Photo courtesy the Kimpton Banneker Hotel

This Boutique Washington DC Hotel Is Redefining What a 'Business Hotel' Should Be

Washington, D. C. Epic Stays
by Molly O'Brien Feb 22, 2024

The Kimpton Banneker, a boutique Washington, D.C., property in a historic building near Dupont Circle, boasts 144 guest rooms and suites spread out across ten stories. The vibe is modern and trendy, setting a new tone in the heart of a capital city steeped in institutional tradition, and in a great location for both work and play, to boot. There are two on-site restaurants (including a beautiful open-air rooftop terrace) and an impressive range of traveler-friendly amenities for guests to indulge in to enjoy a comfortable visit. It’s also easily accessible to many well-known attractions like the National Mall, the famed cultural institutions of downtown D.C., and the sought-after restaurants and shops of Dupont Circle.

The Banneker blends laid-back artsy ambiance with a sense of minimalistic joy (think abstract art, traditional but eclectic furnishings, and a thought-provoking interior design). Textured materials like corduroys, knits, and velvets, and dark hardwood furniture create a sense of balanced richness and warmth, complemented by impressive views of the neighborhood’s inspiring, traditional 18th-century architecture. All of this comes together in harmony, creating an atmosphere of approachable grandeur.

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Grabbing a bite, on-site at The Kimpton Banneker

restaurant at kimpton banneker hotel

Photo courtesy Kimpton Banneker hotel

Visitors won’t be disappointed with the on-site dining options. Lady Bird Rooftop Lounge wasn’t open while I was visiting due to a private event, but the views from its perch atop the roof are truly beautiful, especially at sunset. I did get to check out Le Sel, helmed by the talented and extremely creative (and exceptionally passionate) Executive Chef Walter Silva. This restaurant feels like stepping foot into a classic, intimate French bistro.

Le Sel translates to “the salt” in French — and whether you’re enjoying a leisurely brunch, a high-powered business dinner, or a romantic date, it’s a great spot to gather over great food with just a touch of added flavor (like when a chef uses a pinch of salt).

The menu features “French food with a twist” in a dimly lit room emitting an air of elegance and class. I admired the sophisticated design details like mosaic-tiled flooring, velvet couches, a dark wooden bar, and large glass French doors that open onto a (dog-friendly) sunny patio when the weather is nice. All of this comes together with a menu of thoughtfully curated delicacies, creating an approachable, international experience in the heart of America’s Capital.

I ordered a few dishes for our table to try — including the Skull Island Prawns, Tuna Tartare, beet salad polonaise, steak au poivre with frites, and expertly braised root vegetables — made with ingredients that are thoughtfully (and locally, when possible) sourced. It was all really tasty, and not too heavy.

Sweet rooms and suites

Photo courtesy the Kimpton Banneker Hotel
Photo courtesy the Kimpton Banneker Hotel
Photo courtesy the Kimpton Banneker Hotel
Photo courtesy the Kimpton Banneker Hotel

When it’s time to relax, sink into one of the guest rooms or suites which feel equal parts “chic apartment” and “high-end art gallery.” Each of the Kimpton Banneker Hotel’s 144 guest rooms, starting at just under $300 per night, boasts a curated collection of abstract art, upscale Frette linens, a well-equipped workspace (this is D.C., after al), and gorgeous materials that balance comfort with style.

Standard rooms feature either two queen beds or a single king-sized bed, measuring around 400 square feet. They’re outfitted with local art, a large flat-screen TV, a dedicated workstation, luxurious bedding and bath amenities, and a plush bathrobe.

Or, upgrade to a “King room with a premium city view” measuring 475 square feet. These rooms feature a single King-sized bed, impressive views from a high floor, a walk-in shower, and everything offered in a standard room.

Those who are feeling especially fancy can browse the selection of “suite-sized” accommodations, which come with larger, upgraded sleeping spaces and extra luxurious amenities. There are also ADA-accessible accommodations.

Over-the-top amenities

lobby at kimpton banneker hotel

Photo courtesy the Kimpton Banneker Hotel

The Kimpton brand hosts an impressive number of unique amenities. My personal favorite on-site amenity as an avid coffee lover was the daily La Colombe coffee and rich hot chocolate for those who aren’t coffee people — paired with all the toppings (think whipped cream, marshmallows, and more). I also appreciated the “Hosted Evening Wine Hour” each night.

For fitness fanatics like myself, the 24/7 Fitness Center has all the trappings of a well-equipped gym. There are multiple cardio machines including a Peloton, and open-air windows allowing for plenty of fresh air circulation. There’s also strength training equipment like kettlebells, dumbbells, and Bosu Balls.

The front desk has “running maps” for those who prefer to pound the pavement outside instead of on the treadmill to get a cardio-heavy sightseeing session exploring the surrounding historic neighborhood. Other recreational amenities include leisure bikes and yoga mats for temporary personal use.

Purrfect pet policies at The Kimpton Banneker hotel

The Kimpton brand is known for boasting an extremely inclusive pet policy. Furry friends won’t be left behind — there’s no size or weight limit or limit on the number of pets allowed with a guest. Perks for pet parents include no deposit or cleaning fees, and dedicated floors for travelers with pets, as well as on-site water bowls and courtesy bags.

Guests also get complimentary access to Wag! Premium during their stay (including 10% off all services booked, waived booking fees, and 24/7 access to licensed veterinary professionals) — a service that connects pet parents with professional pet watchers for walking, pet-sitting, and more.

Family-friendly offerings

Travelers can take advantage of family-friendly children’s amenities at the hotel too, like coloring books, toys, and even kids scooters. One amenity I feel is very modern and extraordinary is the hotel’s complimentary “On-Demand Family Fridge Program,” which helps travelers safely store breast milk. Guests just have to request that a dedicated “Mini Me Milk Fridge” be delivered to their room for personal use, and it’ll be available throughout their visit.

Extra creature comforts

I personally appreciated the “Forgot It, We’ve Got It” toiletry program, which included a range of out-of-the-normal-box amenities for guests to request while visiting which includes seemingly everything — from basics like cell phone chargers, outlet converters, men’s and women’s razors, and toothbrushes and toothpaste, to more obscure stuff I’ve forgotten and wished my past hotels had had on-site like curling and straightening irons and TSA approved liquid bags.

Finally, those who need a bit more “life” in their room can take advantage of Kimpton’s extremely unique “Kimpton Plant Pals Program” and leave a request with the front desk to have a plant placed in their room to “brighten their stay.”

A destination made for work and play

The Kimpton Banneker is redefining what “business travel” is in the modern age. This hotel hosts a destination made for work and play, with restaurants and rooms designed to enjoy an experience (as opposed to just hosting somewhere to sleep). It’s a great spot to spend a night in DC, and you probably won’t want to leave when it is time for work – so post up in the lobby over a cup of La Colombe coffee.

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