“Bonjour!” That’s how you’re greeted at the Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square, located in the heart of the nation’s capital, just two blocks from the White House. The French chain makes sure guests know that while they may be in DC, the hotel’s European elegance is fit for any visiting dignitaries.
The 237 room hotel looks like it has a small footprint when you enter from leafy 15th street, and that perception doesn’t change once you enter the compact but beautiful lobby. Decked out in marble and glass, with coffered ceilings and a welcoming plush teal seating area, it’s on the small side, but the space is used well. Tucked into nooks and crannies are a small library and a business center, and – behind the reception area – meeting rooms.
On either side of the lobby you’ll also find the ICI Urban Bistro, which serves modernized French fare, and the lounge, named simply Le Bar, where leather couches and red accents evoke a Parisian nightclub.
Rooms are simple but go beyond the basics. The 237 rooms (including 16 suites and one presidential suite) are on 12 floors. I was in a Superior double room with an interior view (read: my view was a brick wall) though it was still bright enough that I was thankful for the blackout shades on the windows.
The room was cozy but not cramped. There was plenty of room for two people with lots of luggage. In addition to the two queen beds – topped with Sofitel’s luxurious feathertop and duvet sleep system – there was a club chair in one corner, a work desk and chair on the other side, and a shared nightstand with BOSE radio/iPod dock between the two beds. A small cabinet housed a minibar (including complimentary water). On one wall was a 55in HDTV.
My one gripe was the closet, which was quite small and also held a safe and iron, leaving little room for unpacking and storing clothes; had we been staying longer or packed heavier items like winter coats, storage would have been an issue.
The bathroom, however, wasn’t short on space, with a large vanity, magnifying mirror, separate bath and rainshower, and quality Lanvin amenities.
The hotel offers free wifi, and there’s also an onsite gym; room service is available 24 hours.