Step from the jammed up streets of D.C. into the Omni Shoreham’s lovely and enormous lobby and it really does feel like you’ve arrived at a resort. It’s the towering ceiling, the chandeliers, and the sheer expanse of lobby leading back, down through the dining room and out the French doors to the terrace and the acres of landscaped lawns, all backing up to Rock Creek Park. Truly, one of the pleasures of staying here is exploring the premises. Poke your head in the Palladian Ballroom to inspect its muralled scenes of Monticello; the Palladian and the Diplomat (modeled after the East Room of the White House) ballrooms were spruced up in 2013. The Omni was built in 1930 as a hotel and apartment building, so its guest rooms are of varying sizes and interesting shapes. For best views and quiet, ask for a parkview room at the back of the house, preferably with a balcony (15% of the rooms have them), and within sight of the Washington Monument. You should also sign up (it’s free) for the Omni Select Guest Loyalty program, which allows you a complimentary bundle of worth-it privileges, such as Wi-Fi, morning beverage room service, pressing service, and shoe shine. The Omni attracts a lot of groups, thanks to its size (11 acres, 836 rooms, 24 meeting rooms, several ballrooms), but families love it, too, for its large seasonal pool and smaller kiddie pool, children’s amenities (backpack of games given at check-in, cookies and milk delivered on the first evening), its onsite restaurants, and its proximity to Rock Creek Park and the National Zoo.
- Elise Hartman Ford