The Charm of 1884 with the Perks of Today: Swann House // Washington DC
I’ve been guilty of turning my nose up before, aren’t bed and breakfasts only for our parents? Dan and I have gone down the B&B path before and stumbled into a quaint, albeit drafty, old house that we couldn’t quite get the hang of.
A few weekends ago my mom and I planned a girls trip to Washington DC and I decided I wanted to give this B&B business another shot. My mom is a sport, she’d love it no matter what, it was me that was I was concerned about.
Long story short: our weekend at the Swann House trumped any Hilton/Marriott/(insert impersonal mega chain here) alternative we’d considered. Start to finish, we adored our stay so much that by the end I was chatting up Jennifer behind the front desk to determine ways to take residence at the darling mansion. Just wait until you see the bathroom, you’ll understand.
Located smack-dab in my favorite area of DC, Dupont Circle, my mom and I arrived to find Jennifer’s warm smile and a parking space directly out front (a very hot commodity in this neck of the woods). Solid start.
Spotting the light-filled formal dining room and entry hall I dropped my things and began photographing. If you know me, you might have already realized I have an affinity for beautiful doors and windows (demonstrated here, here & here). The 19th century Victorian roots of the Swann House nail it in terms of architectural detail.
While I explored, Jennifer shared that the Swann House has a history of hosting grand affairs including a 1912 wedding in living room that was attended by then-President Taft and JP Morgan.
With our arrival in the late afternoon we found warm scones and cordial waiting just outside the parlor. While I could’ve been totally satisfied lingering the rest of the evening in the living room, sipping cordial and channeling my inner-Molly Brown, Jennifer showed us to our room.
The Jennifer Green Room was originally designed for the lady of the house as a dressing room. Unbeknownst to me at the time, inside we’d find the most charming bathroom I’ve ever seen. (In my book even better than the glimmering one I toured at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands.)
Filled with light, travertine marble, and lattice shutters the vanity area is truly a thing of beauty! To top it off: a white orchid and antique marbled hand mirror.
Sensing competition with the bathroom, the bedroom brought along it’s own charming amenities including a working fireplace, amazingly comfy mattress (notably not from 1884) and french doors that opened onto a spacious terrace. Despite our visit in late winter, we loved opening the doors for fresh air and opted to throw on jackets for a glass of wine al fresco in the evening.
After a very sound slumber, in the morning I rose to the peace of the old Victorian. I tiptoed down the grand staircase to find a gorgeous breakfast spread prepared in the formal dining room. I grabbed coffee and a paper and waited for my mom.
For breakfast my mom and I found a table by the bay window. Despite the chandelier, the mood was relaxed and other guests chatted quietly, still waking from their dreamy 18th century slumber.
I channeled blogger-mentality with a ‘camera eats first‘ approach to breakfast but found it be SO difficult. With a huge buffet to choose from, I had incorrectly assumed that the feast ended at the 8 foot sideboard. After taking my seat with a plate of locs and fruit, we were served hot croissants with mozzarella and fresh cherry tomatoes, the special that day.
Safe to say, the Swann House made our visit to DC extra special and enjoyable. The B&B offers guests all of today’s amenities as well as comforts that can only be accomplished by a small, delightful staff and careful attention to detail.
I look forward to returning one day soon and will be daydreaming about the bathroom until then!