Hotel Watch: Westin Finds from AFAR

Westin Georgetown offers a local guide of restaurants, bars, sights and shops for guests. (Courtesy photo)

By Kelly A. Magyarics

Whether you find yourself in a hotel in an unfamiliar city, or are looking for a new experience in a destination you’ve visited before, it can be tricky to navigate the barrage of travel guides, websites, and reviews. But if you have a reservation at one of Westin’s worldwide locations, it just got a little easier. And, if you live in the greater Metro area but would like to stay overnight and explore the District, Westin’s new guide could be the antidote for the same old, same old.

Westin Hotels & Resorts, in partnership with AFAR — a celebrated brand that inspires richer and more meaningful travel experiences — recently announced the launch of Westin Finds. This digital destination guide steers travelers to both local favorites and under-the-radar, must-see sights that are within easy reach of Westin Hotels.

The guide was developed by AFAR’s community of travel experts for more than 40 top travel destinations around the world, including Athens, Boston, Milan, Mexico City, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C. It will be available for all Westin Hotels and Resorts by the end of 2013, according to the company.

The AFAR guide includes a website and app, and provides recommendations for restaurants, shops and sights. The proposed itineraries range from the simple (a kayak ride down the Mercer Slough in Washington), to the extravagant (a private bike tour of the Balinese countryside to spot ancient temples and Patchouli fields.) The website includes beautiful photography and well-written descriptions to easily transport the reader.

Right now, Westin Finds from AFAR is available for all four of Washington, D.C.’s hotel locations: Westin Georgetown, Westin City Center, Westin National Harbor and Westin Dulles Airport. The guide also thoughtfully allows travelers to personalize an itinerary depending on how they are traveling and offers categories for Anyone, Couples, Families or Friends.

My husband, children and I recently stayed at the Westin Georgetown to check out the options of the new program, and I was curious to see what the new guide recommended for the out-of-towner. Tried and true options on the See & Do section include suggestions like a walk around the FDR Memorial (our favorite memorial in D.C.) and The International Spy Museum (an awesome place, but still a bit too mature for our 6- and 9-year-olds.)

The Deluxe King is one of the room categories at the Westin Georgetown. Courtesy photo

Dining options include a few must-dos (or already dones…): brunch at the quaint and cozy Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle, or spicy, hurts-so-good Thai food at Little Serow. But the guide lists a few other more under-the-radar spots, like Il Canale in Georgetown (great Neopolitan pizza) and Sticky Fingers (all-vegan selection for brunch, breakfast, lunch and sweets…don’t worry, you won’t miss what’s missing.)

Suggested spots to grab a drink include Baked & Wired (we love their coffee and cupcakes, which I think are better than that more famous destination nearby), and The Passenger (which just celebrated its fourth anniversary and continues to be a great spot for both day and evening drinking.)

More off-the-beaten path activities include renting a kayak from Jack’s Boathouse (now called Key Bridge Boathouse) and paddling on the Potomac, or a walk through the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks (for those who prefer their time outdoors to be a little more mellow.) A little more apropos this time of year may be a chocolate class at Artisan Confections, where you can practice your brushstrokes with custom designs on rich ganache squares — and eat any mistakes you make.

For more information about Westin Finds from Afar, go to westinfinds.com.

The Westin Georgetown, 2350 M St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20037. Rooms are available in five categories: Traditional, Deluxe, Studio Suite, One-Bedroom Suite and Hospitality/Presidential Suite. Parking is $38-$45 per day. The Caucus Room, a modern American French brasserie, serves breakfast lunch and dinner. The Latin-inspired Boveda offers brunch, dinner, small plates and cocktails. And to stay fit during a stay, Westin now offers New Balance shoes, socks and workout clothing rentals delivered to your room to use during a stay for $5. For more information about the Westin Georgetown, visit their website.

Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.

Source washingtonlife

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