Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hotel Monaco, Washington, DC

The short version of the post is this: The Hotel Monaco, DC, is in the lead for this year's prestigious Golden Hallway Award.

This is a very groovy hotel. The hallways are nearly hallucination-generating in their stripey efflorescence. (The photo doesn't do the effect justice, I'm afraid to say).

Adding to the optical glory, along the way to your room, you'll pass some ersatz Ellsworth Kelly paintings. (Though if I remember correctly, he tended to favor brighter colors).

My room suffered from a few, uh, irregularities. Once again, I find that rational hotel floor numbering is disappearing art. I was on floor one, which isn't really the ground floor. It's below street level. How did I know? My room's windows were usable as viewing devices only by NBA starting centers.

(That last photo is taken at standing height, with the camera pointed straight up toward the ceiling). The light, such as it is, which through yonder windows break, is at sidewalk level.

The Monaco DC is a Kimpton hotel (like the 72 Park Avenue I stayed in last year) and as such, offers the guest the opportunity to purchase lounge wear to maximize the pleasure of his or her sojourn.

I wasn't interested in the top, and the bottoms were size XXL. The thought of me sashaying around my room, alone, in a giant pair of artificial-fiber leopard-print boxers makes even me feel a little woozy, so I put them both back into the closet, along with the giraffe-print bathrobe, which I think was woven of lead, as it weighed 80 or 90 pounds.

The Monaco has a couple of peculiarities, none of which detracted from my stay.

One, there is no room 114. (Maybe it's like platform 12 3/4 in the Harry Potter books). I couldn't take a picture of it, for what I hope to be obvious reasons.

Across the hall from the missing room is pecularity number two, a non-enterable or leaveable door. See?

Ah well, minor points. The hotel has a great location (across the street from the National Portrait Gallery), convivial hosts, nice toiletries, and a dang good restaurant with at least one very charming waitress. (The one who waited on my colleague and me.)

Best of all, for professional pickers-of-nits like me, the hotel actually has (hold your breath here) FREE internet access in your room, and free wireless in the lobby.

Go. Stay.