Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

Cherry Blossoms on Parade

March 21, 2012
Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

Cherry Blossoms

2012 marks the 100 anniversary of Washington’s most famous symbol of spring – the cherry trees that line the tidal basin and several other spots around the city. In 1912, the first cherry trees arrived as a gift from the Mayor of Tokyo, Japan.

To celebrate the centennial, Washington is celebrating with a 5 week festival. Highlights of this year’s Cherry Blossom festival include:

The National Park Service offers Cherry Blossom related events including lantern tours and ranger-led bike tours. Bike n Roll and Capital Bikeshare offer great options for bikes if you’re not traveling with your own bike – just be prepared for the crowds on the Mall.

Beyond the Mall, you can explore more about the Japanese culture and the cherry trees as a symbol of friendship:

  • Samurai Cinema at National Geographic as they screen three classics of Japanese cinema as part of the Samurai: The Warrior Transformed Exhibit.
  • The Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center offers free daily performances at 6 pm (free shuttle buses from Foggy Bottom metro) including kyogen – a traditional Japanese comic theater.
  • The Library of Congress offers curator tours, lectures and a Japanese culture day related to the “Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship” exhibit in the Jefferson Building.

Plan your trip today (check out the No Worries Weekend Getaway and the Family Fun Package), and be sure to stop by 14K Restaurant & Lounge and enjoy a relaxing drink on the patio while you’re here.


Sun Trust Rock n Roll Marathon

January 30, 2012

Are you in the middle of your training for the SunTrust Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon USA or half marathon in Washington, DC on March 17th?


If you need help to make the most of your treadmill running over the winter, check out for some assistance  – Think Outside the Mill: How to Make the Most of Treadmill Running.  We hear the DC courses tend to be hilly, so definitely get some hill work in. The final course map will be available soon.

Meet your fellow runners

Keep up with your fellow runners on Twitter and on Facebook and be sure to share your training tips and advice.

Where to stay

When you’re ready to book your room, remember that the Hamilton Crowne Plaza is across the street from McPherson Square metro, right on the Orange and Blue line that will take you straight to the starting line at RFK Stadium (Metro Station: Stadium Armory).  We have special rates and packages just for Sun Trust Rock N Roll USA participants.  Our Sleep Advantage program will ensure you get a good night’s rest with our plush bedding and special sleep CD. Our guaranteed wake-up calls will get you up and out to the race on time in the morning.

14K Restaurant & Lounge offers great dining options for your pre-race dinner or a relaxing meal in your room after the event.

Fall Fun and Festivals in Washington DC

October 4, 2011

Fall is one of our favorite times in Washington DC. The heat and the crowds are gone, so you can enjoy the best of the city. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in October.  

Fall Foliage

Enjoy the fall foliage along the C&O Canal National Historic Park starting in Georgetown and stretching for 13 miles to Great Falls Park in Northern Virginia.

Explore Rock Creek Park – a park in the middle of the city offering walking, jogging and bike trails – even a stable.

Visit the US National Arboretum  and enjoy the Orchid show and sale or just take a walk around the grounds and enjoy the fall foliage and the seasonal blooming plants including hibiscus, autumn crocuses, water lilies, camellias, chrysanthemums, boxwood and more.

Take a walk at the National Zoo in the crisp fall weather (and maybe even smaller crowds).


Enjoy the Halloween Film Festival at American Film Institute in Silver Spring. This year includes a special tribute to Vincent Price, plus the annual showing of the silent Nosferatu accompanied by live music. Halloween night brings a live interactive show of “The Tingler.”

Visit the National Zoo the evening of October 21, 22 or 23 with Boo at the Zoo and get treats and see the animals at night.

Take a walking tour and visit Washington’s most haunted houses including the Octagon House.


Looking to celebrate Oktoberfest? The Post’s Going Out Guru’s recommend the best in DC including Beirgarten Haus.

For German culture, including film, games and yes, Oktoberfest, visit the Goethe Institute.

Check out our specials and make your reservations now.

MLK Foundation Announces Changes to the Dedication Weekend Plans

August 26, 2011

We’ve had an exciting week in Washington DC – experiencing our first earthquake in over 100 years and awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

With all this in mind, the MLK Foundation along with the National Park Service, FEMA, and the DC mayor’s office have arrived at the very difficult conclusion that the weather conditions for the MLK Dedication weekend could pose a severe threat to the safety of the general public. Mr. Harry Johnson, Sr. President and CEO of the Foundation announced that “it is with a heavy heart and enormous disappointment that we announce that, in the interest of public safety, we are forced to change our plans.”

All scheduled events for Friday will continue as planned including the Partners In the Dream MLK Store and the Women Who Dare to Dream Luncheon, both being held at the Washington Convention Center. The last official event of the Dedication Week will be the National Prayer Service that will be held on Saturday at the Basilica on the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Please note that the Prayer Service was moved to the National Shrine from the National Cathedral.

The National Park Service will open the Memorial to the public on Saturday from 7:00 am until 12:00 noon, weather permitting.

The official dedication that was to be held on Sunday will be postponed to a later date in the fall.  An official announcement will be made by the MLK Foundation once a date has been confirmed. For more information, please visit

Washington in Bloom!

March 21, 2011

Cherry Blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington DCSpring has officially arrived which means the Cherry Blossoms won’t be far behind. An annual tradition in Washington, the Cherry Blossom Festival will have a different feel this year in light of recent events in Japan. The cherry trees were a gift from Japan in 1912. The first lady and the wife of the Japanese ambassador planted the first two cherry trees along the Tidal Basin.

Luckily the weather has cooperated this year, and the National Park Service is predicting that peak blooms should fall during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, March 26 through April 10. There are free daily performances at the Sylvan Theater

The traditional Sakura Matsuri festival on April 9 at 12th & Pennsylvania Avenue will charge a $5 admission fee for the first time, with a portion of the fee donated to earthquake relief efforts.

On Thursday, March 24, there will be a walk around the Tidal Basin to remember those affected by the earthquake. The walk will start at 6:30 pm south of the Washington Monument near the Sylvan Theater.

The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile / 5 K is scheduled for Sunday, April 3. The race is sold out well in advance, so if you haven’t already signed up, you should make plans to cheer on the runners. If you are running, consider staying downtown with us to avoid Metro delays on race day.

Post-race or anytime during the festival stop by the patio at 14K Restaurant for cherry-themed drink specials and dishes.

The National Park Service offers a variety of special Cherry Blossom related daily activities around the Tidal Basin including Ranger-led talks. 3.5 mile runs, bicycle tours, lantern walks, and a junior ranger activity tent for children 6-12.

The festival closes with the Cherry Blossom Parade on April 9 down Constitution Avenue.

Washington’s Winter Wonderland

December 6, 2010

You might not always think of Washington DC to bring out the Christmas spirit, but there’s plenty going on here to make planning a special trip worthwhile. If you have a free weekend during the holidays, come see what we have to offer (and it’s more than our special rates).

Concierge Picks

Pageant of Peace – Each year the President attends the lighting of the National Christmas Tree Ceremony in the Ellipse behind the White House. This year’s celebration is scheduled for Thursday, December 9 and includes a concert as well as the tree lighting ceremony. Nightly concerts continue throughout the holiday season.

Holiday Pops – A perennial favorite, the National Symphony Orchesta’s Happy Holidays concert conducted by Marvin Hamlisch includes a sing-along, a Hanukkah song written by Marvin for the occasion, and a host of special guests including Saint Nick himself.

The Nutcracker – The Washington Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker at the Warner Theater casts George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker and England’s King George as the Rat King and has quickly become a Washington holiday tradition.

Holiday Celebrations

NPR’s Jazz Piano Christmas – on Saturday, December 11 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts brings out top jazz artists to perform their favorite holiday songs. The program is recorded for broadcast on NPR.

The National Gallery of Art offers free concerts in the West Garden Court of the West Building on Sunday evenings.  The December schedule includes the Jakov Kakoulov and other Jewish composer, Christmas Carols and a Holiday concert including music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Washington National Cathedral offers Holiday concerts including The Joy of Christmas on December 11 & 12.

Hanukkah begins December 1 and the National Menorah will be lit on the Ellipse near the White House.


Enjoy ice skating in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art. Weather permitting, the rink opens in mid-November. Skate rentals are available for $3, and a two-hour skating session is $7 for adults and $6 for children and seniors.

ZooLights – the National Zoo’s annual winter celebration when they light up the Zoo and stay open after dark, offering special keeper talks and live entertainment runs December 3 – January 1.

New Year’s Eve

And of course for New Year’s there’s our very own New Year’s Eve Casino Night at 14K Restaurant. You can come just for the party or enjoy the full package that includes a stay at the hotel, breakfast and late check-out. The party includes:

  • full  open bar
  • hors d’oeuvres
  • table games, prize
  • DJ and dancing
  • souvenir hats and horns
  • champagne toast at midnight.

Spend Fall in Washington DC

September 14, 2010

Fall is a perfect time to visit Washington – Congress is back in session, the students return to class, and the Redskins get back to business. Here are a few of our favorite fall events that we hope you can join us for:

Book Festival

The 10th annual National Book Festival organized by the Library of Congress will be held Saturday, September 25th on the National Mall from 10 am to 5:30 pm.  The festival is organized into Pavilions such as History & Biography, Teens & Children, Fiction & Mystery, Contemporary Life and Children where authors read from their works and take questions. Many of the authors are also available for book signings (see the schedule for details). This year’s authors include Diana Gabaldon, Elizabeth Kostova, Scott Turow, Chef Spike Mendelsohn, Suzanne Collins, Margarita Engle, Jonathan Frazen and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Marine Corps Marathon & 10K

Miss the registration for the Marine Corps Marathon? Registration for the 10K is still open for the same day – Sunday, October 31. The 10K course follows the marathon course across the 14th Street Bridge into Crystal City.  There, the 10K course diverts from the marathon by making a left onto 15th Street.  After arriving at the Pentagon, 10K runners will complete their 6.2 miles in parallel to the Marine Corps Marathon, finishing at the Marine Corps War Memorial.  And if you’re not a runner, get out there and cheer them on.

We have special rates for runners participating in any of the Marine Corps Marathon weekend events – give us a call and ask about our specials.

Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day on November 11th is a time to remember those who have served their country. Wreath laying ceremonies are held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Navy Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery.

Summer in the City

August 2, 2010

August is a great time to visit Washington. There’s less traffic as many Washingtonians head to the beach plus lots of cultural events designed for summer travelers.

See our current specials to plan your trip now and don’t miss our favorite August happenings around town including:

Legg Mason Tennis Classic – See top tennis players including Andy Roddick, John Isner, and Radek Stepanek play at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park July 31 – August 8.

Restaurant Week –  try some of Washington’s best restaurants at a discount August 16 – 22, including our own 14K restaurant. Special 3 course menus are $20.10 for lunch and $35.10 for dinner.

Mary Poppins at the Kennedy Center –   any visit to Washington DC should include the free tour of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and this August you can also see the hit Broadway musical Mary Poppins through August 22.

Avenue Q at the Harman Center for the Arts through August 15. (Just make sure you understand the content – just because it’s puppets, it’s not necessarily family oriented entertainment.)

Dog Days of Summer

Remember that the Hamilton Crowne Plaza is a pet friendly hotel – we welcome your traveling companion. So do many of the local restaurants with outdoor seating areas including Blue Duck Tavern and Zatinya.

A Capitol Fourth

June 21, 2010

Fourth of July FireworksI would put spending the Fourth of July in Washington DC on any  list of travel experiences not to be missed.

If you’re joining us this year (and we still have some rooms available including some special package deals if you haven’t made plans yet), here are a few of our favorite tips for having a great day.

Pace yourself

It’s generally hot in Washington and there’s a lot to see and do. Take a break, drink plenty of water, and be sure to get out of the sun for a while. If you’re at the Hamilton Crowne, you’ll be close enough to walk or metro back to the hotel without a lot of hassle.

Have a plan

If you are planning to take metro, remember to have enough on your card for a round trip. Remember that the hotel is located closest to McPherson Square Metro but is also a quick walk from Farragut West (also on the Orange & Blue lines) as well as Farragut North (on the Red line). Make sure everyone in your party knows the address of the hotel in case you get separated and you have a designated meeting point (we recommend the patio at 14K so you can enjoy a refreshing drink and a snack while you wait for the rest of your group to arrive).

Enjoy yourself

  • The National Archives – Enjoy a special Fourth of July celebration  with extended hours and activities all weekend where you can see the Charters of Freedom exhibit featuring the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. At 10 a.m. on the Fourth, there will be a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by historical re-enactors.
  • 4th of July Parade – Stake our your viewing spot early along Constitution Avenue for the 4th of July parade to enjoy the bands and floats.
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival – This year’s festival centers around the themes of The Smithsonian Inside Out, Mexico, and Asian Pacific Americans. There’s a full schedule of events for the fourth of July as the entire weekend. See the full schedule.
  • Concert on the Mall – Jimmy Smits will be hosting the Capitol Fourth concert and will feature performances by Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band and the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.
  • Fireworks – The Examiner offers a great review of where to get the best vantage point for viewing the fireworks.  If you’re planning to attend the Concert on the Mall or watch the fireworks, keep in mind that there may be restrictions as to what you can take through the security checkpoints (such as no furniture or alcohol).

Happy Fourth!

Cherry Blossoms in Bloom

March 5, 2010

Earlier this week, the National Park Service made their forecast and are now predicting that the Cherry Blossoms will reach their peak bloom April 3 – 8, 2010.

This is great news as the Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for March 27th – April 11, 2010.

Here are a few of our  favorite activities you can enjoy during Cherry Blossoms:

  • Free 3-hour ranger-led bike tours on the National Mall every Sunday from 1 – 4 p.m. departing from the Jefferson Memorial. Participants must provide their own bike, helmet and water.
  • Ranger led discussions about the historical and natural significance of the cherry trees, on the hour at the Jefferson and Roosevelt memorials.
  • Evening ranger-guided lantern walks – experience the cherry trees by soft light of a lantern during these two hour strolls.
  • Daily performances at the Target performance stage at Sylvan Theatre including Japanese cultural groups and local acoustic musicians.
  • Watch the Cherry Blossom Parade on Saturday, April 10th starting at 10 am as it heads down Constitution Avenue.
  • Join 20 of Washington’s hottest chefs at the Pink Tie Party and enjoy cherry inspired dishes and cocktails – all for a good cause.
  • Enjoy a Japanese street festival on Saturday April 10th. (Go early – this gets crowded.)
  • If the crowds at the Tidal Basin overwhelm you, retreat to the Freer & Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian to enjoy their collection of Asian art. They currently have an exhibit of Japanese ceramics on display.
  • Stop by one of the local tea shops Teaism for a bento box and a refreshing cup of tea.
  • Enjoy a cherry-inspired cocktail in the lounge at 14K.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a popular time to visit Washington, so we recommend making your reservations now.

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