If you feel like you could write The Great American Novel if you just had the right setting to get those creative juices flowing, then charge your laptop (or dust off that typewriter) and book this new package in Alexandria.
The Morrison House, a luxury hotel in the heart of Old Town that’s part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection of Hotels, is currently offering the Work Anywhere Writer’s Retreat for would-be authors seeking inspiration or in need of an antidote for that wretched feeling of writer’s block.
The daycation package includes a 6 a.m. check-in and 6 p.m. checkout, so you can get in a full day of plot or character development. You’ll be working in a suite that includes a separate living/work area in which to spread out, as well as a roomy bed to take a nap break. Enhanced Wi-Fi and connectivity will keep your productivity at 100 percent, access to bedside reading from other authors via books or an e-reader will motivate you to make progress on your own Pulitzer Prize–worthy tome, and a throwback set of quills, ink, wax, and seals adds to the retro charm. Make yourself a deal: If you eke out a paragraph (or, hey, a really good sentence), you can head to the lobby bar from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the hotel’s Study Hall Wine Hour, where staff will be happy to pour you a glass of complementary Chard or Cab. Even better, take your wine to one of the tables or sofas in the cozy, welcoming living room, whose dining elements include a fireplace, bright blue velvet chairs and draperies, leather high-back chairs and a chess table, and maybe bang out a few more pages. Though the Work Anywhere Writer’s Retreat package doesn’t include overnight accommodations, you can add on a night in your writer’s abode, or relocate to one of the 45 guest rooms or suites in the grand yet intimate Federalist-style mansion hotel.
The Study, Morrison House’s dining concept, is currently closed. However, King & Rye, the Southern-cuisine-and-whiskey-focused restaurant at their sister property The Alexandrian, is just a short stroll away—perfect for clearing your head with some fresh air after all of that writing. Book a table for dinner, and when you arrive, you’ll find general manager and bourbon steward Allison Strunk and her staff at the ready with whiskey and cocktail recs and suggestions from the food menu. Start with the Cherry NY Sour, a fun take on the classic that’s also way more interesting and complex than most of the other cherry blossom-inspired cocktails in the DMV this spring; Knob Creek Rye is shaken with tart cherry preserves and lemon juice and just a touch of sweetener, and served on the rocks topped with a Malbec float. The Split Manhattan is also a good bet, combining the bold spiciness of rye with the luscious taste of bourbon, stirred with Carpano Antica and housemade bitters.
The kitchen, helmed by executive chef Peter McCall, best shows its strength among the starters, all of which are shareable, including the vibrantly hued Vidalia onion and green garlic bisque with toast. (It’s a best practice to share any onion- or garlic-based dish with your date or companion, anyway.) Just-shucked oysters from whatever purveyor is offering the freshest bivalves at the moment come with mignonette made with apple-cider vinegar and pickled watermelon rind, and rich butter-seared oysters over Anson Mills grits do justice to the shellfish.
On the entree side, North Carolina rainbow trout is served with beech mushrooms, ham, shredded kohlrabi, and a puree of that most underrated root vegetable, the sunchoke. A paella of sorts made with spring vegetables is a fine vegetarian choice, with Charleston Gold Rice, goat cheese, pickled ramps and wild mushrooms. And while you can’t be blamed for ordering the chocolate peanut butter bar flecked with crispy bacon for dessert, the creamy, dreamy banana pudding is the restaurant’s signature meal-ender, with Nilla wafers and English toffee, fresh bananas, a layer of diplomat cream, and a freshly toasted marshmallow.
All winter long, the igloos in The Alexandrian Hotel’s courtyard have been a hot ticket; for spring, they’ve been retooled as greenhouses, open through April 10. The heaters remain for those chilly early spring evenings, as do the Bluetooth speakers, so you can customize the temperature and music. But the spaces have been redecorated in more of a spring garden theme; one of them is an homage to Lilly Pulitzer, with the designer’s floral elements and pops of color and a copy of her biography. The greenhouses still require advance reservations through Tock; slots are 90 minutes each and available Wednesday to Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a rental fee and food and drink minimums and deep sanitization in between groups. There is an abridged menu of small and medium plates as well as family style offerings, cocktails, wine and beer, with some crossover from King & Rye’s regular menu. If the greenhouses are booked on your deserved date and time, it pays to check the day before or day of to see if there was a last-minute cancellation.
If you do snag a reservation, hang with your companion or your Covid pod for an hour and a half over a nightcap or two, and you just may be stirred to return to your room and finish the next chapter.
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