Business Ins & Outs: Kittens, Coffee and Four Seasons at 40

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A kitten lounge has opened on M Street in Georgetown. Courtesy Crumbs & Whiskers.

In: M St. Kitten Pop-Up; Crumbs & Whiskers Moving

Cat lovers, rejoice! From your feline friends at Crumbs & Whiskers comes the Kitten Lounge at 3109 M St. NW. The nation’s first kitten-encounter pop-up opened March 1, just in time for kitten season, a time of year when kittens are overcrowding shelters, resulting in euthanasia or being turned away. Guests can choose from a 15-minute, 30-minute or 70-minute experience with kittens for a fee. After June, Crumbs & Whiskers — which opened at 3211 O St. NW in 2014 — plans to transfer its business to the M Street spot, the former Trunk and Drawer. It will occupy a single floor on the lower level, roughly the same size as the O Street place.

It’s Our Ruby: 40th Anniversary of the Four Seasons

The Four Seasons at 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW is celebrating 40 years in business. Back in 1979, chairman and founder Isadore Sharp introduced his luxury lodging concept from Canada to the U.S. and the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC was born — in Georgetown. It was the first U.S. hotel with concierge service.

Today, the Four Seasons remains the first and only hotel in Washington to be awarded five stars by Forbes and five diamonds by AAA. Last month, it received top marks from U.S. News & World Report, the newsmagazine that includes global rankings and consumer advice. Headquartered two blocks from the hotel, U.S. News recognized the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC as “the #1 Hotel in Washington DC” and “Overall #15 Best Hotel in the USA” in its annual evaluation of hotels that offer high-quality amenities.

“That we are able to remain innovative and continuously push the envelope to offer extraordinary service experiences speaks volumes of our team. We are always striving to do better,” says David Bernand, the hotel’s GM and a Four Seasons regional vice president.

The hotel has 222 guest rooms, including 58 suites, and 13 event spaces with multiple outdoor options. It boasts a 3,500-square-foot spa with a swimming pool and sauna and fitness facilities, as well as Eno Wine Bar, power-breakfast restaurant Seasons and Bourbon Steak.

During its 2015 renovations, the hotel added the Royal Suite, with a private terrace and bulletproof windows. It has hosted VIPs and celebrities from Ronald Reagan in 1979 to King Salman of Saudi Arabia in 2015, when he rented the entire hotel for his entourage.

In addition, the Four Seasons has given millions to cancer research in direct and in-kind donations over its 40 years in operation.

The hotel was built on land serving a far less luxurious purpose: the property was the site of a Metrobus maintenance facility. The main building was designed by David Childs, an architect with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill who went on to design projects around the country, including the new One World Trade Center in New York City.

An invitation-only 40th anniversary party for the hotel will be held this Saturday, March 9.

X Marks the Meat: Bourbon Steak Celebrates 10 Years

While the Four Seasons is celebrating 40 years, Bourbon Steak, the swanky steakhouse opened by head chef Michael Mina within the hotel, is celebrating a decade of its own. It prides itself on upscale cocktails and fine wines. The festivities began in January with a special five-course dinner priced at $200.90, a nod to the restaurant’s first year in business.

Slow Pour: Compass Coffee in Old Georgetown Theater

Local coffee chain Compass Coffee has been taking its time moving into the former Georgetown Theater property at 1351 Wisconsin Ave. NW. The chain sought approval for 112 seats at the site, but — the reason for the delayed opening — zoning limits the total seating for coffee shop customers to just 18 persons.

Acquired: Kiplinger Goes British

Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc., founded in Washington, D.C., in 1920, has been sold to London-based Dennis Publishing. W. M. Kiplinger launched the Kiplinger Washington Letter in 1923 and the Kiplinger Tax Letter in 1925. Kiplinger and son Austin — known in Georgetown for his support of Tudor Place — started Kiplinger Magazine, one of the first to focus on personal finances, in 1947. It remains the company’s best-performing product, claiming a monthly circulation of 600,000. Dennis Publishing’s many brands include the Week, based in New York, and TheWeek.com.

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