Historic Grandeur and a Chef of Your Own
There are more than one reason to stay at Morrison House, A Kimpton Hotel on your next visit to the capital: location, genteel hospitality and cuisine being just a few. Built like an 18th-century Federal residence, Morrison House is situated in historic Old Town Alexandria, VA, just minutes away from national landmarks and only ten minutes from Downtown D.C. The Relais & Châteaux member has a fine staff with decades of experience in some of the finest establishments of the world. To be member of the exclusive group, a property has to exemplify the five "C'"s of courtesy, charm, character, calm and cuisine.
Upon arrival, guests need not check in but are whisked by a butler directly to their rooms, which are decorated prettily with French toile, exotic animals, Old Town Scottish plaids, English garden florals and Frette linen and furnished with fine Federal-period reproductions including mahogany four-poster beds, Italian marble baths and brass chandeliers. Designed to evoke an 18th-century Grand Manor, the intimate 45-room hotel has a warm feeling of an elegant home away from home.
Dining is where it gets really interesting. In lieu of a regular menu, Morrison House's Dining Room features "A Chef of Your Own," which allows guests to collaborate with executive chef Gian Piero Mazzi to create a meal that suits their craving that night. Each meal is unique, as even though people may choose, say, a steak or some fresh fish, the preparation will differ from table to table. The kitchen stays excited that way, cooking "expressionist" or improv-style and making the food "sharper" (according to Mazzi) and they claim to be "fanatically shopping every day" for fresh and seasonal ingredients. Chef Mazzi showcased his skill at the James Beard House this year.
Business travelers find the location convenient, as they are close to Ronald Reagan National Airport and the Capitol; while those in town for sightseeing find that they are just a stroll from antique stores, arts and shopping in Alexandria, the more than 250 years old hometown of George Washington. Worth a visit, for instance, just a mile from the Potomac River, is the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, and then there's Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site at 4301 W. Braddock Rd.