Where should I spend the night after arriving into Washington, but not necessarily IN Washington?
May 28, 2012 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for a nice hotel, inn or B&B near Washington DC, southwards-ish down towards the I95.

My wife and I are flying into Dulles from London in June, picking up a hire car, and driving down for a beach holiday in North Carolina.

We'll be pretty pooped upon arrival, getting in at about 6:00pm. Rather than spend the night in a dreary airport hotel and getting an early start on our drive the next morning, we thought we might be up for a short-ish drive in more-or-less the right direction (south on the I95). We're talking maybe, 30-45 minutes, perhaps an hour's drive from Dulles airport if its worth it.

Is there anywhere nice to spend the night in that range? Are there nice towns within that distance that might have a nice inn or hotel? Even a nice B&B would do. My knowledge of the area is non-existent, so I'm open to all alternatives.
posted by generichuman to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can't help with B&B recommendations, but would you consider flying into Virginia Beach or Richmond rather than DC? That would cut your drive by half or even more --- from DC to the Outer Banks is a 5-1/2 to 6 hour drive.
posted by easily confused at 8:09 AM on May 28, 2012

Flights are booked, unfortunately. I was constrained by finding somewhere that BA flew into direct.
posted by generichuman at 8:12 AM on May 28, 2012

Fredericksburg, Virginia, is about the right distance, and here's a nice inn, at least judging by their website.
posted by mareli at 8:21 AM on May 28, 2012

Dang. Then all I've got is The Inn at Little Washington, www.innatlittlewashington.com
posted by easily confused at 8:22 AM on May 28, 2012

Oh, and also: coming in at 6 p.m. means you'll be landing in the middle of rush hour, so be prepared for awful traffic.
posted by easily confused at 8:24 AM on May 28, 2012

The Bennett House B&B in Manassas VA gets great reviews on tripadvisor. Google Maps says it's a 25-minute drive from Dulles (and right en route to I-95), but be advised that any predicted drive times at 6pm in Northern Virginia are not to be trusted. Hope you have a wonderful trip!
posted by argonauta at 8:26 AM on May 28, 2012

Drive might be a little bit more than you are looking for (but will put you right next to I95 for the next day) but Old Town Alexandria might fit the bill. Super cute, lots of restaurants and some nice hotels (I've stayed at the Hotel Monaco where the staff was incredibly nice, and the hotel is very clean and just a couple blocks from the river. The Lorian and the Morrison House are also very nice. There are also some more chain (less boutique) hotels in the area.
If you would like dinner I would suggest The Tasting Room (while technically part of the Lorian hotel, is really neighborhoody and not at all hotel food) or Columbia Firehouse which has great drinks and new american food. If you are willing for a tiny (5-10 minutes) I would suggest going to Del Ray (area right next to Old Town) where you can get the most amazing tacos and margaritas (and is pretty cheap) at Tacorito Poblano then go a block or two down to Dairy Godmother for amazing homemade frozen custard (really rich ice cream, but they do have homemade sorbets too)
posted by zara at 8:43 AM on May 28, 2012

Argh... *willing to go for a tiny drive......
(seriously. amazing fish tacos.)
posted by zara at 8:46 AM on May 28, 2012

I live in Springfield, VA. Manassas is too far out of your way for getting to I-95, and Fredricksburg is too far down I-95 (it's almost two hours from Dulles in moderate traffic, but you're gonna hit during rush hour unless you arrive on a weekend). I guess you could stay in Manassas, as their old town area is nice, but you'll be fighting to get to I-95 via VA-234 the next day.

The Springfield area meets your time and distance constraints and is right on I-95. Also in range (another 10 kilometeres down the road) is Lorton and... Old Town Occoquon and the Occoquon Inn.!

Dulles airport access rd, then I-495, then I-95 south to Occoquan. Exit VA-123. Nothing to it!

It's a surprisingly quaint little area, on the river, and home to one of the better Belgian Brassieres in the DC metro area!
posted by matty at 8:49 AM on May 28, 2012

Oye... I should add that the Occoquan Inn isn't an 'inn' anymore... just a restaurant and tavern.. it'd be a nice place for dinner and a nice view if you don't want to venture into DC.

I meant to include that you could stay at a hotel in Springfield, then have dinner down in Occoquan. There's a perfectly nice Marriott Residence Inn here in Springfield right off I-95.
posted by matty at 8:59 AM on May 28, 2012

There's absolutely no reason you couldn't stay in dc itself. There are two super easy ways to get to 395 from the Mall area- d street or 14th street- and from there, it's straight highway to 95 south. If you're leaving in the morning, there's almost no traffic in that direction.

If you're staying in dc, check out the kimpton hotels. If you sign up for their loyalty program (free) you can get great discounts booking last minute. I stayed at The Topaz last weekend in a suite for $100 a night.
posted by empath at 9:58 AM on May 28, 2012

If your plane lands at 6 it will take a while to clear customs, get rental car etc. By that point the worst of rush hour should be over. Manassas is a good idea. Mapquest from Dulles to Fredericksburg- which is on I 95- shows a route through Manassas. You probably don't want to go into Washington all jet-lagged. I hope you have a wonderful trip, wherever you go.
posted by mareli at 10:22 AM on May 28, 2012

I agree with Manassas if you're feeling tired. I also agree that you want to consider rush hour traffic for the following morning.

If you want to stay closer to the city, you could plan to take your time getting your baggage and car, take a short drive to a leisurely dinner somewhere near the airport (Reston?) -- thereby waiting for rush hour traffic to die down, then get on the Dulles Toll Rd or I-66 and head in toward the city or toward a more southerly point on I-95. Avoiding rush hour (7-9:30 AM, 4-7:30PM weekdays) will give you more flexibility in your route.

I mention Reston because it has "Reston Town Center," a large pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants. I don't have a specific recommendation there, and there are a bunch of chain places; it is emphatically NOT a quaint country inn. But if you want a place near Dulles where you can park the car and just walk around and be reasonably sure you'll find something okay to eat, this is it.

Note that the Dulles access highway (267) is a toll road; you will need to pay a fee to drive on it, so get some US cash at the airport.

(If you're interested in flight and want to see a space shuttle up close, the Air and Space Museum's Udvar Hazy center is very close to Dulles, free admission, and worth the detour. It closes around 5 usually, so you could think about hitting it on your way home.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:28 AM on May 28, 2012

There are some excellent suggestions here, thank you all for the local knowledge. I'm Toronto and London (well, now I'm a country boy) based, so no stranger to traffic.

We'll look into DC, but I think we'll check it out on the way back - rather than in a jet lagged haze.
posted by generichuman at 11:19 AM on May 28, 2012

I recommend just staying at an airport hotel. Like some other people have said, a 6pm arrival means heavy rush hour traffic in DC. In addition, trying to head south, is going to be a nightmare. Lots and lots of people in DC take beach vacations-- and many of them will be heading in the same direction as you.
posted by emilynoa at 2:59 PM on May 28, 2012

Yeah, that was the reason I was suggesting dc. Go in during the evening, leave in the middle of the day, no traffic at all. I would be miserable spending two hours driving around the beltway in rush hour after a long flight.
posted by empath at 3:16 PM on May 28, 2012

Occoquan is a little touristy, but very quaint. I would skip the Beltway though, and take 28 to 50 to 7100 to 123 (this is the second option on Google Maps). Specifically, I would avoid actually getting on 95 going south in the evening.

(Just throwing this out there, there's also The Mason Inn...really I just want someone to stay here so they can tell me what it is my school actually spends money on.)
posted by anaelith at 3:41 PM on May 28, 2012

Getting anywhere into DC will probably take an hour or more that time of day, and it's basically going to ADD to the next day's drive time on the trip to the Outer Banks. Going from Dulles to Alexandria is basically going straight east, so it won't add to the way south, but it would take at least an hour and a half (if not more!) in the evening --- yes, I do that drive all the time; that's my own evening commute home: it may be only 25 miles but it's 25 SLOW miles. The big problem with this whole evening drive south from Dulles is that's when & where the worst of the rush hour traffic will be --- and around here, 'evening rush hour' starts 4-4:30pm and runs to 9pm or later.

If you're willing to do a chain hotel, these are all around the Rt. 28/Rt. 50 intersection, about 12-15 miles south of Dulles Airport via Rt. 28 --- I don't have websites, but can hunt them up if you want. (A good search term would be for hotels in Chantilly, since that's the town where the airport is actually located.)
Fairfield Inn & Suites Dulles, 703-435-1111
Courtyard Dulles Airport Chantilly, 703-709-7100
Wingate by Wyndham, 571-203-0999
Town Place Suites Chantilly Dulles South, 703-709-0453
Residence Inn Chantilly Dulles South, 703-263-7900
Extended Stay America, 703-263-7173
Comfort Suites, 703-263-2007
posted by easily confused at 5:49 PM on May 28, 2012

If anyone is still interested, we stayed at Bennet House Bed and Breakfast in Manassas as argonauta suggested. It was really very nice, and SUPER easy from IAD.

Bonus followup: on the way home, we broke up the journey by staying in Norfolk. Very pretty city!

Thanks to all locals for awesome knowledge.
posted by generichuman at 7:48 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Julia Child's kitchen table   |   Will evergreen shrubs survive a Calgary winter in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.