All that talk of change in Washington seems to apply to chain hotels, too. The formerly run-of-the-mill Radisson in DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood was recently bought and converted into a Hotel Palomar (above) by San Francisco-based Kimpton’s, a swank boutique-hotel chain with an aggressive environmental policy. Minibars are stocked with organic drinks and treats; the coffee and tea in the lobby are Fair Trade and organic; lighting is energy-efficient; the housekeeping staff uses only nonchemical products; and the rooms feature designer recycling bins, low-flow showers and toilets,and eco-friendly shampoos and soaps. 

The hotel also hopes to lure guests with its Art in Motion program. Modern paintings adorn the walls, guests are invited to mingle with well-known artists at evening wine tastings and the bellhops have even been coached by dancers at the Washington Ballet to add grace to all their moves.

Artistry aside, the 40-hotel chain is also making like an ambitious politician and thinking beyond the Beltway. They’ve opened two new properties across the Potomac in Arlington and Alexandria; and new or remodeled locations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are coming this spring. With all their hotels employing earth-friendly practices tailored to location, the Kimpton’s campaign is one worth backing.

Story by Sarah Schmidt. This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008

Capitol improvements
Retrofit your stay in D.C. with Hotel Palomar