Change has come to the capital, even in advance of the election, thanks to a handful of chic new hotels, shops, and bars.
Courtesy of Sarah Mattingly Cork Wine Bar.
| Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Mattingly

Cork Wine Bar

This six-month-old restaurant and wine bar occupies a loftlike space with exposed brick walls, tin ceilings, and an open chef’s kitchen. French and Italian wines are the big draw, and you can choose from 41 varieties by the glass and 139 by the bottle. Some menu highlights: crispy garlic fries, braised rabbit, and tender flatiron steak.

Donovan House

Named after Wild Bill Donovan, the nonconformist father of the CIA, this new property from the Thompson hotel group is a bold design departure for D.C. In the lobby, white leather lounge chairs hang from the ceiling, and most of the 193 mod rooms have polished oval bathtubs and tall windows with views of downtown. The rooftop pool and lounge bar are the hotel’s best assets.

St. Regis Washington, D.C.

After a $26 million refurbishment, this 1926 landmark hotel has emerged with a fresh look. Original details such as gilded Louis XVI chandeliers and Palladian windows remain, but the 175 rooms now have iPod docking stations, silk wall coverings, and glass mosaic–tiled bathrooms.

Green and Blue

Hip labels such as Cynthia Steffe and Vena Cava fill the racks at this intimate boutique run by Czech friends Daniela Cermanova and Michaela Schwartz. At an adjoining studio, clients are fit for the duo’s custom-made line, Ela Ela Couture. Everything from evening gowns to day bags is made within weeks.

Park Hyatt Washington

For his recent renovation of the 215-room Park Hyatt, designer Tony Chi blended the contemporary and the classic to brilliant effect. A modern palette of neutral yellows, natural woods, and gray steel complement traditional accents: Windsor-style timber chairs, Shaker wooden boxes, and books on American crafts.