One of the few phenomena as predictable as the arrival of fall color is the arrival of fall-color hotel packages, wherein hotels attempt to simplify and augment the experience of driving around and staring at trees. And we reckon no hotel has ever augmented the experience quite as much as Washington, D.C.’s The Jefferson, whose $79,000 per night “Deluxe Golden Fall Package” arrives this year as the ne plus ultra of fall-color getaways.
For the uninitiated, The Jefferson (which is not to be confused with Richmond, Virginia’s also very nice Jefferson, 100 miles south) occupies a class of one in the District of Columbia. It’s been the go-to for plutocrats and politicos since 1955, when it morphed from a threadbare Beaux-Arts apartment building into the city’s grandest little hotel, and although it has changed hands several times in the years since, the property has managed to maintain, and even enhance, its rarefied status among the Washington mover/shaker set.
As its name suggests, the Deluxe Golden Fall Package is packed full of autumnal amusements, including a splendiferous French-style picnic lunch, a chauffeured Virginia vineyard tour (with helicopter transfer, naturally), a “golden hour” sunset yacht cruise, and dinner for two with wine pairings in The Jefferson’s Michelin-starred dining room, Plume. Oh, and a car. The package includes not merely a suggested leaf-peeping route in and around D.C., but also a car to drive it. The vehicle (one per reservation, please) is an Audi convertible, the specification of which the hotel, working with a local dealership, will arrange with the guest before arrival. The German carmaker’s $47,450 TT Roadster is standard with the $79,000 package, but Washington being Washington, everything is negotiable, and upgrading all the way to the $177,100 R8 Spyder is only a swipe of the card away. And at trip’s end, the hotel will arrange, for a fee, to have your racy little souvenir shipped home. Or auctioned on eBay. Or presented to a worthy magazine editor.
“There’s nothing like D.C. in the fall,” says The Jefferson’s General Manager, David Bueno. “We wanted to give our guests a chance to experience the season from the road, the sky, and the water.”
The package puts guests in the sprawling Thomas Jefferson Suite, also known as the Presidential Suite, on whose walnut parquet floors actual presidents have trod, as well as members of Hollywood royalty, corporate royalty, and royal royalty from around the world. The 1,900-square-foot top-floor pad boasts five Juliet balconies overlooking the National Mall, a private dining room with seating for 10, and custom-made French linens.
As you might imagine, gold figures prominently in the Deluxe Golden Fall Package, and not just for the autumn leaves. Beyond the obvious—a golden bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne and a pair of gold-monogrammed bathrobes—the package brims with gilded frivolity. The $79,000-a-night price, for instance, recalls the atomic number of gold, 79. And the metal’s chemical symbol, Au, happens to be the first two letters of, yes, your new Audi. Such attention to detail is impressive, amusing, and mildly annoying—but utterly unsurprising from a hotel of The Jefferson’s ilk, where beds are turned down with military precision and the library is stocked with 18th-century books inspired by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson’s reading tastes.
It seems socially responsible at this point to mention that The Jefferson also offers a notably more accessible leaf-peeping option, the Golden Fall Weekend package, which includes 15 percent off standard room rates and a daily dining credit of $30 to $150, depending on room type. The Deluxe package’s foliage map is included, but the car is strictly BYO.