955-6400 or at MelroseHotelDC.com.
Want more ideas for romantic getaways? Try the Iris Inn Treetop Escape in Waynesboro or a staycation at Wedmore Place, next to Williamsburg Winery.