sprite’s folks are in town this weekend, and they’re staying at the tricked-out “new” DC hotel, the Hotel Palomar.

In a former life, this hotel was the increasingly-run-down Raddison Barcelo, once one of the nicer mid-line hotels in DC. Its restaurant, Gabriel, was once noted for its tapas and wonderful brunch. But the Barcelo fell into musical-owner syndrome, which caused the place to go downhill, and caused Gabriel to lose its award-winning chef.

For the past year, Kimpton Hotels has been throwing millions of dollars into improvements to the old structure, and the result is really great: a hip, fun hotel with colorful furniture, a laid-back attitude, and a lovely, open lobby. The rooms are really nice: warm, with big, comfy seatnig areas, a functional work area with high-speed internet and a great desk chair, a cool bathroom (with an oddly-placed toilet, a hold-over from the old place), and a nice palette of M&Ms.

The place even has in-room spa treatments as an option, as well as a wine reception every evening at 5. It’s very, very cool, and a nice addition to the Dupont Circle neighborhood.

It’s one heck of an improvement over the old place, and a place I’d recommend to friends and family who want a full hotel experience.