In a town known more for its political views than for its scenic ones, the newly opened Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. is a cut above: nearly all of the 400 guest rooms have panoramic vistas of the marina, the Tidal Basin, and the monuments of the District. Bringing a taste of Asia to this very American city, contemporary and classic artwork from Thailand and China hangs in the hallways and suites; furnishings—Japanese-style lanterns, tansu chests—set off the earth-toned linens while minding the laws of feng shui; original silk tapestries and bamboo plants add to the harmony. Rooms are outfitted with ultra-modern amenities, such as flat-screen TV's and high-speed Internet. The spa menu incorporates Eastern and Western therapies, and Café MoZU, a Zen palace of dark mahogany and pale table linens, serves afternoon tea and cross-cultural dishes such as Kobe sirloin burgers and steamed snapper with buckwheat risotto. Next month, Eric Ziebold, formerly of the French Laundry, takes over the main restaurant—the only corner of the hotel where Europe, rather than the Far East, commands the spotlight. 1330 Maryland Ave. SW; 888/888-1778; www.mandarinoriental.com; doubles from $350.
—Lauren P. Kennedy
Mandarin Oriental Washington DC
With stunning views of DC's waterfront, the Mandarin Oriental enjoys a well-deserved reputation for tranquility. That status is also thanks to the hotel's 10,500-foot spa with an amethyst steam room, sauna, vitality pool, ice fountain, and cold-plunge pool. Located near the Tidal Basin, this is a perfect place to stay during cherry blossom season.