Do you ever walk around Dupont Circle and wonder what is behind the ornate Victorian facades of the mansions that were built for DC’s rich and famous back in the day? I know I’m always curious about both the interiors and the history of these architectural wonders. While so many of them have been cut into trendy condos and apartments, The Mansion at O Street presents a unique adventure and a particularly Washingtonian experience.
I had no idea that this treasure even existed until a friend took me for a belated birthday outing to O-dinner-tini (yes, really) on Monday night. This event apparently takes place every Monday night from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. I was completely swept away upon crossing the threshold.
Walking into The Mansion at O Street involves being greeted by several staff members who showed us to the coat room and our table and the bar. The interior is festooned with a ridiculous number of huge ornate crystal chandeliers, and rich Victorian architectural details such as carved woodwork and a decorative ceiling. Serving as a gallery, as well as a hotel, the rooms are covered from floor to ceiling with artwork and such curiosities as guitars signed by rock stars.
As intense as the décor is, the food is quite spectacular as well. The front parlor is home to an extensive display of extreme desserts. The dinner buffet has a room of its own, with cuisine ranging from elegant comfort foods including beef stew and garlic mashed potatoes, to a wide range of vegetarian choices such as pastas and soups. Most fun, however, is the peanut butter station, which included white bread, marshmallow fluff, honey, and of course, jelly. (I’d say The Mansion would be a fun kid outing for older elementary school age and up.) During the meal, we were well attended by the plentiful white-gloved staff. Continues after the jump.
After dinner, we were encouraged to explore the one hundred room mansion, which is actually five interconnected townhomes. The Mansion’s web site describes it as having thirty two secret doors. (Further intriguing is the detailed description as to the lengths The Mansion staff will go to protect visitors’ privacy.) Guest rooms range in style from 1980’s-era translation of Art Deco, to all out Victoriana, to a wild top floor Log Cabin duplex penthouse suite. Seriously, it’s worth the trip just to see the Log Cabin.
For more about the history and events that take place at The Mansion at O Street, visit http://www.omansion.com/about/