View of the Washington monument in Washington D.C.
Washington, D.C.

Three days of wellness: Washington, D.C.

While the USA’s mighty capital is best known as an epicentre of political power, Washington, D.C. is also packed with wellness hits. Here, running routes weave past historic monuments, meditative moments can be found in beautiful gardens and there are clever spa treatments for those seeking serious relaxation. This three-day guide gives the inside track on the city’s best wellbeing boosts

View of National Mall, Washington D.C.

Day One

Kick-start your day

There are few more exhilarating ways to begin the day than with a run. Just ten minutes from Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C. is the National Mall (pictured above), a park renowned for its fascinating running routes. You can expect views of the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument’s marble obelisk, as well as the Lincoln Memorial and its pretty, reflective pool. For a run with rural-feel escapism, pound Rock Creek Park’s a foliage-filled ten-mile loop trail just a quarter of an hour’s drive from the hotel. 

Do something different 

After you’ve worked up an appetite, fuel up at an Ethiopian restaurant. D.C. is home to one of the largest communities of Ethiopians outside the country itself, and Ethiopian cuisine is one of the healthiest, with many plant-based options. The choice in the capital is sensational – think traditional injera and hearty stews. Head to DAS in Georgetown for feasts of red lentils with berbere sauce and chicken doro wat in elegant surroundings.

Settle into stillness

Head to Georgetown and take a stroll along a portion of the C&O Canal. The 184.5 mile-long waterway was built in the 1800s, and originally used to transport goods to West Virginia. Cross wooden bridges and pass picturesque waterwheels along the shaded gravel path, and enjoy a mental health boost too as being near water has been shown to lower stress and lift happiness levels.

Spa pool at Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.

Day two

Kick-start your day  

Get the endorphins going and clear your mind with a brisk morning swim at the gorgeous 50-foot indoor lap pool (pictured above) at the hotel spa and fitness centre. Not only is swimming a great cardiovascular workout, it also helps to build up muscle tone and strength. Afterwards, cosy up on a poolside daybed for a well-deserved rest.

Do something different

Make for The Wharf Boathouse and take to the waters of the picturesque Potomac River on a self-guided kayak or paddleboard session. Work your core as you paddle down river past fleets of boats docked at the expansive marina and soak up views of East Potomac Park – particularly spectacular during the cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons – juxtaposed with glimmering high rises. If you prefer cycling, rent a bike from Capital Bikeshare with an easy-to-use app, and take in the scenery on two wheels instead.

Settle into stillness

Cathedral Close – 59 acres of gardens and grounds surrounding the Washington National Cathedral, is one of D.C.’s most peaceful spots. Slow your thoughts on a stroll through the Cathedral Garth and All Souls Memorial Garden – an enclosed garden featuring an abstract fountain. Walk along the stone-paved Pilgrim Path that winds through the serene Olmsted Woods, or take a moment’s contemplation in the herb-filled walled Bishop’s Garden.

Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden Washington, D.C.

Day three

Kick-start your day

Give new meaning to rush hour with a heart-racing dash up and down the Watergate Steps, which sit just west of the Lincoln Memorial on the Potomac. Originally built as a dock for dignitaries disembarking from riverboats, and later used as a concert space, the granite steps are now much loved by locals who use them for stadium step-style workouts.

Do something different 

The Hirshhorn Museum’s sculpture garden (pictured above) is a tranquil haven with impressive artworks – by the likes of Jeff Koons and Henry Moore – on display year round. A walk here brings together two known mental health boosters: art and the great outdoors. Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington – a stunning Japanese dogwood tree where you can whisper your wishes into the branches – is particularly special.

Settle into stillness

Round things off with a signature Oriental Essence massage at the hotel spa. This body treatment unknots tension across the body, focussing in on the neck, shoulders and any other areas of concern. Quintessence oil, a warming blend of ginger, mandarin and frankincense, helps to stabilise the mind and calm emotions, resulting in a state of all-out zen.

Words by Ianthe Butt

Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C.
Come Stay with Us
Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C.

1330 Maryland Avenue SW , Washington, D.C. 20024, United States of America

+1 (202) 554 8588

Woman stretch her leg in the morning sunshine

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