The unscripted moments can feel few and far between these days. So, when Hotel Indigo in Old Town Alexandria offered us a complimentary night stay on a recent summer weekend, we hopped right on over to Old Town, Alexandria for a lovely staycation on the other side of the river. We couldn’t have been more excited for 24 hours with nothing on the agenda but free time and brunch.
I was immediately charmed by the fact that my suitcase (yes, I brought a suitcase for an overnight stay) bopped along the cobblestone street before entering the minimalistic lobby at Hotel Indigo. The colonial style hotel is only a few blocks from the bustling King Street, but feels like a hidden gem situated on the waterfront that makes Old Town such a popular destination.
Once we checked into the modern, but comfortable room, took in the sweeping views of the Potomac (and the casual yacht sightings), and rejoiced over the Aveda products in the bathroom, we hustled down to Hummingbird for a leisurely meal.
You enter Hummingbird through a freshly built patio on a walkway lined with green ivy—a landscape that is usually an indication of a longstanding property.
The boutique hotel invited us in to try the buzzing new restaurant brought to the waterfront scene by Chef and restaurateur Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve and Society Fair. Hummingbird restaurant is situated on the waterfront side of the hotel and is complete with a nectar room for larger parties, a scenic outdoor terrace for those able to bear the heat, various nautical accents including a raw bar, and a lounge area outfitted with flamingo pillows, which we naturally flocked to after brunch.
I began with a French 75, essentially a fancy glass of Champagne, with an extra dose of gin for good measure. Because, if you’re staying in a hotel, you’re on vacation, right? Gavin started with a Mexican cola, a very strong version of a rum and coke. They were both on point and hit the spot.
The nectar room is aptly named for private dining and carries the nautical theme of the larger dining room through rope chandeliers and copper weather veins adorning the wall. It’s not hard to deduce that the airy, nautical vibe is meant to pair with the seafood-centric menu, with a focus on seasonal fare. So, we started the meal with the grilled octopus and crab cake appetizers to share.
I’ve found myself at seafood brunches more often than not this summer. Siren and Salt Line to name a couple—and both were delicious. The streak was not going to end today. Gavin and I can rarely say no to grilled octopus, so we’ve sampled our fair share of the eight-legged friend. The version at Hummingbird was fantastic, paired with fresh cherry tomatoes and olives, every bite was like tasting a wonderfully constructed, light seafood salad, with the perfect amount of crunch.
Chef let us preview a new brunch item, the Eggs Benedict with Virginia ham. Eggs Benny is a stalwart on most brunch menus, but this version was the first time I’ve seen a local chef incorporating Virginia ham—one of the state’s greatest exports—into the classic brunch dish. We devoured every last morsel.
As much as I’ve been on a seafood kick, I needed to add a good old fashioned BLT into my brunch rotation. I’ve been fortunate in my decisions when to order which. This was a top-notch version, with crispy iceberg lettuce, perfectly cooked bacon and bread, and just the right amount of mayo. It transported me to a diner, in the best way.
We weaved a few greens into our meal with the beautiful fresh farm salad, which Chef graciously split into two portions. Even then, they were too big for us to get through, but a stunning presentation nonetheless. We could order this salad with a side of fries and an adult slushie and be perfectly content.
We rounded out our Saturday staycation brunch with a spiked slushie in the lush courtyard, looking out at our apartment on the other side of the river. So close, yet so far.
The Bitches say: A. Treat yourself to brunch, dinner, and an overnight nap at the new, beautiful Hotel Indigo and Hummingbird restaurant. The one-two punch offers bountiful seafood fare, waterfront views, and outdoor fire pits that feel like a home away from home.
220 South Union St.