Jacuzzi rooms at the National Harbor
I settle back in my seat to enjoy a long ride from Reagan National Airport to the Gaylord National at National Harbor just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. But 10-minutes later, the affable driver points across the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge to the imposing hotel on the opposite site.
“Already?” I ask. “I thought it would be a long trip.”
“So does everyone, ” he laughs.
I look more carefully. A behemoth glass building with a round scoop of glass looms over the harbor skyline and glistens in the sunlight. Lush grounds kiss the docking area where dozens of small craft are moored. It must be a sight for sore eyes for politic-weary guests who pound the halls of Congress by day or sit in claustrophobic meeting rooms near the Mall.
More like a resort than a city hotel, the huge structure has all the amenities – a spa, large work out room, indoor pool and Jacuzzi, walking/running trails and a variety of restaurants. Although I rarely meet an upscale hotel I don’t love, this one is a cut above – smaller than its big sister, the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, the layout mirrors the lush gardens that bring beauty and nature inside. I pause to watch children play near the large fountain and splash in the water with Cindy, a petit pigtailed 4-year old, whose watchful parents are relaxing nearby.
When I tell her I have to grab some lunch before Pienza Italian Market closes, she pouts. “Will you come play with me tonight?” she asks. “Promise? The waters dance and change colors.”
“I’ll try, ” I tell her, blowing an air kiss. “I’ll look for you.”
Although my intent after lunch is a quick nap, I’m lured outside. Joggers canter along the trail that leads all the way over the Old Alexandria, but these old bones are happier walking, so I stroll along the dock and admire the ships gliding up and down the Potomac. Curious about the new National Harbor area, I turn toward the shops, condos and hotels that are cropping up faster than weeds. A large sign boasts that Disney will bring its magic to the area around 2012 and despite a downturn in the economy, anticipation among the retailers, restaurateurs and hoteliers is palpable.
Time flies and I’m almost late for an aaaaaaaah massage at Relache. Yum. Afterward, I slither upstairs, oiled and relaxed as a noodle and yearn to plop down on my humongous King bed. But no rest for the weary. It’s nearly time to meet friends for dinner downstairs at Moon Bay Coastal Cuisine where we chat, drink and eat late into the night. The crab cakes are the best and freshest I’ve had since my school days in New Orleans when lump crabmeat made a steady appearance on my mother’s culinary repertoire whenever company was invited. I wax nostalgic and wonder if I can find her old recipe.
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