Thompson Washington D.C.
Nautical Ease, $
Washington, D.C., reinvents itself every few years, most often through politics, as one party gives way to the other, but sometimes through geography, as one neighborhood overtakes another in popularity and appeal. Lately, all eyes have been on the Navy Yard, as the spotlight — along with new residential developments, restaurants, and hotels — shifts from the Potomac River in Northwest to the Anacostia River in Southeast.
The new anchor in the neighborhood is Thompson Washington D.C., which opened in early January 2019. I checked in on day two and found an already well-oiled, welcoming, and overall lovely experience. If Washington is no stranger to hot air, this hotel feels like a cool breeze. I could have spent a day in the bright and airy lobby and Thompson Bar Room, which had dozens of seating areas in various arrangements. The nautical vibe throughout — porthole lights in the hallways, framed black-and-white photos of ships and women sailors — is a charming reflection of the area's history that also sets a relaxing tone.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Welcoming and warm, with a strong and chic nautical accent.
Standout Detail: The sunlit lobby for its ample seating arrangements, long bar, and friendly staff.
This Place Is Perfect For: Visitors who want a stylish and cool but totally unpretentious hotel, and anyone else who wants a non-corporate way to rack up Hyatt loyalty points.
Rooms: In total, 225 rooms: 208 doubles, king, and deluxe rooms; fifteen junior suites with a living area; and two one-bedroom suites. I stayed in a deluxe room with a river view and saw all the other categories. The decor, by Parts and Labor Design, has a nautical influence as evidenced by the shapes (lots of curves), furnishings (space is cleverly and efficiently used), fittings (lots of brass), and color palette (navy, gray, and polished wood).
On Site: Spacious and flexible meeting and event facilities (for when those return) are available throughout the hotel, including on the rooftop. There's an on-site fitness center.
Food + Drink: Although the food and beverage outposts are currently on pause due to Covid-19, they're impressive and worth noting. Restaurateur Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group oversees the food and beverage options: On the ground floor, with entrances from the hotel and the street, is Maialino Mare, the Roman-style trattoria where the focus is on seafood and Nancy Pelosi was dining by week one. Executive chef Rose Noel, an alum of sister restaurant Maialino in New York City, dazzled me with her fried baby artichokes and fettuccine with ruby red shrimp and lemon. Anchovy Social on the rooftop has 360-degree views and serves a more casual seafood menu with Maryland crab deviled eggs, smoked trout tin, and lobster roll sliders. Room service is usually available 24 hours per day, but has also been suspended during Covid.
While the restaurants are closed, the hotel is offering free coffee and pastries and limited options from its local restaurant partner, Chloe.
Covid-19 Notes and Protocols: Face coverings are required throughout the hotel in all public areas, indoors and outdoors, and hand sanitizing stations and wipes are available throughout the hotel. Read more about Hyatt's Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment policies.
What to Do Nearby
You could fill a weekend without leaving The Yards, spending time exploring institutions like the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, which includes the Cold War Gallery. Stroll the grounds and splash in the dancing fountains at The Yards Park along the river. Fly through the air with the greatest of ease at Trapeze School New York. Make the most of complimentary access for hotel guest to Capital Bikeshare and explore twenty mile stretch on both sides of the river along Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Make it a good happy hour at District Winery, a working small-batch winery with a restaurant and boutique, or Bluejacket, a brewery and eatery. If you're a baseball fan in town for a Nationals game, I'm pretty sure you can smell the peanuts from the hotel lobby.
The Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro stop is two blocks away, which means zippy access to whatever you want to do and see in town: government buildings and monuments, Dupont Circle and Georgetown, Rock Creek Park and Dumbarton Oaks ... the list goes on. This town had a lot to offer. I was at the museums on the Mall within about ten minutes and spent the day between both wings of the National Gallery of Art and the stunning and moving new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Please note that, as a Covid precaution, most museums in Washington are temporarily closed and many restaurants have limited service. Call ahead for openings and hours of operation.