For a fleeting moment each spring, Washington, D.C.’s political battles between red and blue are upstaged by nature’s delicate display of pink and white. Thousands of blossoming cherry trees transform the Tidal Basin into a sea of petals where visitors can enjoy the Japanese custom of hanami, or flower viewing. In addition to the picturesque setting, the nation’s capital hosts a variety of events for its annual Cherry Blossom Festival, taking place this year from March 20 to April 15. To fully immerse yourself in this springtime celebration that honors the friendship between the United States and Japan, consider booking one these sweet hotel packages.
For guaranteed blooms
Having hosted Japan’s first delegation to the United States in 1860, The Willard leans into its unique history and celebrates the annual Cherry Blossom Festival like no other hotel in D.C. Cherry trees fill the grand lobby, making it one of the best places to guarantee a view of the elusive blooms throughout the month. Japanese-inspired afternoon tea is served in the elegant, cherry tree–lined Peacock Alley hallway, while specialty cocktails with ingredients such as sake, yuzu, and cherry bitters are mixed at the Round Robin Bar. Take advantage of the Cherry Blossom package for complimentary valet, a $75 dining credit, a special cherry blossom amenity, and an upgrade to the next room category (based on availability). —From $510
An “awesome blossom” experience
Kimpton hotels around the District are offering “awesome blossom” packages that include daily $25 dining credits to each location’s adjacent restaurant, a keepsake cherry blossom puzzle, and preloaded Metro cards. To fully immerse yourself in the Japanese culture that the Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates, stay at the sleek, modern Kimpton Donovan location, and put your dining credit to use at Zentan, one of the city’s premiere Japanese restaurants; its menu is also available to enjoy from the comfort of your room. —From $229
The best location
Overlooking the Tidal Basin, the Mandarin Oriental is the closest hotel to the cherry blossoms and is a luxurious home base from which to enjoy the blooms. The hotel’s courtyard has cherry trees planted by the granddaughter of Yukio Ozaki, Tokyo’s mayor who gifted the original trees to the United States in 1912. Book the Cherry Blossom Picnic package for a room with a Tidal Basin view, a gourmet picnic for two, daily breakfast, and complimentary valet parking. —From $545
A founding father’s favorite
The Jefferson honors its namesake with elegant whimsy that the founding father himself would have enjoyed. From a reading room filled with books on his favorite topics to a madeira wine collection dating back to 1720, there’s no better place to prime yourself for a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and surrounding cherry blossom trees. This year, The Jefferson is offering a “Picture Perfect” package that includes 10 percent off a personal photography session, a cherry blossom coffee table book, breakfast for two each morning, and deluxe accommodations. —From $435
A side of nightlife
The Wharf is a vibrant strip along the Potomac River and the city’s new waterfront dining, shopping, and entertainment destination. It is one mile away from the Tidal Basin, the epicenter of the blooms; on April 7, it will be the site of Petalpalooza, a day-long celebration with live music, art, games, and a firework finale. Stay at the Hilton’s first U.S. Canopy location for a modern experience infused with local character and nautical charm. Its seasonal package includes a King River View room, two special “Canopy Blossom” cocktails served in-room with local handmade truffles, a welcome amenity, and, as with all reservations, daily artisanal breakfast. Another option is the new, sophisticated InterContinental; its ambience will immediately soothe upon check-in. The "Suite Cherries" package includes custom cherry blossom flower crowns, a breakfast in bed dining credit that can include a cherry granola parfait or cherry pancakes, two complimentary cocktails upon arrival, and two nights of parking. —Hilton Canopy from $259; InterContinental from $399
Sakura tea or blossom-filled picnic?
The capital’s two Ritz-Carlton locations are offering experiential cherry blossom packages. Both include complimentary valet parking and breakfast, but each has a distinct cherry blossom experience. The Georgetown Ritz-Carlton will greet you with a cherry blossom welcome amenity and then whisk you away on a private picnic and three-hour pedicab ride through the cherry blossoms to Hains Point. The West End Ritz-Carlton will welcome you with a cherry and lychee BentoBox dessert amenity, and treat you to a traditional Japanese, in-room Sakura tea experience. Then head to the Westend Bistro for a complimentary appetizer. Expect chefs and mixologists at both locations to serve seasonal, cherry blossom–inspired dishes and drinks. —The Georgetown Ritz-Carlton from $1,049; The Washington, D.C., Ritz-Carlton from $399 (call to book package)