We kicked off our two week long road trip from New York to Georgia with an overnight stop in Alexandria, Virginia, a quaint historic town in Northern Virginia. Located thirty minutes right outside Washington, DC, it was an ideal location for us to stop. We were able to drive five hours and not have to venture into the hustle and bustle of the city. Unbeknownst to us, at various points in her past, Alexandria has been part of the District of Columbia, a regional slave trading market, an occupied city, a washed-up post-industrial hamlet, and a hometown to famous American heroes and rebels. It’s got history, but it’s also got cobblestone streets with buildings dating back to the 1600s, filled with antique shops and cute cafes. And a trolley that takes you right down the main street, King Street, from one end to the other.
And it’s got a hotel that’s a complete treasure. Hotel Monaco Alexandria, a Kimpton Hotel, is located centrally and offers a unique experience for adults and kids of all ages. It’s a boutique hotel, yet it’s knee deep in history and culture, and as a bonus, it caters to families. Located on King Street in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, the hotel’s 241 rooms offer access to local museums, restaurants, shops and the historic Mount Vernon as well as convenience to Washington D.C.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a chalk board which my kids gratefully employed, drawing and writing their hearts out. The hotel greets each child with a gift when they arrive and offers kid’s breaks daily from 4-5pm in the lobby. They deliver cookies and milk to the room in the early evening. We had a real goldfish in our room. And the best touch? Child-size animal print robes. We had one for each of us, too, but they are especially cute on the kids. There’s also a lovely indoor pool where they were able to burn some energy.
I was immediately in love and enamored by the hotel’s colorful decor. The Monaco is housed in a four-story, mid-19th century building with rooms that have high ceilings, long windows and views of the courtyard. I literally took notes on how I’d like to decorate my own home. The furniture is eclectic with different patterns and textures but it is somehow all tasteful and just works.
I even liked the decor in the elevator, see below:
For breakfast, we headed to Jackson 20, a modern American tavern on the main floor of the hotel. Continental breakfast includes coffee, a small stack, eggs, oatmeal, grits or hash browns and came with a nice starter that included small donuts. The restaurant has an old-town yet luxurious feeling about it and it was a nice way to start out the day.
After breakfast, we jumped on the trolley and headed to town. Located right outside the hotel, it couldn’t have been more convenient, and FREE. We were a few short blocks from the Torpedo Art Gallery, a former torpedo factory that houses 3 floors of open art galleries.
Here’s some info about the Torpedo Arts Gallery:
- Location – 105 North Union Street, between King and Cameron Streets, along the docks of the Potomac River
- Hours – Daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursdays open until 9 p.m. (will close at 5 p.m. when the building is rented for a private event that evening. Call ahead if this could affect your visit: 703-838-4565 x1.) Individual working studio hours may vary; Closed Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving
- Admission – Free
- Telephone – 703-838-4565
- Note: Artists love talking to customers about their art and will spend time describing their art form. My kids spent time with a glass jeweler. It may be a sales tactic, but it’s really interesting and made the tour around the gallery even more interesting for all of us.
We definitely plan to visit the Hotel Monaco again on our next visit to the area. I also need to mention that it’s very affordable, ranging from $200-$300 per night for a double. Parking is about $24 per night, and this is the most dog-friendly hotel in Virginia, with no restrictions on breed or size. They even offer “Doggy Happy Hours”.
Disclosure: I was generously provided with a complimentary room and breakfast to facilitate this review and for other publications that I contribute to but all opinions are my own. I really loved this property and give it a huge thumbs up for traveling families.