The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C. (District of Columbia), the capital of the United States, has Lynn Jason holding the Chef Concierge’s post. Lynn is a member of Les Clefs d’Or USA and loves “pretty much everything” about her job. “No two guests are alike – no two days are the same – helping is my passion.” Let’s find out all about what to take in, in this political city known as ‘D.C.’, from a woman with the knowledge…
Favourite locale when enjoying a day off
I never really take a day off, because I am always observing and making mental notes wherever I go on my off days. For me to really enjoy time off, I take an annual cruise, but even then, it takes me a couple of days not to greet each person on the ship as though I work there.
Where she takes her own guests when they visit her
My best friend comes to visit twice a year and we always try to visit a place we have never been before or experience a new exhibit or restaurant.
It’s a rainy day but we want to explore, what we should do
If you just need to stay indoors, museums can be your haven, but if you are willing to take an umbrella and keep on, keepin’ on, you will have a great day.
Kennedy Center and Blues Alley are consistently delivering interesting and first-rate entertainment almost every evening. The theatre scene in Washington D.C. is amazing. Many Broadway hits use us as a test market – recent successes are “Come From Away” and “Dear Evan Hansen”.
Key words or phrases visitors should learn
D.C. is such a melting pot of different cultures – almost everyone is from somewhere else. Don’t be afraid to ask someone about their country of origin or where in D.C. they might find good examples of art, culture or cuisine from that country. Many of the embassies welcome visitors and host events that are open to the public. Learn the neighborhood lingo, we are in southwest D.C. and fun areas to hang out are the Shaw, H Street, and Penn Quarter neighborhoods.
The best shopping & souvenirs
For high-end retail, a guest could visit the new CityCenterDC. We have relationships with each of the stores’ managers and can arrange a personalised experience with a guest’s favorite brand. Most recently, we had a celebrity guest needing outerwear for an event at the White House first thing the next morning, and Dior opened early and came to the hotel with a nice selection for our guest at 6:00 am. Paul Stuart has opened early and tailored suits, same-day, for a guest whose luggage did not arrive. Nordstrom’s personal shoppers have come to the rescue on countless occasions as well.
For souvenirs, all of the museums have excellent gift shops. Best examples would be National Gallery of Art, National Building Museum, and all of the Smithsonians. The White House Historical Association sells current and past Christmas ornaments for around $20 – this is a great gift. For great gag gifts, White House Gifts sells presidential bobble heads and talking pens.
A child-friendly thing to do or place to go
There are so very many to suggest. Currently, the National Building Museum has an exhibit called Fun House with a fake swimming pool with plastic balls instead of water. The simulators at the Smithsonians are perennial favourites. Currently, kids are free at the Newseum and there are many interactives there for all ages. Since most of the museums are free and very large, I suggest that a family search for one or two selected artifacts in each museum to prevent burnout or overloading everyone. Some kids “say” they don’t want to go to an art museum, but when they learn about the big blue giant rooster at the National Gallery of Art, they want to go and guess what… along the way they will discover some other treasures and find out they DO like art museums.
Best-kept secret or favourite hidden treasure
I have fun with a guest who comes to me and says they have seen everything. But when we start a conversation about presidential and private homes, they learn there is more than Mount Vernon. My guests had no idea that President Lincoln had a summer cottage, for example and they allow 20 people per hour for a private docent tour every day. Others had never been to Hillwood, home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Kreeger Museum, home of former Geico CEO, or Woodrow Wilson’s home.
Best way to get to the airport
That depends on a guest’s personal preferences and which airport they are using – we have three. The options include black car service, taxi/rideshare or public transportation. We are able to provide our guests with pros and cons and cost comparisons to help them decide which will work best for them.
Best time of the year to visit
All times are great and have different advantages. The most popular times for tourists are Cherry Blossom, Spring break and summer weekends. Guests can avoid crowds by visiting during the late fall and winter.
Anything else we should know when visiting
Feel free to use your hotel concierge as the best resource – we are delighted to be your “friend in Washington”. Call or email us ahead of time, and visit our desk daily for information, suggestions and encouragement. Oh… and wear comfortable shoes.
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