Re-treating at the Inn at Little WashingtonPosted: February 7, 2012
Ever since our return from my 50th birthday celebration at The Inn at Little Washington, my friend A has been asking to see pictures of this famed retreat. With a trip there at the top of her bucket list, please indulge us as I post some snapshots from our sumptuous lair. Maybe they will tempt you to visit The Inn as well. The Hub and I highly recommend it.
Washington, Virginia (a/k/a “Little Washington”, as opposed to its bigger but younger brother city to the east) is a remote hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Driving into the town of about 300, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was also a bit nervous because I had really hyped this place to the Hub, and we had already paid for the room which cost more than our first house payment.
From the front, The Inn is rather simple but clearly the main event in town. When the attentive staff escorted us inside, we were transported to a different era: Victorian England meets Olde Virginia. Everywhere you turn in The Inn, you will find something on which to feast your eyes, and you can relax here knowing that you have escaped the real world (in fact, Washington is so remote that my cell phone actually said “No Service”).
The Inn was decorated by Joyce Evans, a British tapestry and set designer and devotee of William Morris, though she never travelled to the U.S., not even for this project. After receiving blueprints of The Inn, she drew up gorgeous plans for each room, and they now hang framed on the upper hallway walls. She had the furnishings numbered and shipped to Little Washington, and Patrick O’Connell, the owner and chef extraordinaire of The Inn, has enhanced the decor with finds from his own travels.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, we were upgraded to the “Thomas Keller Suite” when we arrived. Guests learn as they are guided to their rooms how many of these uniquely decorated spaces got their names. On the second floor landing of The Inn, Mr. O’Connell has hung framed photos of each of about 30 of his top chef heroes. If one of these chefs visits the Inn, O’Connell will have the chef stay in a room that will then be named after him/her.
I must confess that I was not familiar with all 30 of these names, including Mr. Keller’s. Of course, you more-worldly readers know that Thomas Keller is the renowned chef of the French Laundry and Williams-Sonoma fame. I have often read about the French Laundry, and now that I have stayed in Keller’s eponymous suite which the Inn had filled with his many books, I think a trip to Napa is in order. Until then, I will savor the memories of The Inn at Little Washington’s embracing ambience.
Wish it had been warm enough to sit outside in this beautiful space.
Don’t you love the antiqued mirrored walls?
I have never slept on a more comfortable bed.
I hated to leave our plush suite, but the many culinary treats downstairs were too tantalizing to ignore.
Is your appetite sufficiently whetted? Are you ready to make your reservations?
All photos except the second one by Avad Fan.