Washington D.C. is a great destination for families because so many of the attractions do not charge admission, and that can help your vacation dollar go a little farther. The Smithsonian National Zoo is one of those attractions. We spent an entire day exploring the zoological park.
In fact, the female panda, Mei Xiang was pregnant during our visit which we found out in August when she gave birth to twin cubs. I think it was a surprise to all. Unfortunately, one cub did not survive, but the other cub, a boy, is doing well. The #PandaStory and updates are on the zoo's website and social media. Live photos of Mei Xiang and her cub are available for viewing on the zoo's social media account.
The national zoo was a quick UBER ride from our hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. and our fare was about $6 to get there.
No doubt, the zoo was a great family fun, but the "Lions, Tigers, and Bears...OH, MY! Family Package" with the Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. made our zoo experience even more special.
During our day at the zoo, we could walk by all the stuffed animals at the zoo for sale because our five-year-old was already showered with new stuffed animal friends at the Ritz Kids check-in. She was given a backpack to hold her beloved Cinderella Bear, Elsa Kitty, and all the new friends she collected in D.C.
There were also more zoo animals waiting for my kids in our room after we checked in along with the classic movie, "Wizard of Oz." This was our DVD to keep as a souvenir.
As if she had not had enough, Liza received another bear from the hostess at dinner at the hotel's signature restaurant, WestEnd Bistro. For a while, I wondered if we were going to need a bigger car to take all of these animals back to Raleigh. She named everyone, and it truly upped the game with our vacation experience and memories that she will hopefully remember for a long while.
We also could pass by the candy at the zoo because we knew we had special zoo cupcakes waiting on us in our room, too.
The kids had so much floor space at over 450 square feet that they actually played and entertained themselves.
Yes, the zoo was great fun, but at the end of very long, tiring and hot day, it was wonderful to go back to our luxurious and large room at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C and relax. Jack has allergies so our room was defeathered, which is why the beds don't appear as fluffy as normal.
Our family package included valet parking, an in-room movie, and breakfast for four in the dining room or in-room dining. Rates for this package start at $329.
I don't know if you look at hotel rates in the Washington D.C. area for fun like I do, but let me break it down for you. The Ritz-Carlton is a five-star full-service luxury property while its next door neighbor, although new, is a limited-service 3-star property. Rates start at the 3-star property at about $300 for a room equivalent to our room in size that we had at the Ritz and that rate does not include parking, in-room movie, and breakfast.
You know me. I am practical, but I also know a great luxury deal to share with you. I found it at the Ritz-Carlton.
My hotel also had a champagne check-in.
And a red wagon filled with gifts for the kids.
Presidential cookies were served in the afternoon. Eisenhower loved shortbread and President Ford loved a double chocolate chip cookie. We loved both.
And the best part of all, the luxurious Ritz bathroom. I know it may sound silly to talk about bathrooms. But, regular hotels cannot compete with luxury hotel bathrooms.
The Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. is a regal jewel in the Foggy Bottom area of the city with tree-lined streets.
Famous people stay here. Presidents. Dignitaries. Even Prince Harry.
And they, too received monogrammed pillowcases at turndown.
Ok. I admit it. I got a little VIP treatment on that one. That's not standard issue, but the story is pretty amazing. The Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. has a pillowcase library. No, I'm not joking. There is a library filled with pillowcases.
They let me have ours as keepsakes because I'm not a true VIP by guest standards. Typically, frequent guests on Washington D.C. business will have a monogrammed pillowcase made, and it is used each time the guest check-in. More than likely, Prince Harry received one and it is waiting for him on his return.
Rates for VIPs are certainly higher than the one for the family package we experienced, but one thing I can say with certainty as a Ritz-Carlton guest is that we were all treated the same.
Every level of the Ritz-Carlton staff aims to please.
An example of this really shines with a story about our waiter at breakfast. I ordered the huevos rancheros, which was the best thing I've ever tasted on our first morning there. It was simply fantastic. In fact, I still talk about how good this dish was, and I want to learn to make it at home.
On our second morning of our stay, the hotel showcased its breakfast buffet. It is spectacular, too, but I chatted with our waiter and told him that even though I was ordering the buffet, I almost got the huevos rancheros again because they were that good.
He replied, "Yes, it is a great dish, Mrs. Hines." They have a knack of remembering your name which also amazes me. As soon as I got back from my seat after visiting the buffet, our waiter came to our table with a salad plate size serving of huevos rancheros. He said, "This is for you. The chef knows how much you like them."
This is why I love the Ritz-Carlton so much. They help make a vacation a priceless experience. If you stay in this hotel during the blooming cherry blossom season, this mural will showcase cherry blossoms falling from the trees, and in the winter, it drops lighted snowflakes. The mural was a custom piece by de Gournay. It was hand-painted and imported from Europe
The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. is located at 1150 22nd Street, N.W. The hotel is both kid-friendly and pet-friendly. While there, the Lobby Bar area was undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen this month with expanded seating, a new look, and expanded bar menu. The hotel's signature drink is a cocktail named after President Lincoln. Lincoln's picture also graces the cover on the chocolates during turndown service.
View the latest Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C Hotel packages so you can make wonderful vacation memories with your family.
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Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C.
1150 22nd Street, N.W.
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Disclosure: My trip to Washington D.C was part of a curated media stay. Opinions about this hotel are my own, and as always, I did have my own expenses and did receive complimentary rates and special rates.