Alexandria ’s proximity to Washington makes it a day trip for most locals and area visitors; hence it lacks the variety of bed-and-breakfasts and cozy inns usually found in cities of its historic stature like Williamsburg, Virginia, or Savannah, Georgia. A few hotel groups are trying to change this by scooping up interesting properties and renovating them with the aim of luring visitors out of Washington. But exclusivity comes at a price; expect to pay upward of $200 per night, slightly less if you stay on a weekend.
The Morrison House (116 S. Alfred St., 703/838-8000, www.morrisonhouse.com , $240-270), a Kimpton property, is one of these hotels, a Georgian-style manor “home” built in 1985 that fits perfectly amid Revolutionary-era row houses, Carlyle House, and Gadsby’s Tavern just two blocks away. Named as one of Travel + Leisure’s top 500 hotels in the world, Morrison House drips with 18th-century elegance, from the elaborate crown moldings and chandeliers to the fine furnishings and fireplaces found in some guest rooms. The in-hotel restaurant is well-known and popular with locals for an impressive breakfast, and it serves high tea on Saturday. As a Kimpton property, pets are welcome and pampered with treats, dishes, and toys.
For years, the property that is now the Hotel Monaco Alexandria (480 King St., 703/549-6080, www.monaco-alexandria.com , $185-300) was a Holiday Inn, one of the chain’s most popular outlets for its paramount location, on King Street in the heart of Old Town, steps from the waterfront, galleries, shopping, nightlife, and restaurants. A luxurious redesign has melded funk and tradition; exposed brick and 1920s-style furnishings are combined with a colorful paint palette, vibrant print fabrics, and decorative arts. Some guest rooms have outdoor balconies overlooking a central courtyard; suites have private bedrooms with a door separating it from the living space. Hotel Monaco also has an indoor pool and is pet-friendly, without size restrictions.
The chic Lorien Hotel & Spa (1600 King St., 703/894-3434, www.lorienhotelandspa.com , $200-400) is another Kimpton boutique hotel with the only hotel spa in Old Town. Located less than a mile from the Potomac River, closer to the King Street Metro stop than Kimpton’s other hotels in Alexandria, the Lorien has 107 guest rooms and suites with contemporary furnishings in a color palette of soothing blues and pale grays. The full-service spa has treatment rooms, lockers, and a steam room. The hotel also has an on-site fitness center. Guest can linger in the courtyard with its pedestal clock and fire pit.
For convenient access to the Washington Metro as well as Old Town, the Embassy Suites (1900 Diagonal Rd., 703/684-5900, www.alexandriaoldtown.embassysuites.com , $220-240) delivers, just steps to the King Street Metro stop and blocks from the bustle of the historic district. This all-suites hotel suits families and is popular with business travelers, featuring an afternoon manager’s reception, made-to-order breakfasts, suites with private bedrooms, a pool, and a fitness center.