Thursday, March 26, 2009

There's a new kid in (Old) Town!

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the grand opening bash for the Lorien Hotel in Old Town Alexandria. The new Kimpton property is the essence of sleek style that we've come to expect from their hotels. I was impressed by how many people flocked to the hotel's opening night and how well the staff handled the crowd. The valet parking by MarcParc Valet was seamless (surprisingly so considering the narrow street and the rush hour traffic) and it seemed that everywhere you turned a Kimpton staff member greeted you. The music, provided by Dand Goldman and Ray Bialek of Bialek's Music, kept the energy high without being too loud to talk over.

The hotel itself is both charming and chic. They had cleverly spread the food and bars throughout the hotel so that you found new treats as you wandered through the space. The living room features walls of built-in bookshelves and all the books are covered in white paper covers. Quite a look! Perhaps our favorite space was the courtyard with the open fireplace. Sara and I immediately started brainstorming of ways to use the space for small weddings or rehearsal dinners.

The hotel's restaurant, Brabo, is getting rave reviews so it was no surprise that the food was fabulous. I liked the fact that they offered enough for vegetarians (like me) and that the vegi options were interesting. Since I lapse for shellfish, I tried the amazing shrimp tempura hors d'oeuvre, as well. I could have eaten a whole tray of them! My favorite culinary part of the evening were the desserts that were displayed in the restaurant. The carrot cake bites and lemon tartlets were to die for!

We didn't get to try out the spa (it just would have been awkward to walk around a bustling cocktail party in a spa robe and slippers) but it sounds amazing. The "Lavender Dreams Experience" has my name all over it! The whole concept of The Lorien is dreams and the tranquil decor and clean lines fit the motif beautifully. This is the perfect spot for a charming bridal tea, and fun rehearsal dinner or even an intimate, hip wedding. It is also just a great place for guests to stay if your wedding is near Old Town or a lovely new restaurant to try. So check out the new Lorien Hotel!