By Olivia Cuccaro
Each spring, the US capital transforms into a floral festival to celebrate the blooming cherry blossoms. The cherry trees date back to 1912, when the mayor of Tokyo gifted 3,000 of them to the city. From an Opening Ceremony with American and Japanese performers, to a Blossom Kite Festival by the Washington Monument, to an annual parade, Washington, DC embraces the natural beauty of the season with a variety of events across the city. During March and April, blossoms can be found in areas near the Tidal Basin, shoreline of East Potomac Park, National Mall and Lincoln Memorial as well as the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park and more. To help you plan your trip, we’re giving you our guide to the best DC has to offer this cherry blossom season.
Where to Stay
The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC
At the newly redesigned Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC, the Cherry Blossoms package is available to guests booking a renewed premier room or suite. The package includes an in-room Sakura Tea experience, serving a fresh blend with notes of cherry blossom and jasmine in traditional Japanese teapots. Indulge with a cherry and lychee bento box dessert, featuring an assortment of Japanese-inspired treats like a lychee pâte de fruit, cherry and orange blossom almond cake financier and green tea choux pastry. At Quadrant Bar & Lounge, enjoy a complimentary cocktail and small plate while admiring the cherry blossom trees, then try the special sushi menu, flight of Japanese whiskies and signature cherry blossom cocktail. The package also includes complimentary breakfast and valet parking.
For your stay, we recommend the recently renovated Ritz-Carlton Suite which features an expansive outdoor terrace from which you can see the city in bloom. The 2,220 sq ft suite includes a king-size bed, large living room with fireplace, formal dining room with seating for 10 with an adjacent pantry, private dressing room and walk-in closet, full marble bathroom including a jacuzzi, separate bathtub and rainforest shower along with a separate guest bathroom.
1150 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, ritzcarlton.com
Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
The Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC is offering a Springtime by MO package for the cherry blossom festival. Take in the natural beauty without the crowds as you enjoy a hanami gourmet picnic with sweeping views of the Tidal Basin reservoir, a focal point for the festival. Your picnic for two will be curated by the hotel’s Asian-American restaurant, Muze, for a specialized menu of Mandarin-citrus mousse with yuzu marmalade, berry cheesecake with strawberry sponge cake, Mont Blanc chestnut cream with crispy meringue and foie gras terrine with candied kumquats. The package also includes daily breakfast for two at Muze or in-room as well as complimentary valet parking.
For your stay, we recommend the Presidential Suite which spans a generous 3,512 sq ft. The suite features a master bedroom with king-size bed, oversized walk-in closet and an adjoining bathroom with walk-in shower, separate vanities and an infinity tub that looks out over the District Wharf. Also included are a circular living room with vaulted ceilings, den with plush seating and a flat screen TV, dining room for up to eight guests, private kitchen and butler pantry with private entrance, guest powder room, office with private entrance and a second bedroom with two queen-size beds and private bathroom.
1330 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024, mandarinoriental.com.
The Jefferson, Washington DC
Make lasting memories at The Jefferson this cherry blossom season with the Picture Perfect Cherry Blossoms package. In addition to complimentary breakfast and a cherry blossom coffee table book, guests will also receive a Framebridge gift card. After finding the perfect spot to snap cherry blossom pictures, have your photo framed and take home a personal souvenir.
For your stay, we recommend The Thomas Jefferson Suite for panoramic views of the city and its monuments this spring. The suite boasts five Juliet balconies and a master bedroom with king-size bed and marble master bathroom with shower, soaking tub and two sinks. At 1,900 sq ft or 2,320 sq ft with connecting room, the suite also features a grand salon with gas fireplace, separate formal dining room for 10, sitting room, kitchen, study, and guest powder room.
1200 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036, jeffersondc.com
What to Do
Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Washington DC
Unwind with a cherry blossom-inspired treatment at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC. The 80-minute Sakura Ritual Body Treatment begins with a dry brushing to eliminate toxins, followed by a personalized full body massage using your choice of green tea oil and lotion or fragrant blossom oil. Then relax with a paraffin hand or foot treatment utilizing Japanese antioxidant green tea. The result is more youthful-looking skin due to the treatment’s reduction of free radical formation in the body.
Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007, fourseasons.com.
The Rye Bar
Head to The Rye Bar at Rosewood, Washington DC to celebrate the season with a cherry cocktail. The sophisticated setting features a back-lit onyx bar, wood paneling, and floor-to-ceiling windows for views of the canal. The bar is known for its rye whiskey cocktails – particularly the Manhattan.
Named after Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, the woman said to have planted the city’s first cherry blossom tree, Scidmore is a delicious rum cocktail to sip this spring. To create the Scidmore, add 1.5 oz rum, 1.5 oz cherry syrup with cherry herring, 1/4 oz oz yuzu and 1/2 oz lime juice into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an edible cherry blossom flower.
Rosewood, Washington DC, 1050 31st Street NW, Washington, DC, 20007, rosewoodhotels.com.
Off the Record
Venture downstairs in The Hay-Adams hotel to its Off the Record bar. Located across the street from the White House, it’s a convenient place for a cocktail after a day of sightseeing. Sumptuous red decor with tufted leather seats, dark wood and an ornate ceiling make this DC haunt an elegant yet intimate hideout.
Bartenders are serving up the Pisco Blossom this season- a sweet and sour cocktail combining fruit and herb flavors for a perfect springtime blend. To create the Pisco Blossom, muddle three cherries with two basil leaves. Then, add 1 oz Luxardo cherry liqueur, 3/4 oz St-Germain, 1.5 oz Pisco, one egg white, 1/4 oz simple syrup and 1/2 oz lemon juice into shaker and dry shake. Server over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a cherry.
The Hay-Adams, 800 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, hayadams.com.