Luxury Hotel Review: The Inn at Little Washington
The Inn at Little Washington is one of those iconic, super luxurious places where you turn off your phone and relax and enjoy the experience. It's also one of those places you have to try. It definitely lived up to the hype and its reputation. I've stayed in many fine hotels, but the Inn is definitely unique.
The Inn at Little Washington
First, a little background. The Inn at Little Washington is in Washington, Virginia, about ninety minutes west of Washington, D.C. This sleepy little town of less than 200 people is basically on the map because of the Inn. This year the Inn is celebrating it's 40th anniversary, but it didn't start as a hotel. The Inn is actually a restaurant and hotel, the result of hard work and the tenacity of owner and proprietor Patrick O'Connell. He eventually started adding rooms, and today the Inn is made up of the main building and several surrounding buildings that they have purchased throughout the years. In total, there are now 24 rooms and suites. Each has a unique personality.
The Inn's restaurant, has for years been ranked among the top restaurants in Washington, D.C., even though it's not in the city. The hotel and restaurant have earned countless awards, but some of the big ones including five stars from Forbes and the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award, which both the Inn and restaurant have earned. The Inn has actually had those five diamonds for nearly thirty years. The restaurant also has two Michelin stars. In my opinion, these awards and honors are all well deserved.
The Inn at Little Washington is also a part of the Relais and Chateaux, which is global group of owned and operated luxury restaurants and hotels. Another famous member is The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, which a review is coming soon!
This review will focus on the hotel and the stay overall at the Inn. I'll follow this article up with a review of the meal. Spoiler, it was fantastic. Upon arriving at the Inn, we pulled up the main building and a staff member opened the door and welcomed us into the small, but elegant lobby. A wood burning fireplace was crackling nearby. We were led past the fireplace and into a small bar area where we were poured a welcome cocktail of Prosecco and Chambord. While we sat, relaxed and enjoyed our cocktails the hotel staff parked our car, and took our luggage to our room. They even hung up my suit for dinner. When the staff member, who had welcomed us, returned he had the key to our room and guided us to our building.
For this trip I booked a junior suite in the Parsonage, which is across the street from the main building. The ground floor featured a large common parlor for guests to enjoy as well as a porch with rocking chairs. Outside of the parlor an arrangement of coffee, tea and light snacks was setup. All of the snacks were made by the Inn's kitchen including cookies and homemade granola bars.
We walked up a staircase to the second floor where our junior suite was located. I booked this room as part of a package, but all of the room rates include dinner for two in their restaurant each evening. The Inn is not inexpensive, but I felt the level of service delivered throughout our stay was worth the cost. I booked a one-night celebration package and the total was just under $1,500. Keep in mind this covered the room, dinner for two (which is normally $218 per person), full breakfast, afternoon tea and all gratuities.
The Parsonage is the newest building in the Inn's portfolio, having been renovated into guest rooms just a few years ago. The room was warm and welcoming and nicely decorated. A worn in leather sofa sat in front of the bed and felt very masculine. No expense was spared furnishing or decorating the room. The bathroom was exquisite, and I don't use that word often. It featured a marble topped vanity, a large walk in shower, massive soaking tub and separate water closet.
In the room a basket of fresh fruit and homemade granola was waiting for us as well as a hand written welcome card from Patrick O'Connel. There's also an assortment of books for guests to enjoy during their stay. When I asked the staff they told me most guests stay one night, a few will spend two nights, but only a handful stay longer than that. The restaurant is the draw, but the entire experience is five stars.
After settling in, we went for a walk to check out Washington, VA. The Inn pretty much is the town, but it has spawned a couple of other small inns and bed and breakfasts for people who want to dine at the Inn, but not stay there. There are a few shops including an art gallery and chocolate and wine shop. Guests are also welcome to walk the grounds at the Inn, which has a working farm and garden. There's a nice walking path that goes around the paddock with sheep and goats. The Inn does arrange excursions to local wineries and it sits in the shadow of Shenandoah National Park, which offers great hiking trails. The staff is happy to make suggestions if you're looking for something to do.
Guests who are staying at the Inn are treated to afternoon tea. Tea is served in a parlor in the main building late each afternoon. Servers present a tea menu with teas from around the world that fit every style of tea drinker. The tea is served along side sweet and savory tea snacks. Tea service takes about an hour and I highly recommend the experience. Aiming to please, the staff will also serve you tea outside if the weather permits or in your room. Not once during our stay did anyone tell us no. Want a cocktail? Not a problem, they'll run it to your room. I also used afternoon tea as an opportunity to talk to the Inn's wine director about a bottle for dinner. They have an amazing wine selection, which I'll cover in the dinner review.
The Inn, like most luxury hotels, offers evening turndown service. Since the Inn knows your schedule, and knows you're at dinner, their timing is impeccable. We returned from dinner to find bottled water at the bedside as well as a decanter of port, two glasses and two sugar cookies, in a dog bone shape, from Patrick O'Connell's dog Luray. The housekeeping staff was one of the best I've ever experienced. Everything was perfect. They even cleaned my sunglasses that I left on the table and placed them on top of an Inn lens wipe towel.
Breakfast is served back in the main building just off the main dining room that they use for dinner. I'm sure they'd serve you in your room or outdoors if you asked. The impeccable service continued. Breakfast started with an array of fresh pressed juices including grapefruit, watermelon, coconut water and I want to say the last one was guava, but I can't recall completely. This was accompanied by fresh pastries, house made granola and yogurt with berries. This continental breakfast is included with room reservations. Since I booked a package, we could also order from the full menu at no additional cost, which also include a la carte pricing. I had the maple pecan waffles with blueberry sauce and my better half enjoyed ricotta pancakes with a blood orange sauce. The waiter also came around with a hot copper pan from the kitchen with fresh chicken sausage and bacon, which was served table side. This meal was a great way to wrap up our stay.
I can't think of any complaints with our stay. I also can't think of anything that could be improved. The level of service and polish the Inn and its staff displayed was exceptional. Attention to detail, even the small details pretty much sums up our experience. I'm working on a different review of the dinner, and will link to that when it's done. You can learn more about the history of the Inn and check out all of the rooms on their website. I give the Inn a highly recommend!