McLean Robbins

Correspondent

  • Washington, D.C., USA

McLean Robbins is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who lives in Washington, D.C. The freelance luxury lifestyle writer specializes in travel, hotels, spas, weddings and social media for national magazines and websites. Her work has appeared in publications including Robb Report, AOL, The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, DailyCandy and many more. She is also an experienced digital content and SEO strategist, working with businesses across the country to help develop engaging Web content. Robbins holds an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.

  • On September 18, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    How do I get a reservation at Cioppino?

    To make a reservation at Cioppino, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami’s three-meal restaurant, call the hotel directly at 305-365-4500. Reservations aren't mandatory, but they are strongly suggested for dinner (6 to 10:30 p.m. nightly). However, reservations are required for the popular Sunday brunch buffet (noon to 3 p.m.). We recommend booking a time slot up to two weeks in advance, particularly during high season, but you can often get a table on the same day. Reservations aren’t usually necessary for breakfast and lunch. At the Miami restaurant — which has a nice spot facing the ocean — expect classic dishes with Tuscan flair, including highlights like cheeses imported twice weekly from Italy as well as an exceptional wine list.
  • On September 18, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What is the dress code at Cioppino?

    As with most upscale resorts, the dress code at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami’s three-meal restaurant Cioppino is resort casual. That means dresses or appropriate slacks, shorts, skirts or blouses for women, and casual pants and collared shirts for gentlemen. A blazer is not expected or required, but we’d suggest staying away from jeans, tank tops or overly skimpy attire. We’d also recommend that ladies bring a wrap or sweater for post-sunset dining. Much of the Miami restaurant is outside — don’t miss the great ocean views — but the breeze can make it a bit chilly.
  • On September 9, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What restaurants does Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. have?

    © Four Seasons You’ll never go hungry at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel has two main restaurants, the trendy BOURBON STEAK (and the BOURBON STEAK lounge for small bites and drinks) and the breakfast and brunch hot spot Seasons, along with 24-hour room service options. ENO Wine Bar is the hotel’s latest addition, debuting in the summer of 2013.

    Acclaimed chef Michael Mina raises the “steaks” at his upscale steakhouse in Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. Mina’s method of butter-poaching meat and poultry creates dishes that are succulent and sinfully decadent. According to Mina, the butter seals the meat, rendering beef and poultry super moist. Diners will find a carefully selected array of cuts, ranging from USDA prime-aged beef to Wagyu, as well as evidence of Mina’s deference to culinary classics like seared Hudson Valley foie gras, both as a starter and as a main accompanied by a scallion pancake and confit rillette. Finish with an upgraded candy bar for adult palates: a sinful bar of coconut, milk chocolate, gooey praline caramel and Marcona almonds.

    Seasons, fresh from a recent $1 million upgrade, is the city’s go-to spot for power breakfasts and Sunday brunch. Get your morning metabolism going with the egg white omelet with jumbo lump crab, Boursin, roasted tomato and baby arugula salad, or go decadent with banana and Nutella griddled croissant French toast. Besides the weekday breakfast offerings, extensive brunch options never fail to impress Washingtonians and tourists who come back again and again to spend lazy Sundays chatting or reading an engrossing book on one of the restaurant’s complimentary Kindles while enjoying executive chef Doug Anderson’s plates of curried crab salad, pulled pork sliders with slaw, homemade bread and butter pickles in a cast-iron skillet; green-lipped mussels with Thai vinaigrette; or the crowd-pleasing smoked pastrami and dill-marinated salmon bagel. Floor-to-ceiling windows put the pretty gardens in sight as you enjoy your leisurely morning meal.

    Debuting in September 2013, ENO Wine Bar adds a new option for post-work or pre-dinner cocktails. Specializing in cheese, wine and chocolate — much of which will be locally sourced — the menu will include charcuterie and chocolate pairings as well as a wide selection of by-the-glass and by-the-bottle options to enjoy in the space’s modern atrium.
  • On July 12, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What restaurants does Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. have?

    © Four Seasons You’ll never go hungry at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel has two main restaurants, the trendy BOURBON STEAK (and the BOURBON STEAK lounge for small bites and drinks) and the breakfast and brunch hot spot Seasons, along with 24-hour room service options. ENO Wine Bar is the hotel’s latest addition, debuting in the summer of 2013.

    Acclaimed chef Michael Mina raises the “steaks” at his upscale steakhouse in Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. Mina’s method of butter-poaching meat and poultry creates dishes that are succulent and sinfully decadent. According to Mina, the butter seals the meat, rendering beef and poultry super moist. Diners will find a carefully selected array of cuts, ranging from USDA prime-aged beef to Wagyu, as well as evidence of Mina’s deference to culinary classics like seared Hudson Valley foie gras, both as a starter and as a main accompanied by a scallion pancake and confit rillette. Finish with an upgraded candy bar for adult palates: a sinful bar of coconut, milk chocolate, gooey praline caramel and Marcona almonds.

    Seasons, fresh from a recent $1 million upgrade, is the city’s go-to spot for power breakfasts and Sunday brunch. Get your morning metabolism going with the egg white omelet with jumbo lump crab, Boursin, roasted tomato and baby arugula salad, or go decadent with banana and Nutella griddled croissant French toast. Besides the weekday breakfast offerings, extensive brunch options never fail to impress Washingtonians and tourists who come back again and again to spend lazy Sundays chatting or reading an engrossing book on one of the restaurant’s complimentary Kindles while enjoying executive chef Doug Anderson’s plates of curried crab salad, pulled pork sliders with slaw, homemade bread and butter pickles in a cast-iron skillet; green-lipped mussels with Thai vinaigrette; or the crowd-pleasing smoked pastrami and dill-marinated salmon bagel. Floor-to-ceiling windows put the pretty gardens in sight as you enjoy your leisurely morning meal.

    Debuting in September 2013, ENO Wine Bar adds a new option for post-work or pre-dinner cocktails. Specializing in cheese, wine and chocolate — much of which will be locally sourced — the menu will include charcuterie and chocolate pairings as well as a wide selection of by-the-glass and by-the-bottle options to enjoy in the space’s modern atrium.
  • On July 12, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What restaurants does Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. have?

    © Four Seasons You’ll never go hungry at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel has two main restaurants, the trendy BOURBON STEAK (and the BOURBON STEAK lounge for small bites and drinks) and the breakfast and brunch hot spot Seasons, along with 24-hour room service options. ENO Wine Bar is the hotel’s latest addition, debuting in the summer of 2013.

    Acclaimed chef Michael Mina raises the “steaks” at his upscale steakhouse in Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. Mina’s method of butter-poaching meat and poultry creates dishes that are succulent and sinfully decadent. According to Mina, the butter seals the meat, rendering beef and poultry super moist. Diners will find a carefully selected array of cuts, ranging from USDA prime-aged beef to Wagyu, as well as evidence of Mina’s deference to culinary classics like seared Hudson Valley foie gras, both as a starter and as a main accompanied by a scallion pancake and confit rillette. Finish with an upgraded candy bar for adult palates: a sinful bar of coconut, milk chocolate, gooey praline caramel and Marcona almonds.

    Seasons, fresh from a recent $1 million upgrade, is the city’s go-to spot for power breakfasts and Sunday brunch. Get your morning metabolism going with the egg white omelet with jumbo lump crab, Boursin, roasted tomato and baby arugula salad, or go decadent with banana and Nutella griddled croissant French toast. Besides the weekday breakfast offerings, extensive brunch options never fail to impress Washingtonians and tourists who come back again and again to spend lazy Sundays chatting or reading an engrossing book on one of the restaurant’s complimentary Kindles while enjoying executive chef Doug Anderson’s plates of curried crab salad, pulled pork sliders with slaw, homemade bread and butter pickles in a cast-iron skillet; green-lipped mussels with Thai vinaigrette; or the crowd-pleasing smoked pastrami and dill-marinated salmon bagel. Floor-to-ceiling windows put the pretty gardens in sight as you enjoy your leisurely morning meal.

    Debuting in September 2013, ENO Wine Bar adds a new option for post-work or pre-dinner cocktails. Specializing in cheese, wine and chocolate — much of which will be locally sourced — the menu will include charcuterie and chocolate pairings as well as a wide selection of by-the-glass and by-the-bottle options to enjoy in the space’s modern atrium.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best technology hotels in Washington D.C.?

    Technology at hotels in Washington, DC might be fairly standard among the luxury set, but the most technologically advanced property in the city is likely its newest – Capella Washington, DC Georgetown. Just opened in March, 2013, the property offers tablet based check-in and in-room tablets for guest use, a state of the art sound system, and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout. An additional touch we particularly enjoy is the use of personal assistants who correspond with guests before and during their stay. These assistants can do all of the up-front work of planning dinners, shows and travel via email, telephone, or even text message.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    Where is the best outlet shopping in Washington D.C.?

    While Washington, DC boasts its fair share of stores like TJ Maxx and Loehmann’s, there aren’t any outlet malls in the city proper. That said, just a short drive away are three great areas for outlet and discount shopping.

    The first and largest is Potomac Mills Mall, a 30 to 45-minute drive from DC. This indoor mall boasts outlet versions of stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales, plus hundreds of other stores, a movie theater, an Ikea and much, much more.

    We also love the outdoor Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, which offers a number of high-end stores just 20 minutes from Tysons Corner. Find Saks Fifth Avenue, Williams & Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, Barney’s, Burberry and Kate Spade here, among others.

    If you’re in the mood to drive about 45 minutes, try Arundel Mills Mall, which also offers Maryland’s best live action casino, Maryland Live! next door. Here, find Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and your standard array of outlet shops, plus a movie theater and dozens of restaurants.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best waterfront hotels in Washington D.C.?

    Washington, DC’s best waterfront hotel is undoubtedly the Four Star Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC, located on the city’s Southwest waterfront. The Mandarin is a standout among its U.S.-based counterparts, offering one of the city’s best fine dining restaurants (rated Four Stars by Forbes), CityZen, a popular afternoon tea, a Four Star rated spa and spacious guestrooms. If possible, opt for a guestroom offering views of the tidal basin and monuments. Cherry Blossom season is a particularly picturesque time to visit the hotel, as it offers prime views of the blooms and a location that is walking distance to many of the monuments and museums of the National Mall. Sunset is also a particularly pretty time to visit this hotel, as many rooms offer views of the planes taking off and landing at nearby Reagan National Airport.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best boutique hotels in Washington D.C.?

    While there are a number of wonderful name brand hotels in Washington, D.C., some of our favorites are the boutique properties. Our all time favorite is the Four Star Jefferson Hotel, located at 16th and M Streets Northwest, just a few blocks from the White House and minutes from major leisure and business attractions. The Jefferson boasts one of the area’s best fine dining restaurants, Plume, a boutique spa, and Quill, a craft cocktail bar. If you have the chance, opt for one of the hotel’s signature suites, which offer spacious separate living areas and décor themed around Jefferson’s passions – art, music, gardening and wine.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Washington D.C.?

    Washingtonians bring their kids almost anywhere, so many of the area’s best restaurants are also kid friendly. Many kid-friendly restaurants are clustered near the National Mall – try a place like Matchbox in Penn Quarter, where you’ll find a menu full of kid-friendly items like sliders and pizzas. Gordon Biersch, a popular chain, also has a location downtown. Another favorite would be the popular Pete’s APizza, a New Haven-style pizzeria with locations in Clarendon, Columbia Heights, Tenleytown and more.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best golf courses in Washington D.C.?

    It’s easy to find a great golf course in and around Washington, D.C. Relatively temperate climates mean that you can golf year-round, and the wealth of public courses in the area means that it’s easy to get on the links whenever you want. Here are a few of our favorites:

    Rock Creek Golf Course is located inside in the confines of Rock Creek Park. This public course offers a real refuge from city life. In addition to 18 holes of golf, the course has a 3,500 square foot putting green, pro shop, snack cart and beverage cart.

    East Potomac Golf Course is one of the city’s most well-known courses and is ideally located just minutes from the National Mall and monuments. In addition to heated driving ranges (also a great place for golf lessons) the course actually offers three unique areas, an 18-hole Blue Course and two 9-hole courses, dubbed Red and White for their varying levels of difficulty. You’ll also find a 3-hole practice course, mini golf course, pro shop and restaurant.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    Where is the best nightlife in Washington D.C.?

    There’s something for everyone in Washington, D.C. when it comes to nightlife. The city boasts its fair share of newly opened trendy nightclubs, including The Huxley, Kabin, and Heist, which are great locations for things like bottle service and dancing. However, Washington is more of a “happy hour” than a nightlife town. Visit any of the city’s luxury hotels for a drink at the bar – Off the Record at the Hay Adams, Quill at The Jefferson and BOURBON Steak at the Four Seasons are all popular – or try the Georgetown Waterfront. Craft cocktail bars like barmini by popular chef Jose Andres, The Gibson and The Passenger are also great for a night on the town.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    Where is the best architecture in Washington D.C.?

    Without a doubt, Washington, D.C. is one of the country’s finest cities to spot great architecture. The marble facades of the Smithsonian museums, and the city’s wide array of memorials is proof enough that Washington are a city for lovers of design. But there are a few buildings that truly stand out as must-visits.

    While we love the White House, it’s the Capitol building that truly impresses us.  Be sure to request a tour from your congressman – their staffers offer them free of charge to anyone who requests one.

    Sure, it may be a department store, but the exterior of the original Woodward & Lothrop (Woodies) building at Metro Center boasts impressive exterior paintings. The building now houses stores like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 as well as a Metro entrance.

    We also love the impressive National Cathedral. Parts of the building are still being repaired due to damage from a 2011 earthquake, but even with scaffolding, the church is one of the most beautiful in the country, complete with soaring turrets and cherubs. Equally impressive is the Mormon Temple located in Kensington, Maryland. Visible from the Beltway, the six-spired modern temple is the largest in the United States, and the tall gold spires have caused many a driver and child to wonder if they’re passing a fairytale castle or a church on their trip ‘round Interstate 495.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best makeup stores in Washington D.C.?

    When it comes to makeup, we turn to just two stores in the D.C. area to get our beauty fix. The first is locally founded chain Bluemercury, which offers makeup, hair products, gift accessories and spa services. Locations across the DC area (the Georgetown and Bethesda locations are favorites) make it easy to snag products by lines like NARS, Bobbi Brown, Moroccan Oil and Nest. The city is a perennial favorite for well-groomed Washingtonians – eyebrow waxes from Lance, one of the spa’s aestheticians, are particularly coveted.

    We also love national retail favorite Sephora for everyday beauty finds. The chain boasts several DC-area locations, including Friendship Heights, Georgetown and Pentagon City.
  • On June 27, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best places to buy shoes in Washington D.C.?

    Shoes might rival diamonds for the title of “Girl’s Best Friend,” and Washington, D.C. certainly has several stores for your designer fix.

    The best standalone stores for shoes are Hu’s Shoes in Georgetown and The Shoe Hive in Old Town, Alexandria. At Hu’s, you’ll find all of your favorite designer names, including Brian Atwood, Miu Miu and Jimmy Choo. At The Shoe Hive, you’ll see names like Tory Burch, Butter, and Bettye Mueller. Bishop Boutique in Old Town also has a fun selection of lower-priced brands.

    The city also offers several designer standalone stores, including names like Jimmy Choo, Louise Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel.

    If you’re seeking shoes from a department store, visit the newly revamped shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase. The 1022-Shoe store has a wide selection of designer names and takes up half of a floor in the store’s basement. Neiman Marcus in Tysons Galleria mall also has a great shoe department and friendly staff.