True gentility is graciousness untainted by even the slightest hint of snobbery or condescension.

Case in point: we arrived at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC – our ‘95 Honda with its dented front fender and back doors that don’t open—put-puttering up to the cathedral-like entry way where a Rolls Royce limousine already idled.  Even before we had the chance to blush self-consciously, our doors had been opened (well, at least the ones that could), our bags already taken care of, and we were warmly invited into the lobby to check in.

One might assume that such a grandiose Goliath of hospitality, host to emissaries and diplomats, senators and kings, would certainly look aghast upon our meager arrival. In fact, quite the contrary. There was absolutely no hesitation in our welcome; no moment of skepticism as to our belonging there. True gentility embodies the courteous warmth and innate grace that delights me every time I arrive at a Mandarin Oriental hotel.  Royalty is the signature of their brand and they live up to their emblem without fail.

The world-class service might be the solid structure of the Mandarin Oriental’s crown, but its jewels of top-notch spa experiences and restaurants with incredible, wonderfully inventive cuisine, shine like bright stars in their own realms.  Further, it’s the implementation of all the little details that make you feel not just at home, but better: indulged, treated to an experience where you get to feel perfectly at ease, in a place that seems to anticipate your every whim and deliver each one to you effortlessly.

The fact that the Mandarin Oriental in Washington DC is in quite possibly the most ideal location for a visitor to the capital city is, of course, no accident.  Windows and terraces seem to sail over famous monuments: the Lincoln and Washington memorials, the National Mall (which is only a minute’s walk away).  You would have to actively avoid sightseeing, stepping out into the morning with the entire capital city at your fingertips.  And, after a day of hitting up some history (and maybe an evening indulging in the fun nightlife on U Street), be sure to relax in the pool and spa facilities that all guests have access to.  There are steam rooms, Finnish saunas, and Jacuzzis to rejuvenate and unwind.

You are lucky if you’re the type who wakes up hungry (as I most certainly am).  Should you choose to indulge in the wonderful delicacies that await each morning, you will certainly not be hungry for long. Urns of piping rich coffee, glistening mountains of pastries, a dazzling selection of fresh fruits and fruit juices, and freshly prepared eggs will all demand your stomach’s rapt attention. You can indulge liberally, knowing you can easily work it off as you walk the length of Washington DC, exploring the surprising diversity its neighborhoods offer, well beyond merely historical, patriotic monuments and museums.

As it does across the globe, The Mandarin Oriental sets the stage for a perfect immersion into an undiscovered destination–embracing the nuance of its particular location with the class and sophistication that liberates you to explore and indulge simultaneously in one fell (and absolutely delightful) swoop.

– Ava Fedorov