Family Friendly Luxury Travel: The Jefferson in DC

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Washington D.C. is home to not only monuments and history it is also a city that boasts some of the world’s top notch luxury hotels. That said, finding a family friendly luxury hotel in D.C. can be almost as hard as getting congress to pass a bill. Recently, members of the Traveling Mom team, including founding mom Kim Orlando, Christian Traveling Mom Teronya Holmes and myself were hosted by The Jefferson in D.C. where we found a special sort of luxury family travel enlightenment.

Look at the flourish Jefferson signed his correspondence with, so stylish.  photo credit: Stirling Elmendorf

Look at the flourish Jefferson signed his correspondence with, so stylish.
photo credit: Stirling Elmendorf

No trip to D.C. is complete without a visit to one -or all- of the monuments, museums and the National Mall. With their WHERE’S TOMMY? exclusive self-guided tour of D.C., The Jefferson has found the perfect way to incorporate learning, history and family fun. Part history lesson, part scavenger hunt, this tour takes you to eight locations in and around the city that have a connection to Thomas Jefferson. The hotel offers complimentary access to the Capital Bike Share program, with stations located next to each of the “Tommy” points of interest. Take photos along the way and share them via Instagram tagging @thejeffersondc, be sure to use the hashtag #WheresTommyDC and your family will get a prize when they return to the hotel where gourmet popsicles await.

Not up for a tour? Plenty of history lines the walls and rooms of this beautiful boutique hotel. Family owned, The Jefferson features a private collection of historical documents, artifacts and paintings. My teenaged daughter marveled that she got to read a handwritten letter penned by Jefferson himself. I was impressed most of all by a gorgeous portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette, painted in-period as well as with the trompe l’oeil murals in the lobby.

Original Oil Painting of the Marquis de Lafayette in all his finery, overlooks the concierge desk.  photo credit: Stirling Elmendorf

Original Oil Painting of the Marquis de Lafayette in all his finery, overlooks the concierge desk.
photo credit: Stirling Elmendorf

You could easily never leave the hotel and still be immersed in history, art and culture.

Here are some of the other highlights you can expect from a stay at The Jefferson;

“Be polite to all, but intimate with few” ~Thomas Jefferson 

From the moment you arrive you will notice that here you are more than a customer, you are a welcomed guest. The kids will be awed at check-in the arrival of a bright red Radio Flyer wagon brimming with toys and books just for them. No doubt that this special touch is one of the reasons that The Jefferson tops the list of Preferred Family Hotels. photo(37)

Throughout the hotel there are nooks and crannies that provide a sense of intimacy and the feel of a luxury home. The “Cabinet Rooms” were among our favorite spaces. These cozy spaces adjacent to Quill -the piano bar and lounge- are great for sneaking in a meeting, or getting a little work done before the family heads out for a day of sightseeing.

“I can not live without books” ~Thomas Jefferson

Arriving early? Spend some time in the Book Room. Here you’ll find shelves lined with books by the hotel’s namesake, or on topics he held dear. There is also a section that features books written by guests who have stayed at the hotel, most of which are signed by the authors. On Saturdays from 9am to 1pm a historian is in residence in the Book Room. What a great way to incorporate learning into your family trip!

Bring along a good book of your own. You can enjoy it while you relax in one of the Italian marble soaking tubs that are a feature in the deluxe suites. Luxuriate in a warm bath and enjoy toiletries custom created by Red Flower using herbs and botanicals grown in Monticello’s gardens.

Original documents belonging to Thomas Jefferson.  photo credit: Stirling Elmendorf

Original documents belonging to Thomas Jefferson.
photo credit: Stirling Elmendorf

“We never repent of having eaten too little” ~Thomas Jefferson

From a welcome amenity of fresh, locally sourced cherries and artisan baked goods to Kim’s favorite, a complimentary fresh berry smoothy amuse bouche at The Greenhouse, The Jefferson delights the palate. Brunch at The Greenhouse is popular with guests and locals alike, I’d suggest a reservation. Plume has been named one of D.C.’s finest restaurants, featuring delectable dishes that spring from the culinary creativity of  award-winning executive chef, Chris Jakubiec.

“Thomas Jefferson never said anything about Spas” ~Scenic Route Traveling Mom

The third President of the United States is known for many things; overseeing the Louisiana Purchase, leading the Enlightenment, speaking five languages. Yet somehow he missed spas entirely. Lucky for us his namesake hotel has that covered. The spa here is a tranquil space, small, intimate and perfectly suited to a Girlfriend’s Getaway, a romantic retreat or a well-earned respite for the travel weary mom. As with the rooms, the spa also features a collection of products inspired by the flora found at Jefferson’s beloved Monticello.

This summer The Jefferson, along with 41 other Preferred Family hotels in North America, has partnered with ShutterFly to help traveling families capture memories. Each family will receive a voucher complimentary ShutterFly photo book that they can custom design with photos from their stay or any trip. This has got to be my favorite feature! Every year my family publishes a travel “Yearbook”  using ShutterFly (note, I’ve never gotten a free one, until now). We pack it with pictures, notes and captions that make us laugh. Each book has a place of honor in our home-library right next to the “real” travel books.

Disclosure: The Jefferson hosted our stay. No other form of compensation was received, all opinions herein are entirely those of the author.


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