ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has announced the reopening of Kimpton Morrison House after extensive renovations and the debut of adjacent Ashlar Restaurant and Bar. Located in the heart of historic Old Town Alexandria, Va., Kimpton Morrison House is a stylish boutique hotel. 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.