It’s easy to be cynical about hotel design nowadays. Too many new hotels look the same in some sort of sleek globalist pastiche—or they verge on kitsch trying to play-act to what a tourist expects in a destination. (It’s why I’ve always found it funny that so many Paris boutique hotels are among the most oddly decorated spaces you’ll ever come across—I’m talking neons and shiny plastic furniture and mirrors all over that you’d think to find in a post-Soviet city.)
Thus I was ecstatic to discover the Lyle in Washington, D.C, the newest hotel in the LORE Group chain. In the hands of Jacu Strauss, LORE’s creative director, the Lyle was anything but ordinary. It is the latest selection for our series on exciting new hotels, The New Room with a View.
Located just northeast of Dupont Circle, the Lyle is surrounded by some of the city’s more beautiful Gilded Age mansions, such as the trowel-shaped Perry Belmont palace or the Spanish Colonial Revival Arms Mansion. Just a couple blocks west is the Dupont metro stop and to the east is the extremely popular 14th Street stretch of restaurants, shops, and bars.
Having just opened in April, the Lyle occupies a 1940s Art Deco apartment building that once held a different hotel. The lobby, which is unassuming and not for dawdling, has the classic geometric marble floors. Up a small set of stairs one is confronted by four options.
You can dawdle in the gallery space with furniture and art by Strauss or pop down to the basement where there are lounge rooms and a fitness center.
Or you can head to the right and into the dimly lit and cozy confines of the hotel’s bar. No offense to the bar, which is perfectly lovely, but it ends up becoming a transition room because a guest’s eye is immediately and inevitably drawn past the bar to the hotel’s eponymous restaurant. Those giant white couches and all-shapes-and-sizes lanterns hanging from the glass roof just draw you in. It’s a space wholly unexpected in D.C.—something you’d expect in Miami or LA—and a source, I’d imagine, for staff nervously watching brunchers gesticulating with a Bloody Mary in hand. (If you go, try the fried chicken.)
The fourth option upon stepping up from the lobby is to head to your room.
Which brings me to the real delight about this hotel. D.C. has no shortage of hotels, and it certainly has plenty of grand hotels downtown and more “cool” ones like the Eaton, LINE, or LORE’s other D.C. hotel, the Riggs. But it doesn’t have a lot of cute neighborhood hotels that I would want to recommend to a friend who wanted something aesthetically pleasing but not break the bank. The Lyle’s 196 rooms start at $149 and a quarter of them have kitchenettes.
Inside, they are light and airy with white bedspreads and steel-frame windows accented by a beautiful burled wood headboard and rattan chairs. There are eclectic touches like the cork and oak tv units. The bathrooms are elevated from their standard marble floor and tiled walls by a burled vanity. And, thankfully, Strauss hasn’t fallen prey to the bizarre trend of late for barn doors on bathrooms.
The ones here fully shut.