Staying close is the new traveling

It’s time to live like a tourist and indulge in the services and amenities these 10 luxurious venues have to offer.

MGM National Harbor
Photo courtesy of MGM National Harbor

Our region is home to numerous world-class resorts, spas and inns, so there’s no need to go elsewhere for a quick getaway. It’s time to live like a tourist and indulge in the services and amenities these 10 luxurious venues have to offer.

MGM National Harbor

The latest hotel to ramp up chatter in the area is MGM National Harbor. Just like any casino, you don’t have to step foot out the door to find entertainment or fine dining. Along with the slots, poker and table games, the casino also lays claim to nine dining options—from Fish by Jose Andres and Voltaggio Brothers Steak House to a sports bar, fry bar, Shake Shack and a market and patisserie—a bevy of in-house retail (SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker), a spa and fitness center and a salon. And let’s not forget the rotating roster of musicians and artists who will be playing at the area’s newest entertainment venue. This month features Idina Menzel (July 9), The Who (July 18), Theresa Caputo (July 19-20), Prince Royce (July 27) and Journey (July 28).

What To Do: Stay in and gamble responsibly.

The Inn at Little Washington

Lauded with some of the top food awards in the world, The Inn at Little Washington is a respite from chaotic life in Northern Virginia. And while the dining options from chef Patrick O’Connell bring in the accolades, he has also focused on creating a retreat. His work with London designer Joyce Conway Evans on the six guest options (the Inn, with eight guest rooms and four suites, plus five separate houses and cottages) brings history to life: The rooms honor food celebrities, and each room has its own little library with books about the person. Upon arrival guests receive a complimentary cocktail and are treated to afternoon tea and continental breakfast throughout their stay. Bicycles are available to glide through the small town and visit the tavern shops sprinkled about.

What To Do: Explore wineries, Luray Caverns, Skyline Drive and Sperryville.

Salamander Resort and Spa
Photo by Justin Kriel
Salamander Resort and Spa

It seems like everything Sheila Johnson touches turns into luxury. The founder of Salamander Resort and Spa put elegant touches on this estate in Middleburg. A rural retreat, Salamander is an oasis for foodies, adventure-seekers and equestrians. Along with the accommodations found in 168 guest rooms, 17 suites and an owner’s suite—all suites and select guest rooms outfitted with fireplaces—guests can take part in an interactive cooking studio or dine at Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill. The estate offers equestrian activities for riders of all ages and zip line excursions right on property. For those seeking solitude, the spa, with a full-service salon, fitness center and private outdoor heated pool, offers top-notch services with special offers featured each month.

What To Do: Take in the area that the Kennedys once frolicked in. Middleburg’s quaint downtown holds boutiques, galleries and dining options and is surrounded by Virginia wine country.

The Jefferson
Photo courtesy of The Jefferson
The Jefferson Hotel

Considered the third-best hotel in the nation, The Jefferson Hotel is a small luxury hotel that acts as a mini museum of its namesake, Thomas Jefferson. On display are signed documents from our nation’s third president. Built in the early 1920s with a beaux-arts design, today’s hotel still holds all the charms of its founding. A renovation in 2009 brought it into modern times with a focus on upgrades to its 99 guestrooms and more. The hotel is also home to the Michelin-starred Plume and cocktail bar Quill. And the intimate overtures of the hotel continue into The Petit Spa, where the pampering is offered to a handful of clients at a time, making sure to give focused attention.

What To Do: Be a typical tourist and take in the history of our nation’s capital.

The Hay Adams
Photo courtesy of The Hay Adams
The Hay-Adams

This luxury spot in Lafayette Square sits on the property where John Hay’s and Henry Adams’ homes once stood. And keeping with the traditions of its namesakes, the hotel, along with being a place for presidents—President Barack Obama stayed here for two weeks prior to his inauguration—and an award-winning hotel on the Historic Hotels of America list, hosts an author series harking back to the late 1800s, when Hay and Adams would host intellectuals like Mark Twain, Edith Wharton and Henry James for discussions and social gatherings.

What To Do: Continue on a literary path by taking in history at the National Archives and the Library of Congress; visiting the sites of literary greats, such as Frederick Douglass’ home; and surrounding yourself with today’s intellectual minds at Politics & Prose or Busboys & Poets.

Lansdowne Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of Lansdowne Resort and Spa
Lansdowne Resort and Spa

Lansdowne Resort and Spa takes away all the questioning of what to do after you book your accommodations. The resort, located on almost 500 acres, boasts a multitude of on-site entertainment options like 45 holes of championship golf on three courses, footgolf, hiking and biking trails, tennis, a spa, pools and cabanas and winery tours. And after a day of sportsmanship, options are plenty for dining: casual at Coton & Rye, local tastes at Piedmont’s Table, quick bites at Riverside Hearth or imbibing at Pub 46 Lounge.

What To Do: Hit up the antique shops in Leesburg and Lucketts or get some discount shopping done at the nearby Premium Outlets.

The Alexandrian

What used to be Hotel Monaco is now The Alexandrian under the Marriott Autograph Collection brand. Though the name has changed, the location and decadence has stayed the same. Right on King Street in Old Town, The Alexandrian offers vibrant pops of color in decor and avant-garde spaces in the guest rooms and suites. The indoor pool is ripe for relaxation after stomping the cobblestone streets of Old Town Alexandria, and dining at the adjacent Jackson 20 is a must for anyone in the historic city.

What To Do: There is plenty of shopping, but since this is a vacation, take advantage of all the tours the city hosts: Mercy Street-focused ones, ghost tours and the African-American history tours through Manumission Tour Company.

Walden Hall
Photo courtesy of Walden Hall
Walden Hall

When you visit Walden Hall, a luxury bed-and-breakfast at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you may be reminded of author Henry David Thoreau, whose book Walden inspired the 10-acre retreat. Living simply in nature is all too easy with the stocked 2-acre pond, the saltwater pool surrounded by gardens and an open field with a fire pit for a cozy evening of stargazing, and it won’t get crowded—the house holds only five guest rooms. And even though nature is the primary focus, there are indoor amenities: The Club offers games and a movie theater; the Lounge allows for relaxation with a seat in front of the fire or a friendly game of chess. And for luxury treatments, in-room massages and facials are available.

What To Do: Visit downtown Culpeper, sample wine and beer at breweries and vineyards, go hiking or kayaking or travel Skyline Drive.

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner
Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner
The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner

Who would think to have a staycation in Tysons Corner, the place you either work or try to avoid? Now is the time to do it: The area has gone through, and continues to go through, a major overhaul, just like The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. All 398 guest rooms and suites recently went through a multimillion-dollar renovation to bring a nod to Paris to Northern Virginia’s urban spot. While the adjoining Tysons Galleria may tempt you to exit the hotel halls, the spa will make you want to spend all your time in the indoor pool or book an array of treatments, and the afternoon teas and happy hours may keep you tucked into a seat at the lounge.

What To Do: Tysons isn’t just about shopping: Get tickets to a 1st Stage Tysons performance, or catch a show at nearby Wolf Trap.

Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa
Photo courtesy of Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa
Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa

Sometimes you need a vacation that revolves around the spa. The Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in Old Town Alexandria fits that bill. Indulge in everything from seasonal treatments to maintenance necessities, then return to the modern California-cool rooms to get ready for a night of dining at Brabo or Brabo Tasting Room.

What To Do: Stroll along the waterfront trails and the art spaces in Torpedo Factory.

(July 2017)