A stay at Capella Washington D.C.

Published on: January 4, 2015 | Last Updated on November 30, 2020
Capella Washington D.C. (Photo Credit: Capella Washington D.C.)

Capella Washington D.C. offers bespoke luxury in Georgetown

The one-of-a-kind experience began when our car was whisked away to a garage below the building and we were greeted by name as we entered the door. The ambiance of the property was refined and serene, more akin to entering a luxury residential building than a hotel. After a 5-hour drive from New York, we immediately felt relaxed.

Conveniently located in the heart of Georgetown (close to the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue), Capella Washington D.C. is a boutique hotel on one of the quaint streets lined with architecturally eye-grabbing row houses. Before the building was gutted, redesigned, and opened as a hotel in March 2013, it once housed the Trial Lawyers Association.

The red brick property is bordered by the scenic C&O Canal on one side. Its other side is two short blocks from the redeveloped waterfront district along the Potomac River. Whichever direction you choose to walk, you’ll be only steps away from trendy shops, galleries, entertainment venues, restaurants, cafes and tea rooms. We had lived in the Washington, DC area for many years but hadn’t been back to Georgetown (designated a National Historic District in 1951) for some time. The area was as vibrant as ever.

View of the C&O Canal in Georgetown

View of the towpath along the C&O Canal in Georgetown in winter

Design elements

One unique aspect of the hotel’s layout is a ground floor that is divided into two distinct parts, public and private. The former is comprised of a lounge and restaurant to the right of the lobby that are popular meeting spots for Washington locals.

The sultry Rye Bar is decorated in deep rich colors with clubby leather chairs and a dramatic honey onyx bar with backlighting. The lounge is reminiscent of a place where you might bump into Don Draper. The menu offers a variety of interesting craft cocktails, many featuring rye, bourbon and scotch.

Behind the bar is the Grill Room, an elegant restaurant whose kitchen is in transition, having recently been taken over by James Beard award-winning chef, Frank Ruta. The incoming chef spent ten years at the White House as the personal lunch and dinner chef for the Carter, Reagan and Bush families before launching his own D.C. restaurant, Palena, which closed last April after a successful run of thirteen years.

The Grill Room with outdoor seating overlooking the Canal

The Grill Room with outdoor seating overlooking the Canal

Guests entering the residential portion of the property need to have an electronic  key to open the massive glass doors on the left side of the ground floor. These doors lead to a discreet check-in desk, a Living Room, and a bank of elevators to other floors, an arrangement that offers privacy and security.

Guest experience 

The guest experience is as thoughtfully designed, as was the physical structure. Some standout features that felt very personalized included:

Flexible check-in and check out times

Instead of adhering to rigid hours, guests can arrange to check in and out at their convenience. In addition, the process for checking in and out is seamless.

The Living Room

For guests who want a quiet place to relax, the Living Room on the main floor is inviting with its fireplace, crystal chandelier, comfy chairs and couches, tables, and curated bookshelves. In the morning, one can read the paper here, catch up on work, and enjoy complimentary fresh fruit, coffee and croissants. Throughout the day, coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverages are available at no extra cost. When the Rye Bar was buzzing on a Friday evening, we were happy to have our drinks served in this oasis.

Fireplace in the Living Room

Fireplace in the Living Room

Our room 

Room 406 was blissfully quiet and quite well-appointed with electronic touch panels at both sides of the bed operating the lights and drapery. A thermostat allowed us to adjust the temperature and the King bed was uber-comfortable with fluffy white linens. The technology-rich room also had ample outlets tucked into the nightstand drawers, including one curiously positioned beside the King James Bible.

Our room

Our room

The nightstand drawer

The nightstand drawer

The bathroom was spacious with a huge stall shower, separate water closet, and other nice touches like Italian Acqua de Parma toiletries and an emergency kit with an extra toothbrush and such. 

Personal assistants 

The hotel prides itself on its personal service and has personal assistants available 24/7 to respond to requests. We didn’t get to use the service because all our needs seem to have been anticipated!

In-room spa services

A small fitness center is open 24/7 with a swim-through indoor and heated outdoor pool, and appealing roof lounge and bar with breathtaking views of the Potomac (that we would love to return to in warmer weather.) Because no spa is on site, guests can enjoy the privacy of in-room spa services by appointment including massages, facials, and body, hand and foot treatments.

Lounge area overlooking the Potomac

Lounge area overlooking the Potomac

No extra charges 

Sparkling water and sodas in the minibar were free as was high-speed Internet access. When our personal assistant oriented us to our room, she told us that the only upcharge is for outside telephone service but she couldn’t remember any time when a guest relied on the room phone as opposed to their cells.

The bottom line 

We were charmed by the intimacy, personal service and extraordinary beauty of this five-star gem in the middle of Georgetown. The hotel blends tradition with contemporary comfort in just the right proportions, making it a great choice for a romantic weekend getaway or as a launch pad for longer visits to this monumental city. What could have raised the ante? Only better weather since we visited in winter. We hope to return again when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and Chef Ruta has firmly taken root in the kitchen.

Capella Washington D.C. was named as one of the “Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the United States” in the 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Hotel Awards®.

The Potomac from the promenade at Washington Harbour

The Potomac at dusk from the promenade at Washington Harbour

Tips for Travelers:

  • Ask for a room with a view on the canal side of the building.
  • Room sizes are comparable to that of most urban hotels; if you want to live large, opt for one of the Georgetown Rooms that have separate seating areas.
  • Don’t forget to take a walk along the towpath beside the Canal.
  • Enjoy the views of the Kennedy Center and the Key and Memorial Bridges over the Potomac from the promenade of nearby Washington Harbour.
  • If you are flying to D.C., the hotel is only a 15-minute taxi drive from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.


Capella Washington D.C. Georgetown

1050 31st St NW, Washington DC, DC 20007

Disclosure: We paid a media rate for our stay at Capella Washington D.C. but any opinions expressed in this post are our own.

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    January 5, 2015 at 10:36 am

    We’ve not yet stayed at a Capella hotel, but we understand the brand is exquisite. This hotel looks like just the place to bed down in Washington…

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    January 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    The Capella looks like a great hotel in a great location.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 8, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Yes, it’s a great area filled with interesting architecture and history.

  • Reply
    Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel)
    January 5, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    The cappella looks like the perfect place to stay for cherry blossom season ( on my travel bucket list) And the Rye Bar with its craft cocktails featuring rye, bourbon and scotch sounds like my kind of bar. You sure know how to find some amazing properties!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

      I hope to get back for cherry blossom season, too. Each time I visit DC, I’m awed by this monumental city.

  • Reply
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    January 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Looks like a wonderful experience. Love the swanky, somewhat retro vibe. I’d be hanging out in the bar a lot, not that there’s anything wrong with that! 🙂

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 8, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Wish I had had more time to hang out! Our stay was too brief..

  • Reply
    The GypsyNesters
    January 5, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    What a fantastic place to base a stay in the nation’s capital.

  • Reply
    Linda ~ Journey Jottings
    January 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Well, this certainly looks luxurious Irene –
    What a sumptuous stay you had! 🙂

  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    January 6, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    There were many elements of this hotel that I have never experienced before like being addressed by my name as I entered a lobby, soft drinks in the room or a living room for guests. I can certainly see why you were charmed by the staff, service and setting of this beautiful hotel!!

  • Reply
    January 7, 2015 at 2:55 am


  • Reply
    Kristin Henning
    January 7, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Count me in.

  • Reply
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    January 7, 2015 at 8:13 am

    DC is one of our favorite cities and we’re lucky to have a relative who lives nearby in Alexandria (and close to the metro) who always spreads out the welcome mat when we want to visit. However, I wouldn’t turn down a stay at the very luxurious and welcoming Capella Washington D.C. Hotel either!

  • Reply
    January 7, 2015 at 11:55 am

    “Bespoke luxury in Georgetown,” says a lot. It’s a city that attracts well-heeled travelers from around the world. Sounds like power-people will be seen in the lounge. I love Georgetown and it’s history. Would love to stay there if we ever get to DC.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2015 at 9:32 am

    This hotel sounds fabulous. The next time I’m in the area, I must check it out! How nice that you never needed the personal assistant because everything was perfect.

  • Reply
    alison abbott
    January 8, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    What a lovely spot. My husband went to school in DC and we loved it, but experienced the city on a much different budget. I think it’s time for a return visit and Capella along the Potomac looks like just the place to stay!

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    January 8, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    I love staying in Georgetown. The new Capella hotel is now on my list for my next visit. I especially like the roof lounge and bar with a Potomac view.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 8, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      If you’re headed for the rooftop bar, wait until the weather gets a little warmer! 🙂

  • Reply
    Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it
    January 8, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I can’t count the many times I’ve had to search for an outlet. What a luxury to plug in your phone in that drawer. You had an amazing view of the water that I would love to spend time walking beside.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      I did think that was a handy and unique outlet placement! Thanks for visiting, Neva~

  • Reply
    A Cook Not Mad (Nat)
    January 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    What a beautiful setting. Looks like you would need a wake up call with that comfy looking bed!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Wow even a personal assistant! Must have been pricey though!

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