Feeling in need of a post-Christmas pick-me-up? From a masterful yoga class to a woodland walk, here are five of the best rejuvenating activities to do in America’s power capital, Washington DC
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A Club Water View Room
Book the most relaxing hotel room in town
Bed down in style with Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC’s Refresh, Rejuvenate room package. Everything has been considered, from making the most of the Potomac River views to credit to splash out on in the hotel’s contemporary 10,500-square-foot Spa. As for the rooms, enjoy the results of a multi-million-dollar, mood-lifting revamp by Kent Interior Design. Think duck-egg blue walls, cherry blossom prints and elegant tubs, where you’ll find bottles of Elemental Bath and Shower Oil by The Spa at Mandarin Oriental to set you up for your first soak.
Yoga Del Sol
Take a sunrise yoga class
Catch the 6.15am vinyasa class at DC’s fêted Yoga Del Sol studio. Owner Diego Del Sol is arguably the best teacher in town and has been hosting classes for more than 20 years, but all the teachers here get rave reviews. The space is gorgeous: exposed bricks, orchid-laden windowsills, smooth hardwood floors and huge tree-facing windows that flood the space with natural light. If you can face the early rise, this Georgetown institution is a great way to start your day.
The Theodore Roosevelt memorial on Roosevelt Island
Visit an overlooked island
Despite its miles of tranquil nature trails and 80-plus acres of woodland, Theodore Roosevelt Island is one of Washington DC’s least visited tourist attractions (the best way to get there is by Metro, then it’s a 10-minute walk from Rosslyn station), making it all the better for solace seekers wanting to recharge their batteries on one of its easy rambles; try the 1.5-mile loop trail, which takes you through atmospheric Cattail Marsh and swamp-laced woods. The area is a haven for nature – Roosevelt himself was an avid fan of the outdoors as well as a birdwatcher, so it’s fitting that more than 200 species of bird pass through the national park every year.
Explore the city’s green spaces by bicycle
Few things are guaranteed to boost your mood like whizzing down the National Mall on a bicycle. The city’s grand boulevards, contemplative gardens and awe-inspiring monuments demand to be enjoyed on two wheels. Make sure you stop off at the Meridian Hill Park with its striking tiered waterfall, and Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden, a Zen masterpiece featuring Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree and works by Matisse and Rodin. Hire a bike from Capital Bikeshare, which has more than 3,500 bicycles spread across 400 stations in the Washington DC area.
DC’s Bonfire restaurant
Taxi downtown for a feel-good nightcap
Floor-to-ceiling sweeping curtains, vast brick walls and artfully piled logs make new Downtown DC restaurant Bonfire the ultimate cosy dinner spot. There’s plenty of healthy fare on the menu – order Virginia rainbow trout with crispy pitta and a side of roasted red and yellow beets with pumpkin seeds and wholegrain vinaigrette – but it’s the drinks menu that seduces on a sub-zero winter night. Make yours a Snowbunny, a knockout mix of Absolut Elyx Vodka infused with pear and chamomile, lemon, sparkling wine and pomelo skin.