Washington DC Shines, Despite Today’s Politics

The view of the Jefferson Memorial from a paddleboat Washington's Tidal basin. Max Hartshorne photo.
The view of the Jefferson Memorial from a paddleboat Washington's Tidal basin. Max Hartshorne photo.
The view of the Jefferson Memorial from a paddleboat in Washington’s Tidal Basin. Max Hartshorne photo.

I’m just back from a trip to Washington, DC, where the beauty of the city and the energy of its citizens energized and entertained me. If you haven’t spent time in the capital in recent years I’d highly recommend a visit. More than 20 million people visited DC last year, and there are a whole lot of reasons why that number will keep growing in 2017.

Being able to see the buildings that memorialize our greatest presidents as well as the newest monuments like the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Martin Luther King statue is exhilarating, and refreshing.

In the glittering sun of a lazy Sunday, we climbed into paddleboats and enjoyed monument-viewing up close in the Tidal Basin.  All around were the great monuments, the obelisk nod to our first president, Washington, the rectangular Lincoln Memorial and the newest monument to our nation’s great African American citizens, which looks like a crown, with a dark color that contrasts with the lighter colors of the others.

The city has expanded its water transit network in the face of traffic problems so that now, many residents commute to the city from Maryland and Virginia by water taxi.  We cruised up the muddy Potomac River where were told that the water quality has dramatically improved–but you still can’t go swimming, or, God forbid, drink it.

Yet this didn’t stop a flotilla of kayakers, paddleboarders, and pleasure boaters large and small from taking to the water on this sunny afternoon.

Kayaking on the Potomac River in Washington DC.
Kayaking on the Potomac River in Washington DC.

The river is an area that’s going to be dramatically changed when the expansion of the Kennedy Center is completed in Sept 2018. As part of an ongoing $175 million expansion project, a new pedestrian bridge will connect the Kennedy Center to Rock Creek Trail, which runs along the Potomac River, connecting the National Mall to Georgetown, Rock Creek Park, and the C&O Canal.

If a visit to DC is in your future, you’ll find plenty of hotels to choose from. In fact, 4,635 of the city’s hotel rooms are within walking distance to the Walter Washington Convention Center.

Find DC Hotels on Bonwi, and you’ll earn Bonwi points for a future trip!

Bonwi: The Travel Booking Site That Pays You Back

The Mayflower Hotel: Living History

Do you have that historic hotel you’ve wanted to visit forever but has always seemed out of reach? For me, that hotel was The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The Mayflower, built in 1925, has witnessed Washington’s history for the past 90 years. From Inaugural balls to more sordid affairs, every corner of the Mayflower has a story to tell.

The Mayflower is steeped in luxury as much as history- and has rates to match. That is, it does during the week while official Washington goes about its business.  Once the lobbyists clear out, rates at The Mayflower drop within reach of mere mortals. I took advantage of The Mayflower’s weekend discounts to enjoy a stay that didn’t break the bank.

Sometimes when you’ve built up a hotel in your head it can’t possibly be a great as you want it to be. My stay at The Mayflower more than met expectations. It helped that I surrendered to the history with a biography of John F. Kennedy in hand. He had an apartment at The Mayflower during his Congressional days (and it’s rumored one of his many girlfriends was a regular there as well). Curled up with Jack, it was so easy to lose myself in time.

Booking With Bonwi And Getting 26 Percent Back

Making the reasonable weekend rate even more enticing is a new booking site: Bonwi. Bonwi is tailored to make travel shopping both easy and rewarding. The site promises up to five times the rewards you can get from other sites. As Travel Hack TravelingMom, I’m all about rewards. But I also take claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. Bonwi asked TravelingMom to test the site and give an honest review.

Imagine my surprise when Bonwi not only met but exceeded its promises!

The weekend I visited The Mayflower, Bonwi’s rates matched both Travelocity and Expedia. Both offer a rewards program averaging 2 percent that can only be used towards future hotel bookings on the same site. Marriott.com had a $10/night lower rate and offered Marriott Rewards points. But you would need to be loyal to Marriott over many stays to earn enough points to use them.

Bonwi not only offered a competitive rate, the site offered a whopping 12,553 points back on a $479 two night booking: a 26% rewards earning rate! Even better, the points are super easy to use. The points posted within a day of checkout and are usable towards airfare, hotel, or even gift cards at the rate of 1 penny a point.

tuscan flatbread enjoyed during trip booked using Bonwi

Edgar’s Tusca Flatbread was great as lunch but was even better as leftover dinner. Photo by Dia Adams, Travel Hack Traveling Mom

Savoring Our Stay

A highlight of using Bonwi was knowing that I had rewards waiting for me when I got home. That gave me flexibility to splurge where I might not have otherwise.

Among the long list of Mayflower Alumni is J. Edgar Hoover ,who dined in the hotel’s restaurant daily for decades. Edgar’s restaurant in the lobby pays homage to Mr. Hoover while presenting a menu that is firmly in the 21st Century. I met some friends for lunch in the storied setting. We loved our Tuscan Flatbread bursting with dried figs, crispy prosciutto, caramelized onion and Gorgonzola for lunch. And I loved the cold leftovers even more at dinner back in my room.

Reaping Booking Site Rewards

Now I’m back home with 14,053 Bonwi Rewards burning a hole in my pocket–the points from my stay plus 1,500 bonus points customers get for signing up. The easiest way to cash out is with a $100 gift card to Amazon, Target, or any number of retailers or restaurant chains.

I plan on using mine on my next hotel booking. Disney World is an especially good value using Bonwi as it’s really hard to find ways to save on Disney Resorts. My points cover a night at Pop Century entirely (April 30) or I can use them for $140.53 towards a higher level resort and pay the difference. The room rate is exactly the same as on Disney’s own site.

I’ll still get all of the benefits of being a Disney Resort guest including Magic Bands, Early Magic Hours, and early access to FastPasses. I just won’t have to pay for it!

Does Bonwi Sound Like A Site That Could Work For You? I’d Love To Hear Your Thoughts In The Comments.

Bonwi is a new travel booking site that promises up to five times the rewards you can get from other sites. Does Bonwi live up to the hype? Travel Hack Traveling Mom checked out the site. You might be surprised by what she found.

by Dia Adams, Travel Hack TravelingMom