The Park Hyatt of Washington, D.C. Redux
and Redux and Redux ...
How little we imagined when we checked into the
Washington, D.C. Park Hyatt for a weekend more than three years ago, what
a special connection we’d develop to the place. It was Groundhog Day; the
critter did not see his shadow, and the mood in the nation’s capitol was
upbeat. George W. Bush had been sworn in as the country’s 43rd president a
few weeks before, and the festive aura of the inauguration still lingered.
Even though the calendar said February, yellow pansies were blooming out
on the lawn, and the entire neighborhood – the section of northwest DC
across Rock Creek from Georgetown -- had the feel of an area on the
march. It has decidedly arrived since then, the last undeveloped plot
diagonally across from the hotel, a parking lot during our first visit,
was well on its way to becoming a luxury rental at the time of our most
recent stay: Memorial Day weekend, 2004.
There turned out to be many stays between Groundhog Day 2001 and Memorial
Day 2004, our returns prompted by a range of reasons most of them having
to do with the fact that our two sons live in the area. It was during
that first weekend that we met the lovely young women they since have
married. Introductions took place in one of the splendid hotel suites that
typify the Park Hyatt; we enjoyed our first dinner as a sextet in the
incomparable Melrose Room where we discovered the cuisine of Brian McBride
whose crab cakes are touted among the cognoscenti as Washington’s best.
When it came time for us to host the pre-nuptial dinner for each of our
sons and their fiancées, we were in the fortunate position, rare for
out-of-towners, of knowing at once where to stage the event. The first
wedding, a little over a year ago, was a large affair with guests from all
across the country. Our party was held in the beautiful Windsor Park Room
just off the lobby where the crowd of 75 enjoyed cocktails and passed hors
d’oeuvres (our friends still remember the miniature blini with Seruga
caviar) followed by an elegant sit-down dinner. Entertainment came in the
form of our favorite American standards sung by a popular Washington
singer who accompanied herself on the piano. Many of the guests were
staying at the Park Hyatt for the entire weekend and joined us in our
suite afterwards where the party continued into the wee small hours.
As the second wedding was a smaller, more intimate affair, we held the
pre-nuptial dinner for both immediate families in the Melrose Room proper,
its gallant and attentive manager Anil Pareek arranging for our group to
be seated in an alcove that was part of and at the same time apart from
the rest of the restaurant.
It was a rare late May night for Washington – clear skies, cool
temperatures and low humidity which Anil suggested we take advantage of by
having the cocktail hour out on the landscaped patio with splashing
fountain fronting the Melrose Room. It was fortunately also a Saturday
night when live music is part of the Melrose scene. And as far as the
bride and groom were concerned, the combo was playing just for them.
We were able to create a dinner menu from the standard offerings,
selecting three options for each course. Of course one of the entrée
choices had to be the aforementioned crab cakes, another was a creative
vegetarian option: roasted, stuffed Vidalia onion (for both our sons and
one of our daughters-in-law), and yet another tender, succulent filet
There are many reasons we hope to return to the Park Hyatt again and again
– the splendid accommodations, the outstanding cuisine, the standard of
exceptional service set by general manager Paul Pisarz, the quality art
that adorns its public spaces: a tapestry by Picasso(!), lithographs by
David Hockney and Frank Stella, paintings by Georges Braques and Kenneth
Noland among others that makes a stroll through the lobby akin to visiting
a museum of modern art.
But the biggest pull of the Washington D.C. area and by extension the
Park Hyatt is none of these. Rather it is to be in the company of the
newest member of our family who just celebrated her birthday. She is
five months old.
# # #
About the Authors: Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband
team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional
scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories
It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in
America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in
Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.
They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining
as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United
States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
about these authors.
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This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer. All rights