Old Town is a lovely alternative to downtown Washington for business travelers and leisure travelers alike, and I was afforded the opportunity to spend last week soaking it all in when I stayed at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria. One of Kimpton’s more recent creations in the metro DC area, the Monaco evolved from what used to be the Holiday Inn Select, right on King Street. And what a magnificent transformation was made. The Monaco is Kimpton’s whimsical brand, usually cut out of buildings which were never intended to be hotels (see Monaco DC for example). This is not the case in Alexandria as it was indeed a hotel in its former life, but the Monaco is also Kimpton’s historic brand. In many cases, the Monaco itself is a historic structure. In the case of Old Town Alexandria, it’s the neighborhood itself that’s historic. The Monaco simply compliments it.
From the unique details in the guest room, like the Declaration of Independence printed on the curtains, to the red brick architecture on the hotel’s façade, the hotel takes advantage of both old and new. The lobby is one of the hotel’s signatures – it’s fairly large for a boutique hotel, but above all things it’s warm. There’s a fireplace about which guests can mix and mingle during coffee in the morning or during wine hour each evening. The décor is bright and welcoming.
Adjacent to the lobby and easily accessed from bustling King Street is Jackson20, the hotel’s bistro. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a client luncheon here – and it was surprisingly not busy. I recommend anyone who has business in Old Town to try this hidden treasure.
Hotel corridors are nicely taken care of and fairly long for a boutique hotel as the hotel takes up one city block in Alexandria. Rooms that face front face King Street but rooms across the hall face a charming courtyard – some rooms even feature balconies. The furnishings are very comfortable and the smell of the room was incredibly fresh and inviting. Scent makes a difference.
For guests who are conducting most of their business downtown, the metro does exist but it’s a long walk in inclement weather. King Street is the main thoroughfare in Alexandria but the Monaco sits just four blocks from Alexandria’s waterfront. The King Street metro stop is a good dozen blocks inland. Not to fret – the hotel does offer a courtesy shuttle to the station itself. In the evening, this part of King Street is alive with tourists and business meetings alike, all looking to take in some of the fine restaurants or the colonial tours that line the street.
A great alternative to downtown indeed!