I’ve had to opportunity to travel across the country quite a bit in the past two years and I can name at least 10 different hotels and resorts that I’ve been a guest of. Now, I don’t know about you, but I love travel breaks. It helps me escape some of the monotony of the every day.

So when I was offered the opportunity to participate in the Ritz Carlton’s Stay, Play & Write campaign, I jumped at the chance. Especially considering it would be my very first experience with a Ritz Carlton.

As luck would have it, that specific evening was our 17th wedding anniversary. (Ack! Honestly, just typing that makes me feel old.) 

The fam!

Our rooms were exceptional. We occupied a two bedroom Club Executive Suite that contained three bathrooms, a living room and fab view of the DC skyline. (Complete with a complimentary charcuterie platter and a bottle of red wine. Heaven, you say? Why, yes. Yes, it was.) 

Aside from the room itself, the amenities practically made me squeal. My personal favs included a variety of high end magazines, marble writing desk, chaise lounge, in-room coffee machine, separate makeup vanity, French doors and a ginormous white marble bathroom. (I wanted to live in that bathroom. I almost wept when we left it behind. It was the stuff of dreams, people.) 

We did eventually venture out of the room to relax a bit in the pool and hot tub. So determined was I to experience all the Ritz had to offer that I actually wore a bathing suit and hopped into the water. <— This is a big deal. Ask my husband.

Of course no getaway is complete without a significant culinary experience. With that in mind, we dined that evening at ENTYSE Wine Bar & Lounge. Now, I’ve been making a conscious effort these past few months to branch out and try new experiences so the very first order of business for me was to try whatever the manager recommended. At his suggestion, I sampled steamed mussels with tomato garlic and three flights of wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Whitehaven New Zealand, Sancerre Melin, Loire Valley and Gruner Veitliner, Holl, Austria. The food was out of this world and both of our boys declared their meals of calamari and filet to be the “best of their lives.” (Apparently my cooking leaves much to be desired.)

The Club Lounge was our favorite perk of the experience, by far. This exclusive area is available to only certain guests and is located on the 24th floor of the hotel. We didn’t know what to expect from this amenity and in fact, almost missed out on it entirely.

Talk about taking service to a whole new level…

In the Club Lounge presentations of food and beverages are set out multiple times each day with attendants on hand to assist you in way needed. Our attendant, Shima, was the most wonderful and warm woman I’ve ever met. She took complete care of us and my boys were totally charmed by her. (For the record – all I want for Christmas is my own personal Shima. For real.)  

Back in the land of reality (translation: home) we find ourselves now referring to the lounge in jest. My husband keeps requesting the key to the “24th floor.” (Tough luck, dude.)  

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the beds. Usually this is one thing I don’t think of specifically (I can sleep on a rock) but the beds in this hotel are so comfy that my 12 year old spent most of his time burrowed in the bed-sheets. He literally did everything but eat in that bed. (Okay, so maybe a little of that too.) We decided not to fight it and instead ordered an in-room movie and camped out together under the covers. So fun!

Now, perhaps this seems silly but when I travel, having an adequate fitness room is a must. I hate closet-sized fitness areas with poor ventilation. Ugh! I confess that I called the hotel in advance of my trip because I needed to make sure there was a treadmill with 24 hour access. (Hey, the marathon is next week guys!) Not only did I find the fitness center adequate, it was the amenity that literally put me over the edge. It was a huge room with no fewer than 10 cardio machines and a full set of Ritz-branded weight machines. In fact, each treadmill contained a rolled up towel and small Ritz Carlton bottled water for convenience. And with that final small gesture, I never wanted to leave.

Overall, what struck me through the duration of my stay was the service and luxurious attention to detail. Truly, I now understand what sets a Ritz Carlton apart from other accommodations.

My only regret with the whole experience is that I never got a chance to try out the spa. Or shop at the Galleria. Something tells me that experience is worth a trip back. This time, with girlfriends.

For more information on the hotel or to learn more about their Fall Epicurean Calendar and the upcoming Fall/Winter Events (Pumpkin carving, Wine’d Down Wednesdays, Halloween Scary Tea, etc.) click here

{Disclosure: My family received a complimentary stay as part of the Ritz Carlton’s “Stay, Play & Write” campaign. All opinions are my own.}