By Tova Syrowicz
People say that having the Obamas in the White House has breathed new life into DC, but the first family is not solely responsible for the renaissance the capital has seen over the last few years.
Fifty-plus cranes mark its skyline, as $8.1 billion in construction investment reinvents many of the city’s neighborhoods. More than 4,000 hotel rooms are due to open in the next couple of years, with properties running the gamut from boutique Capella Washington (just opened) to the Marriott Marquis, DC’s official convention center hotel, scheduled to open in May 2014 with 1,175 rooms and 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Earlier this year, The St. Regis unveiled a striking redesign of its bar and lobby by the Rockwell Group, and the Mandarin Oriental just debuted the 1,900-square-foot Jefferson Suite. The first phase of City Center DC, a $700 million mixed-use, five-block development (think luxury condos, retail, dining and green space) opens in late 2013; the center will house at least one luxury hotel, though its name has yet to be disclosed.
In addition to its myriad monuments and museums, not to mention a beautiful cherry blossom season (the 101st National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20 to April 14), DC is home to 1,900 restaurants and counting, and almost as many theaters as New York. Be sure to stop by Park Hyatt Washington’s Blue Duck Tavern, recent host to Barack and Michelle Obama, and The St. Regis’s new bar for its 1920s pre-Prohibition-inspired cocktail menu. A little later in the year, wander out of the city to the 340-acre, equestrian-inspired Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, due to open in August. CEO and founder Sheila C. Johnson, founding partner of BET, plans for Salamander, located right in the heart of DC’s horse and wine country, to be the finest resort in the country.