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Review of Sofitel D.C.


PHOTO: Library of the Sofitel DC (c) Sery Kim

Conveniently situated a block from The White House, Sofitel D.C.'s proximity to global power has always been a draw to travelers, business or otherwise. Yet this luxury brand's French origin also infuses tired road warriors with familiarity, graciousness and warmth.

Now, after an expensive (hundreds of millions of dollars), near-gut renovation, the Sofitel D.C.'s newly elegant beauty superceds its French contemporaries and various American rivals with unparalled charm.


PHOTO: Welcome gift from Sofitel D.C. (c) Sery Kim

Immediately upon entry, the eyes are drawn to the right where a canvas of a couch, brightly covered in green and immaculated designed in a pintucked Chesterfield-esque banquet, provides ample room to rest and relax should the Front Desk be overwhelmed with guests. "Bonjour Madame!" "Bonjour Mademoiselle!" Deluct tones of the fluent French staff brought me quickly to memories of my favorite city in all the world Paris.

Of course, even before entering I was graciously treated by the impeccable valet staff who overlooked my feeble attempts at tipping. Honestly, I could not have been more embarrassed to have run out of cash, except when I had to explain I was out of cash, but nary a grimace was to be found as my valet gladly treated my car with care. (I made sure to tip him when I wandered out a few minutes later after pulling out some cash.)

Courtesy in treatment was a consistent theme for this revamped hotel. The staging of each room casts a modern black/white/red palate with prints of Modigliani providing a stark backdrop to the flawless 21st century amenities such as marvelous wifi and a gorgeously large flat screen, high-def television.


PHOTO: Sofitel D.C. (c) Sery Kim

As an art lover, I appreciated the art placed throughout the hotel, especially the photographs and prints from France. The pieces were delightful in their simplicity. Quite frankly, I really thought of how I could buy some of them.

In fact, now that I think about it, the theme of "I want to buy that" or "I could live with this" was a mindset I found myself falling into without meaning to. The newly redesigned Sofitel D.C. appeared more like the ideal apartment for city-living rather than a mere hotel room, and these inspired details and amenities provided seamless comfort at this price-point of $300/night.


PHOTO: Sofitel D.C. (c) Sery Kim

Of course, if I could enjoy the warmth of ICI Urban Bistro's fun French cooking at home as well, this would be marvelous. Executive Chef Franck Loquet's lovely gregariousness moved me to feel as if I were in his home rather than in his restaurant -- though with the hours chefs keep I am sure the restaurant is more like home ...

I tucked into my dreamy Cassoulet, the French dish of meat, pork skin and white beans, with the vigor of someone who hadn't really eaten in a month. As my stomach expanded with each scrumptious blend of ingredients, I could feel myself again being transported to Paris.


PHOTO: ICI Urban Bistro Cassoulet (c) Sery Kim

After the last bite was completed, I popped over to the bar for a nice cocktail before hitting the gym to burn off the calories. Actually, this is not true but I felt it should be true. In truth, I meandered through the divine library with a glass of wine while thinking of what dessert I should order. Magically one appeared in my room and as I sat cozily in bed with some home-made truffles, watching television, I felt I had come home. What a great feeling for a hotel to give to a traveler.


PHOTO: Dessert at Sofitel D.C. (c) Sery Kim


PHOTO: Gym at Sofitel D.C. (c) Sery Kim

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