Set along DC’s blossom-blessed waterfront, the Pendry Washington DC boasts 12 floors in an inverted-pyramid build, plus sweeping Potomac views, gold-splashed interiors and a speakeasy-style bar. But the Pendry’s designers have thought beyond meticulously styled rooms and rooftop restaurants, for every corner has been built with a subtle nod to the American capital's storied past: limestone accents draw inspiration from the National Mall, the lobby’s Parisian influences pay homage to DC’s creator, Pierre L’Enfant, and on the 12th floor, an impressive collection of candid presidential shots show Obama out for a swim, Ford getting groceries, a young Biden greeting Pendry founder Alan Fuerstman, and JFK snacking on ice-cream. So, as you roam feather-patterned halls and lounge poolside, keep an eye out for the Pendry’s eccentric odes to this historic hub.
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A freshly-baked loaf of bread from the in-house pastry chef
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from £287.30 ($350), including tax at 15.95 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $34.79 per room per night on check-in.
Rates exclude breakfast, but à la carte options are available in Flora Flora from $16.
There are a number of rooms, studios and suites that have all been adapted for those with reduced mobility (accessible bathrooms with roll-in showers and handrails, lowered wardrobe rods and light switches). Shared spaces are also wheelchair-friendly and the Wharf has been built in compliance with all ADA guidelines.
At the hotel
Spa, gym, e-bikes to borrow, a Cadillac house car for rental (subject to availability), free WiFi throughout. In rooms: HD TV, Bluetooth speakers, minibar, tea- and coffee-making kit, free bottled water, and MiN New York toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms are quirky sizes, courtesy of the building’s pyramid shape, and are dressed with calming tones, polished parquet flooring, arched entrances and steel-cast four-poster beds. But if you’re here for sweeping views, we’d recommend a 12th-floor River View Suite, where windowed walls open up the bright space to views over the Potomac, in the spring Haynes Point’s cherry blossoms are also in sight.
Bordered by black-and-white-striped loungers and cabanas, the outdoor pool is on the second floor’s river-facing terrace. During the summer, a live DJ amps up the ambience as DC’s weather peaks, but the pool is open year-round (from 7am to 8pm) in case you’re tempted by a session in the hot tub.
Seek out serenity on the second floor, where you’ll find Spa Pendry (open from 10am to 6pm), with four solo treatment rooms, one couples’ room, and massage chairs set against flowing water-walls with free-to-use weighted blankets. Book in for detoxifying facials, hot-stone massages, renewing body scrubs and CBD therapies. There’s also a spacious gym, decked out with Technogym equipment, Pelotons and Theraguns.
A camera and notepad, there’s lots to learn and more to see. But, otherwise, pack light and leave room for funky M Street finds.
Floor-to-ceiling windows aren’t tough to find here, so pick a seat overlooking the water for pastel-hued sunsets.
You aren’t in the Capitol, so no need for a buttoned-up suit and tie here. Anything that hits the mark on chic and comfortable will blend in best.
The Pendry has two restaurants. On the top floor, view-graced Moonraker offers a menu of Japanese-inspired light dishes from chef Barry Koslow. Tempura cauliflower topped with roasted cashews; shiitake yakisoba; salmon sashimi; and chilli-fried shrimp dumplings are all carefully paired with a selection of traditional sakes. For something a little more relaxed, head to Flora Flora on the second floor. Here, a Latin American menu serves up huevos rancheros and egg-white frittatas for breakfast, rockfish tacos and quesadillas for lunch, and duck-based chaufa, freshly marinated fish and barbacoa-style tacos for dinner, all paired with a plate of yukon-fried potatoes.
Within Moonraker, a central bar serves the rooftop and restaurant with Japanese-style highballs, traditional sakes and beers, plus classic cocktails. Hidden behind the lobby, speakeasy-style Bar Pendry has an all-American feel, with fringed lights, mahogany walls, a dark-marble bartop and a private room set behind red-velvet curtains. Handcrafted cocktails are poured from 3pm to midnight, Thursday to Monday and until 10pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Dinner in Moonraker is from 4pm to midnight Tuesday to Thursday (1am on Friday and Saturday). Flora Flora serves breakfast 7am to 10.30am (11am on weekends); lunch, 11.30am to 2.30pm (noon to 3pm on weekends); dinner, 5pm to 10pm (11pm on weekends).
In-room dining is served round the clock from Flora Flora’s menu; after 10pm, a late-night menu is available.
Set on the Wharf, the city’s newest waterfront development, the Pendry Washington DC is five minutes south of the National Mall in the country's capital.
Most European hubs (London, Paris, Munich and Brussels) fly directly into Dulles International Airport, a 30-minute drive from the hotel. If you’re travelling within the States, Ronald Reagan Airport is a shorter 10-minute drive from the Wharf. The hotel can organise private transfers from both airports.
The Wharf is close to a number of DC’s metro stations, including L’enfant Plaza and Waterfront Station, both a few minutes’ walk from the Pendry. If you’re travelling into the city by train, you’ll arrive into Union Station, a 15-minute drive away. Private transfers from here can be arranged for between $15 and $25.
DC’s subways are very reliable, so you’re unlikely to need a set of wheels. But if you’d rather feel the wind in your hair, there are a number of car-hire booths at both airports and the hotel has valet parking for $75 a night.
The Wharf runs a water-taxi service from Wednesday to Sunday, that connects the waterfront to Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria and the National Harbour. The first taxi leaves the Wharf for Alexandria and the National Harbour at 11.45am and the last leaves at 7.45pm (8.45pm on weekends). If you’re heading to Georgetown, the first taxi departs at 12.30pm and the last leaves at 4.30pm (6.30pm on weekends).
Worth getting out of bed for
Of course, you have all the DC classics: the National Mall, flanked by the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, as well as Capitol Hill and the White House are all a 20-minute walk from the Pendry. You’ll also find Smithsonian museums dotted around this area, and if these troves of national treasures overwhelm you, we’d recommend the Renwick as a starting point.
But if you’re looking for places that have more locals sipping gin Rickeys than tourists picking up mini monuments, then check out exhibitions at kaleidoscopic Blind Whino; or, stay on the art scene, and admire ever-changing street-art displays along the Dupont Underground. Shoppers should head to Georgetown, where suburban M Street is lined with locally-loved boutiques. On the waterfront, events are always on the go; boat parades fill December’s calendar, an annual jazz festival is on in September, food markets are held throughout the year, and during summer locals head to the water for paddleboarding and kayaking.
Continue the Pendry’s waterfront theme and head to Hank’s Oyster Bar, helmed by chef Jamie Leeds, who has curated a menu of freshly-grilled fish, barbecued and in-broth oysters and lobster bisque, all paired with a selection of signature cocktails. For something a little less fishy, sample Albi’s Michelin-starred Med menu or French favourites at Le Diplomate.
Bordered by hard-to-miss turquoise tiling, Colada has your morning caffeine dose covered, pairing it with brimming breakfast sandwiches and tasty tostadas. For smoothies, juices and healthy breakfast bowls, head to Toastique.
The Wharf has bars in abundance; Officina serves custom cocktails on a flower-graced rooftop with fire pits and views over the water. For an apéritif that will impress, 12 Stories has panoramic Potomac views and a locally-loved menu of classic cocktails and light bites.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this waterfront wonder in Washington DC and unpacked their cherry-blossom seeds and presidential postcards, a full account of their Capitol break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Pendry in Washington DC…
When you think of America’s capital, it’s likely a metropolis buzzing with pushy men in power suits rather than days lulling by the waterfront and sipping wine in the sun. And though that may not be entirely incorrect of Downtown DC, the folks at the Pendry have a different story to tell. Its eccentric interiors offer inventive odes to the District’s history, and its windowed walls are graced with views of flowering cherry-blossoms and bobbing boats. But, the second floor is where you’ll feel furthest from the city’s serious side, where a spacious spa houses five private treatment rooms, an outdoor pool is flanked with black-and-white cabanas and DJ decks for summer sessions, and funky checked tiling fittingly sets the scene at relaxed restaurant Flora Flora. The capital’s chilling out, and the Pendry is leading this mellow march.