Ask a concierge: Washington, D.C.

Tips for business travel to the U.S. capital.

At the InterContinental Washington D.C.-The Wharf, concierge Mark Du Bois draws on 12 years of experience to suggest what to do and where to dine when visiting the center of U.S. government and politics. Here he offers advice for business travelers.

What’s the most important thing for business travelers to pack when they’re heading to your city?

In addition to your A-game, a positive attitude and patience, pack extra business cards. We love business cards in Washington, D.C.

What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?

Al Tiramisu (2014 P St. NW; Ph: 202-467-4466), a long-established neighborhood restaurant just off Dupont Circle, creates memorable classic Italian dishes. The setting is sophisticated, but also intimate and relaxed—perfect for a business conversation. Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave. NW; Ph: 202-547-8100) is a notable Capitol Hill outpost a few steps from the U.S. Capitol. It blends “progressive American” cuisine with no-nonsense service in a refined and stylish dining room.

Chez Billy Sud (1039 31st St. NW; Ph: 202-965-2606), a relative newcomer to the Georgetown dining scene, has earned accolades for its southern French cuisine and elegant pastel-hued and gold-accented décor. Corduroy (1122 9th St. NW; Ph: 202-589-0699), in a converted townhouse, is unflinchingly thoughtful about its New American cuisine. Sushi Taro (1503 17th St. NW; Ph: 202-462-8999) impresses with solid sushi offerings and authentic Japanese dishes. The contemporary setting in this Dupont Circle eatery combines the formal with the familiar, creating an atmosphere conducive to conversation.

What’s one thing that always surprises guests about Washington, D.C.?

I’ll give you two: the unexpected delight of visiting the historic Maine Avenue Fish Market on The Wharf, one of the oldest continuously operating open-air fish markets in the country, and the beauty and grandeur of Washington illuminated at night. Pictures don’t do it justice.

If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see?

The Library of Congress is not only one of the city’s most architecturally remarkable buildings, it also exudes history and knowledge. Looking down into the Main Reading Room from the Visitors’ Gallery is unforgettable. The view of the National Mall from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is a window into history. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera. Take a tour showcasing the center’s history, and you’ll get a chance to step out onto terraces that overlook the Potomac River, Georgetown, monuments, memorials and the Pentagon.

What’s the best option for outdoor exercise in your city?

Ours is a very outdoor exercise-friendly city. Run, stroll or bike along the Potomac or Anacostia rivers, in Rock Creek Park or around the monuments and memorials of the National Mall.

Business know-how

Concierge Mark Du Bois’ top tips for getting business right in Washington, D.C.:

  1. Allow extra time to get where you’re going. Traffic, construction, motorcades and heightened security all create lots of opportunities for delays.
  2. Every topic is potentially political here; go into business conversations with that in mind.
  3. If you’re not walking up or down the moving stairs of an escalator, always stand on the right side. Trust me.

There's a lot more to explore

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