Old Town

‘New’ Kimpton Morrison House Unveiled in Alexandria

Kimpton Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants held a grand reopening of Kimpton Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia after the recently completed extensive renovations and debuted the Ashlar Restaurant and Bar on Tuesday night. Invited guests got to tour the newly renovated hotel and attended a ribbon cutting.

You can view more photos from the event on our Facebook page and my interview with Matt Hurlburt of Kimpton.

Kimpton Morrison House ribbon cutting in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Located in the heart of historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia just steps from bustling King Street and just six miles from downtown Washington, D.C., Kimpton Morrison House is a stylish boutique hotel renowned for its award-winning service as Alexandria’s only Four Diamond hotel for 30 consecutive years. With whimsical, literary-inspired design to all public spaces, hallway corridors and guest rooms and suites as well as the addition of a new restaurant and ballroom, the 45-key hotel creates an elevated experience for in-the-know travelers with its unique style and warm, personalized services as one of northern Virginia’s top hotels.

The hotel’s new design, brought to life by David Hill of Los Angeles-based DH Designs, was inspired by beloved American literary masterpieces set on and around water – a modern take on Morrison House’s original bookish concept that also incorporates the hotel’s close proximity to the banks of the Potomac River. Guests will be welcomed with whimsical, progressive designs featuring botanical and water elements and original artwork inspired by the storytelling in beloved classics from “The Great Gatsby” to “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Nods to local tradition include incorporations of signature tartan plaids – a tribute to Alexandria’s rich Scottish heritage. With these touch points, Hill alludes to the romance, mystery and poetic allure of Old Town Alexandria, named one of the most romantic and well-read cities in America.

Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by a bright grassy green hue reminiscent of walls found at Carlyle House, a historic former mansion house in Old Town. The entryway was opened up to create more engaging spaces where guests can easily flow from check-in to the cozy parlor room to the bar in one connected space. The parlor beckons with soft dove gray walls, modern wingback chairs and long banquettes with tabletop checkerboards that encourage conversation, making it especially inviting for Kimpton’s hosted evening wine hour. A custom central rug is patterned to resemble reflections of trees on a river, and a contemporary art piece featuring a profile of author Mark Twain hangs above the original decorative marble fireplace.

Behind the bureau-like reception desk with mismatched antique style drawers in the main hall hangs a stunning signature art piece commissioned for Kimpton Morrison House. The work, crafted by Ricky Alvarez of Tinto Creative, showcases the hotel’s literary and water theme with a bespoke collage of open books layered one on top of another with swirling textured gold leaf painted atop the antique books to resemble water flowing down a river. Books used for the piece were meticulously sourced titles from antique book dealers that focus on regional stories and originated from libraries and archives in the Potomac and capital regions.

A new upscale neighborhood tavern and cocktail bar, the 50-seat Ashlar Restaurant and Bar brings a rustic-meets-fine dining approach to Mid-Atlantic cuisine from Executive Chef Bobby Surdham. Named for the “perfect ashlar” symbolizing a high degree of mason mastery, Ashlar Restaurant and Bar pays homage expert craftsmanship through a menu that includes dishes such as snapper crudo with jalapeno, spring onion, and baby beet chips and Port City beer braised pork cheeks with pickled maitake natural jus. The beverage program draws inspiration from Alexandria’s founding in 1749 with spirits reminiscent of that time like rum, madeira and sherry, as well as a wide array of local Virginia whiskey, beer and wine. Ashlar Restaurant and Bar provides all private dining for meetings and special events held at Kimpton Morrison House as well as 24-hour room service to all guest rooms.

The hotel’s 45 sophisticated guest rooms, including three signature suites, incorporates refined finishes that could be seen in a classic row home, accented with friendly pops of color that inspire. Modern takes on traditional touches include modified four-poster beds, geometric flora and fauna artwork, orange tartan plaid carpet, plus rounded armchairs and playful artwork in bright cerulean blues add to the playfulness of an otherwise sophisticated space. Natural light abounds from floor-to-ceiling windows dressed with Roman shades, streaming across large writing desks ideal for delving into a new novel or catching up on the day’s work. All guest rooms have luxe Italian marble bathrooms, some with large glass standing showers, and upgraded room types feature separate sitting rooms, decorative fireplaces and hardwood floors.

Along with new literary-inspired design, Kimpton Morrison House will debut new signature services and amenities to further enhance guests’ experiences:

  • Silent Reading Hour – Each Sunday evening from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., cell phones give way to more analog entertainment as Kimpton Morrison House invites both guests and locals to crack open their favorite book or read one from the hotel’s lending library for an entire hour of silence.
  • The Last Word Menu – A luxury at most hotels, turndown service is a necessity at Kimpton Morrison House. Upon arrival, guests can select their preferences from The Last Word Menu for a personalized turndown service, including choice of scented pillow sprays, fine chocolates, and a rotating list of classic novels to be delivered before bed.

An intimate, yet striking venue, Kimpton Morrison House plays host to corporate meetings, weddings and social events of up to 100 guests with finesse. The hotel features over 2,800 square feet of event space, including the Chapter Boardroom and newly added 985 square foot Watermark Ballroom and prides itself on hosting some of the region’s most elegant yet approachable events. Ideal for weddings and events of up to 80 guests, the Watermark Ballroom features tones of celadon, silvers and grays, a feature wall with elegant heron wallpaper and hand painted gold leaf accents, 10-foot-high ceilings, natural light and a modern interpretation of Colonial hand hooked rugs in a custom diamond pattern. Best for small meetings and private dinners, the Chapter Boardroom accommodates up to 25 and features distinguished wood paneled walls with mid-century lighting accents and modern brass shelves stocked with books.

Other Morrison House guest amenities include Kimpton brand favorites such as the Forgot It? We’ve Got It! menu of travel essentials, mini bars with local, healthful and organic options, complimentary Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma Rewards members, complimentary morning coffee and tea service in the hotel’s living room, hosted evening wine hour daily, and health-minded wellness options, such as complimentary custom PUBLIC Bike rentals and Gaiam yoga mats in every room for use during guests’ stays.

Lee Hernly, Editor
the authorLee Hernly, Editor
Founder & Editor
Lee Hernly is the Founder and Editor of Port City Wire, Alexandria, Virginia's best source for hyper-local news, opinion, and events. I live in the Old Town Alexandria area with my fantastic wife and son Sam. Oh, there’s Serena & Bea too. I’m so excited to meet new readers and see where you are from! Please be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can check it out!

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