There’s a little town about 75 miles from Washington, DC that you’ve probably never heard of. I’ve lived in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area most of my life and I hadn’t heard of it.
Situated in the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, Virginia is formerly Native American country that was settled by Europeans in 1729. Rumor has it that land was offered by the British at a bargain price to encourage German settlers to live in the valley and act as a buffer from the French and the Indians.
Today, the town is still steeped in history and if you’re looking to check out everything that Winchester offers, you don’t have to worry about small town accommodations. Right in the heart of Old Town Winchester is The George Washington Hotel – A Wyndham Grand Hotel. Although I was staying there for a conference and press trip, I had a little bit of time to explore the hotel.
LOCATION – THE GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
If you’re traveling to Winchester, you’re definitely going to want to visit Old Town Winchester, which is in the heart of this little city. The good news is that The George Washington Hotel is situated about two blocks from the historic pedestrian mall. Even better, the mall is full of restaurants, cafes, and shops so it’s easy to find a quaint lunch spot or dine al fresco on the main plaza – all within walking distance.
SAFETY – THE GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
Inside the hotel, there was never any question of comfort or safety. During the day, however, I found an interesting crowd on the pedestrian mall in downtown Winchester. When I delicately asked, I was told that the area was known as the “living room” of Winchester where you’ll find all walks of life – lawyers meeting for power lunches, families dining together, a late night college crowd and… local residents who attend the nearby methadone clinic.
It was surprising at first but I was told that they are simply part of the local scene. I never felt in danger but if I were a woman traveling solo, I’d probably want some companions while walking around in the evening.
CHARACTER – THE GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
Speaking of inside the hotel, this is a property with a history. Built in 1924, it was designed to house passengers from a nearby train station. It changed owners and configuration over the years (it was once a Howard Johnson’s!) and eventually closed as a hotel in 1978. In 2008, the renovated property reopened as The George Washington Hotel – A Wyndham Grand Hotel and captures the elegance of its original period as well as the historical significance of the surrounding area.
The rooms reflect the character of the hotel without feeling tired or outdated.
VANITY – THE GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
As a woman, the bathroom is an important space. It was spacious and nicely appointed with plenty of towels and counterspace. If you were staying with family, the shelf below the sink still gives adequate room for things like hairdryers and toiletry bags.
The shower/tub combination was standard but I liked that the shower curtain was sheer at the top. While taking a shower, I felt like I had visibility into the bathroom “just in case.” And of course, a full length mirror is a must. This one can be found immediately upon entering the room
TOILETRIES – THE GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
To pack or not to pack – that is the question. If I’m staying in what I perceive to be a nice hotel, I like to take advantage of their toiletries. In this case, The George Washington Hotel had a full line of toiletries from Institut Karité. Included were Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Cream, Facial Soap, and Body Cream, all made with shea butter. I have to admit that I liked the shampoo and conditioner so much that they may have made it into my toiletry bag to take home.
Tip: If you like it, take it with you. You may discover some products you want to order for yourself!
COMFORT – THE GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
Comfortable pillows? Check. Soft sheets? Check. Great mattress? Check. Comforter? Check. The beds were clean and comfortable and I couldn’t hear noise from the street or the other rooms which all amounted to a few nights with good sleep.
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON HOTEL
The room itself is spacious with a flat screen TV (albeit, a small one) and a single service coffee maker. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a small fridge and microwave, which is especially helpful when traveling with family.
What I didn’t photograph was the lovely bar and lounge which had a great wine selection and good food that when above standard bar fare. And even if you don’t get a chance to hang out on the lobby or bar, you’ll still appreciate the character right there at the front desk.
The George Washington Hotel is a lovely historic hotel in the heart of Old Town Winchester. It makes not only a great stay for business travelers and families alike but would be an excellent location for a little romantic getaway just outside of Washington, DC.