The Royal Sonesta Washington, D.C, is conveniently located on P Street NW (between 21st and 22nd Streets), just a few blocks from Dupont Circle. Many locals fondly remember the property from its previous incarnation as the Kimpton Hotel Palomar.
An ideal setting
The location of the Royal Sonesta is especially appealing to travelers headed to Washington, D.C., whether for work or pleasure.
The hotel sits in a lively, residential neighborhood whose streets aren’t likely to empty out when the work day (or work week) ends. That’s because the blocks surrounding the hotel are filled with a mix of mid-rise apartments and historical row houses, whose inhabitants include families, couples and singles, a mosaic that reflects the culture and diversity of the city.
The streets just outside the hotel resemble a virtual food court. They’re lined with dozens of cozy restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Some standout eateries, including Al Tiramisu (specializing in authentic Italian fare from the Basilicata region), Duck Duck Goose (a small plate, Parisian-style brasserie), Del Sur Cafe (featuring foods from a panoply of South American countries), and Emissary, an inviting coffee bar and neighborhood meeting place.
Nearby are one-of-a-kind boutiques, book stores (new and second-hand), bakeries, bagel shops, markets, pharmacies and other small businesses.
The walkable streets emanating from Dupont Circle house small museums, art galleries, and a number of foreign embassies housed in gracious mansions with a range of architectural styles, dubbed Embassy Row. Towards the end of the 19th century, these buildings housed some of Washington’s powerbrokers.
Woodrow Wilson spent some years living in the revival style Woodrow Wilson House, which is now open to the public, the only Presidential Museum in D.C. The Heurich House Museum (also called Brewmaster’s Castle) is a well-preserved Victorian mansion that was the home of a German immigrant who ran the city’s longest-operating brewery.
After dark, the Dupont Circle area offers a bit of nightlife at various bars. One stretch of 17th street is known for its gay and lesbian-owned businesses and clubs.
And, of course, located just north of downtown, the hotel affords guests easy access to the District’s Iconic tourist destinations. Notably, the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the White House, Capital One Arena, the 11 Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall, the National Zoo, and the the Kennedy Center—are only a 15-minute Metro ride from the the Dupont Circle Metro Station, which is a short walk from the hotel.
A residential feel
It’s not surprising that the Royal Sonesta feels like a residence because it actually was one. Even after its conversion, the 335 rooms and public spaces still retain an intimate, homey feel.
Initially constructed as an apartment building, the structure was transformed into a hotel in the 1960s, changing hands and getting facelifts multiple times after that. It was rebranded as a Sonesta property in 2019.
Fully renovated in 2016, the guest rooms and suites are furnished with contemporary decor, in soothing blue and beige hues with splashes of bright orange and lemon. Geometric shapes featured in artwork and sculptures add a bit of whimsy. Some rooms have spa tubs, fireplaces and floor to ceiling windows.
The right-sized lobby has comfortable seating around a marble fireplace, a conducive setting for complimentary wine and informal conversation between 5 and 6PM each day. The decor is contemporary with rich walnut paneling punctuated by modern art.
Coffee and tea are available each morning at no extra charge.
The Royal Sonesta Washington, D.C. has 14 categories of rooms. At a modest upcharge to conventional room rates at the hotel, guests can opt for apartment-like rooms that are generously sized at more than 500 square feet. The four categories of suites are especially spacious yet affordable, some with separate living areas.
“Enhance” packages are available at the time of booking that include free valet parking (which is otherwise at a steep price with the 15% DC hotel parking tax added to the cost) and a full breakfast at Certo! restaurant, located on the ground floor of the hotel. The hotel offers a charging station for electric vehicles.
As reported by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher in Forbes a year ago, Sonesta International Hotels has become a quiet giant in the hotel industry and it is continuing to grow exponentially. A small family-owned hotel chain pre-pandemic with only three named properties, the company now owns some 280 full-service and extended-stay properties in eight countries.
The Sonesta brand includes Royal Sonesta, Sonesta Hotel & Resorts, Sonesta ES Suites, Sonesta Posada del Inca and the Sonesta Cruise Collection. At the top of the pack, Royal Sonesta properties promise authentic, local experiences at some of the most desirable travel locations around the globe.
The brand’s loyalty program, Sonesta Travel Pass allows guests to access points, perks and promotions across the brand’s various properties.
Guests are warmly greeted when they arrive at Royal Sonesta Washington D.C and the staff is eager to be helpful throughout their stay, making suggestions about what to see and what to do based on their local knowledge and connections.
At a time when the hotel industry is struggling to recover from the low-occupancy and staff shortfalls created by the pandemic, the staff at Royal Sonesta still manage to maintain an upbeat can-do attitude that makes guests feel at home.