It’s the most wonderful time of the year to be in D.C. — and not just because the presidential election season is in full swing. Sprinkled among the capital’s famed monuments and eateries is an impressive lineup of new stores that promise to raise Washington’s status as a destination for more than politics.
CityCenterDC alone, for instance, continues to expand and is now home to 33 high-end retail locations, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Caudalie, Dior and David Yurman.
For this year’s gift guide, we scoured this new shopping landscape for some of the best it has to offer, mixing newcomers with old standbys to create a gift list that speaks to D.C.’s style but caters to every price range. Happy holidays — and happy hunting.
Reasonable: Jackery mobile battery chargers
Cell phones are a critical lifeline nowadays, so don’t let them die on you. This California-based portable mobile battery charger company has released a new line of products for the holiday season. Choose from the Crew: 5-Port High-Speed USB Charging Hub ($19.99 on Jackery.com), which lets you charge five devices at once; the Titan ($36.99 on Amazon.com), which can charge an Apple iPhone at least 10 times before needing to be recharged itself; and the Giant+ ($29.99 on Jackery), which provides eight hours of phone usage from 15 minutes of charging.
Splurge: Apple Watch Edition
$10,000 to $17,000
OK, so this is pushing it for the splurge category, but compared with the price tag for the next item, it’s all relative. This version of Apple’s popular smartwatch comes in eight models. The cheapest has the smallest face and is wrapped in an 18-carat rose gold case with a white sport band. One of the pricier options comes with an 18-carat yellow gold case and bright red band. Available in small, medium and large, the watches let you receive and respond to notifications, control your playlist and monitor physical activity levels for anyone making New Year’s resolutions to get fit. It comes with a leather charging box. Oh, and it also tells time.
Extravagant: Tesla Model X
Contact for pricing, but a $5,000 deposit is required
8500 Tyco Road, Vienna, Va.
Make a reservation to get the Tesla Model X delivered in the latter half of 2016. Billed as “the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history,” it has all-wheel drive, a battery that provides 250 miles of driving and capacity for seven adults. It goes from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds — not too shabby for an electric vehicle.
Reasonable: Drybar’s the Four Pack
1825 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Get — and keep — that holiday hairstyle with the help of products from Drybar, a nationwide salon brand (with three area locations) that exclusively offers blowouts. This package includes Detox Dry Shampoo, Money Maker Hairspray, Sparkling Soda Shine Mist and Triple Sec 3-in-1. Purchase these items separately and they cost $52.
Splurge: Lou & Grey’s Cashmere Rib Hoodie
It’s tough to go wrong with an open cardigan. This 100 percent cashmere sweater from Lou & Grey, which opened a freestanding store at Tysons Corner, Va., in November, hits below the hips and has ribbing detail, big pockets and a hood. Get it in pale gray or caramel.
Extravagant: Louis Vuitton Pochette Mask PM
943 Palmer Alley, NW, Suite 307
The Totem collection is new to the Louis Vuitton luxury brand, famous for its monogram designs. With bright pink coral, berry and blue accents, this bag, made of coated canvas and calf leather, will fight off the winter doldrums with a splash of color. Wear it looped on your wrist, over your shoulder or as a cross-body purse. Find it at Louis Vuitton’s first free-standing store in Washington. Located in CityCenterDC, it opened in August.
Reasonable: Vans Slip-On at Federal
2216 14th St., NW
Get a head start on spring and add some color to the gray months ahead with a pair of navy Vans. The classic canvas shoe has white stitching and elastic side accents in addition to the telltale waffle outsole.
Splurge: Kit and Ace Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt
1921 8th St., NW, #115
This sweater, made of cashmere, rayon and spandex, is both sporty and work-appropriate. It almost looks like a two-in-one, with charcoal heather peeking out at the neckline and on the sides of the navy shirt. Kit and Ace, founded by the former lead designer for Lululemon Athletica, opened its first D.C. location in October.
Extravagant: Canali Custom Suits
Visit store for pricing
978 I St., NW
The Italian designer opened its ninth boutique in the United States at CityCenterDC. Find looks ranging from casual wear to “made to measure” suits. These custom designs begin with a consultation with a Canali master tailor — available only during “master tailor” events. Wallets, travel bags, ties, cuff links and gloves are also available.
Reasonable: “Goodnight iPad” at Chocolate Moose
1743 L St., NW
A modern twist on the classic “Goodnight Moon” book, first published in 1947, the “Goodnight iPad” parody aims to teach children and adults alike to power down their electronic devices and get some rest. When the author’s name is Ann Droyd, you know you’re in for some high-tech wit.
Splurge: Lego White House from the White House Historical Association
Got budding architects on your hands? Or perhaps a presidential hopeful? Let them recreate history by constructing a 3-D model of the White House. The finished product stands at about four inches tall and nine inches wide.
Extravagant: Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge
Family suites start at $199 a night
549 E. Rochambeau Drive, Williamsburg, Va.
Home to an 84-degree indoor water park divided into areas for toddlers, tweens and adults, Great Wolf Lodge will transform from Nov. 28 to Jan. 3 into a winter wonderland. The annual Snowland celebration includes indoor snow showers, visits from Santa and other wintry activities. Also check out a life-size, dine-in gingerbread house featuring 5,000-plus candies, 600 pounds of dough and 1,320 pounds of sugar. Proceeds from meals in the house go to Ronald McDonald House Charities. New this year are Snowland Suites, which include a decorated tree and two souvenirs: a throw blanket and a book. Add $40 to your booking for a Snowland Suite.
Reasonable: Shearling Eye Mask at Shinola
1631 14th St., NW
Made with leather cords and sheepskin from Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon, this luxurious eye mask will soften the experience of a long flight or a delay and turn heads — in a good way. Shinola, a Detroit-based company specializing in American-made goods from watches to bicycles, recently opened its first D.C. location.
Splurge: Delsey STARCKTRIP Jakartack International Carry-On Duffle Bag
The luggage maker teamed with French designer Philippe Starck to create a sleek new line of bags and suitcases. This carry-on is made from an antibacterial material that is also stain- and water-resistant. The bag can hold four shirts, a toiletry bag, three pairs of pants, a coat and two pairs of shoes. For something a bit more chic, the iconic French luggage brand also has the Parisian vintage-inspired Chatelet model, which has a nifty stop-and-go brake system to prevent your bag from rolling away, as well as the boldly colored Belfort Plus collection, which combines shock-resistant polypropylene material with silent spinner wheels.
Extravagant: Lyon Festival of Lights
While Paris often gets top billing as a prime tourist destination, Lyon, France’s second-largest city by population, is a mecca of art, culture, gastronomy and urban sophistication. It may be the famed City of Lights, but it’s home to the Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières), one of the oldest and largest light festivals in the world. Now in its 17th year, this popular tradition features an array of lighting designers, filmmakers, architects, graphic designers, visual artists and street artists. The 2015 edition will focus on the themes of nature and the environment with creations that will transform the city into a green haven, including giant peonies on the peninsula, a green island on Place de la Comedie and an imaginary voyage at Place des Terreaux.
Extravagant: Alpenwild Scenic Alps by Rail
Offered year-round, this 10-day all-inclusive trip includes stays in Lucerne, Lugano, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Gruyères and Interlaken, plus first-class train travel on renowned lines such as Glacier Express, which is said to be the most famous ride in the world; the GoldenPass Line, which has rotating seats and panoramic windows; and Jungfrau Railway, which ends at a station that overlooks the longest glacier in the Alps.
Reasonable: Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Café
$15 per hour ($20/hour on weekdays for parents and children, $10/hour for students on weekdays)
3211 O St., NW
Want to pet a cat without making a commitment? Want to drink coffee and eat baked goods while you do it? This is the place for that. Opened this summer, this novel café concept fosters cats from local shelters until they can be adopted out. Until then, about 20 cats are available at any given time for a purr-fect feline fix.
Splurge: Shinola Contrast Dog Collar and Leash
$75 for collar, $125 for leash
Available at Filson
1534 14th St., NW
Made with brass hardware and Wickett and Craig vegetable-tanned bridle leather on the inside and vegetable-tanned Horween leather on the outside, these items will make man’s best friend not just safe, but stylish.
Extravagant: Tradition De France Pet Bed
Available at Olde Town Pet Resort in Virginia
In case Fido or Fifi need to sleep in real comfort, consider this four-poster pet bed, made by French woodworkers as part of the team of cabinetmakers and carpenters from Tradition De France.
Reasonable: Caravan of Spices
Available at Bazaar Spices at Union Market
1309 5th St., NE
These five ancient spice blends — Berbere, Baharat, Chermoula, Ras El Hanout and Zaatar — come from North Africa and the Middle East. But you don’t need a plane ride to hook up your favorite food or cooking enthusiasts.
Splurge: Moët & Chandon Golden Diamond Suit
Available at 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Liquors
2012 P St., NW
This 750-millileter bottle of bubbly comes wrapped in gold, but if more bling is your thing, personalize the bottle’s brass plaque. Perfect for popping the cork at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Extravagant: Plume DC
Prix fixe menu is $98 per person
1200 16th St., NW
Situated inside the Jefferson, a boutique hotel that pays homage to the third U.S. president, this posh restaurant offers appetizers such as cocoa-marbled foie gras terrine; entrées like bison strip loin and lobster gratin; and desserts including a masala chai panna cotta and speculoos and salted caramel stone, which is made with salted caramel custard, speculoos froth and green apple marshmallow.
Reasonable: Ann Taylor’s Limited Edition Elephant Jewelry Collection
Inspired by the elephant, which represents strength and family, this collection is available though Jan. 30 at area Ann Taylor locations. Choose from a white or gold pendant, a ring or a bangle. The animal’s ears and eyes are accented with clear rhinestones. Bonus: Ann Taylor will donate half the purchase price to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Splurge: Club Monaco Radà Noel Ribbon Earrings
3295 M St., NW
The trendy fashion store is returning to Georgetown this month (another location in Tysons also recently opened), just in time for the holiday season. Club Monaco’s striking blue, crystal-and-fringe tassel earrings are made from glass, brass, silk and polyester.
Extravagant: Platinum Vintage Bracelet at Tiny Jewel Box
1147 Connecticut Ave., NW
Put a lot of sparkle in someone’s holiday with this stunning bracelet made of platinum, a 55.60-carat aquamarine center stone and about 7.3 carats of diamonds. The iconic, family-owned jewelry story, which opened in 1930, boasts the area’s largest collection of vintage and antique jewelry and recently underwent a major expansion, taking over the space of the former Burberry shop next door.
Reasonable: Marine Therapy Pedi Scrub at Aura Spa
Winter’s dry air can take a toll on feet, even when they’re bundled in boots. Dream of the warm sea air and give those piggies some TLC with this 30-minute treatment, a blend of Dead Sea salts and sea extracts, at Aura Spa, which has four D.C. locations.
Splurge: Cinnamon Apple Facial at the Lorien Hotel and Spa
1600 King St., Alexandria, Va.
This 50-minute treatment is available through Jan. 31. Besides the usual facial goodness, the Cinnamon Apple Facial adds antioxidants, fruit acids and peptides to tighten, tone and brighten the skin while cinnamon warms and eliminates fatigue. Throw in a hand-and-foot treatment for another $25 for extra-stressed recipients.
Extravagant: Pinnacle Facial at the Greenbrief
300 W. Main St., White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
This 80-minute facial, offered at the Greenbrier’s Mineral Spa — ranked one of the world’s best by Condé Nast Traveler — is an enzymatic treatment that deep cleanses and revitalizes with a collagen mask, firming mask and hydrating serum. The experience includes special treatment for eyes and lips. Beyond the spa, the historic hotel itself has quite the reputation, having hosted 26 presidents and more than its share of diplomats.
Host and Home
Reasonable: DC Neighborhoods Glass Coasters from iconsDC
This set of four coasters pays homage to lesser-celebrated areas of Washington — Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle and Logan Circle — plus one rather famous one: Capitol Hill. Made of silk screens under glass, the coasters measure four-by-four inches. To complete the authentic hometown look, buy matching glasses elegantly decorated with a map of the city, including pint glasses and mason jars.
Splurge: Courier Magazine Sling at Room & Board
1840 14th St., NW
Yes, some people still read things on paper, not on little handheld screens. And those people might like something besides a bookshelf or tabletop to store these elusive paper-based goods. The Courier Magazine Sling features a powder-coated steel base and a waxed cotton canvas and leather sling. The result is rugged yet classy.
Extravagant: Thos. Moser Stacks
1028 33rd St., NW
Famous for American handcrafted wood furniture, this store, which reopened in Georgetown this past spring, is offering a new line of simple, sensible and stunning pieces. These small boxes are made of walnut and cherry and can stack in threes. Treated with a food-safe finish, the undersides of their lids may be used as a cheeseboard while the bowls double as storage or serving pieces for snacks.
About the Author
Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.