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 January 30, 2013
    McLean Robbins is now following Jennifer Kester
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    McLean Robbins is now following Hayley Bosch
  • On January 29, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best hair salons in Washington D.C.?

    Washington is a town of power brokers, and while its female leaders may be as tough as any of the boys, they still want their hair to look fabulous. As a result, the city offers a great array of hair salons, ranging from private VIP havens to hip style centers.

    As one can see by the list below, Georgetown boasts the most salons by location, due in part to its well-heeled residents. Notably, DryBar has opened its first D.C. area location in Georgetown North (and a second location in Bethesda) to cater to the many women who seek regular blowouts.

    Salons in the area vary in terms of price, but generally cuts begin at $90 and above for most women’s styles.

    Here are a few of the best, listed in no particular order by location:

    Georgetown / Glover Park
    Toka Salon & Day Spa
    Luigi Parasmo
    Ipsa for Hair
    Drybar
    George at The Four Seasons
    Violet Hair and Skin Care
    David Rios Salon & Spa
    Roche Salon

    Downtown
    one80
    XYZ Salon

    Logan Circle
    Immortal Beloved

    Dupont Circle
    Salon Cielo


     
  • On January 29, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What is Washington D.C.’s dining scene like?

    Once known as a steak-and-potatoes town, Washington D.C. has evolved over the past decade to offer visitors and locals alike a vibrant dining scene filled with celebrity chefs, innovative cooking techniques, ethnic flair and plenty of power dining hotspots. From James Beard awards to molecular gastronomy to fancy food trucks, Washington, D.C. has quickly become a dining capital in its own right. While the city will never be New York or San Francisco, it has emerged in recent years to offer up some of the East Coast’s best culinary experiences.

    To experience a quintessential Washington, D.C. experience, one must dine at one of the city’s many luxury hotels --- Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. offers a BOURBON Steak for the traditional crowd, while Adour at the St. Regis features the modern French fare of Alian Ducasse with a twist. CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental is always a crowd pleaser for a special tasting menu as well. If it’s something a bit more experimental, test the Mediterranean-inspired flavors of Komi, spectacular Indian fare at Rasika or a modern Mexican experience at Jose Andres’ Minibar.

    When it comes to notable cuisine found mostly in Washington, diners should consider trying Ethiopian. The city offers more people of Ethiopian descent than any country outside of Africa. 
  • On January 28, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best museums in Washington D.C.?

    Washington, D.C. is known as a culture capital for a reason. There are more than two dozen museums in the D.C. area, and most are excellent venues to spend an afternoon or an entire day. But we were asked to name the best. Here are a few noteworthy stops on any Washington, D.C. itinerary: 

    Museums on the National Mall: We've lumped the wide range of museums here into one category here, because really, all of them are wonderful. From the Air & Space to the Museum of American History and the Free & Sackler Galleries, you'll find something for everyone here. Sometimes the best-known are the most fun to visit, even if you've taken dozens of trips before. Don't miss lunch at the Museum of the American Indian or a stop at the National Gallery of Art. 

    The Holocaust Museum: Although a trip to this museum is definitely a bit depressing, this eye-opening museum just off the National Mall is well worth a visit. Be sure to get there early, only a limited number of patrons are admitted each day.

    Hillwood: Marjorie Merriweather Posts's house is is a living museum. Located in Georgetown, this wonderful venue also boasts beautiful gardens and priceless art. 

    The Newseum: It may cost $20 to visit, but this museum of the news is well worth the trip. Peruse the headlines from major newspapers (they change each day) outside, or look at an ever roating selection of exhibits about the media. Aftewards, don't miss a meal at Wolfgang Puck's The Source, located next door.

    The Museum of American Art / The Portrait Gallery: Located in Chinatown, these inspiring art galleries don't get nearly the attention of the other Smithsonain museums on the National Mall. Free to tour, these galleries conveniently feature numerous restaurants and bars nearby-- perfect for refueling after a long day of sightseeing. 

    The Renwick Gallery: Just steps from the White House, the Renwick showcases American art and crafts. Small but mighty, this intimate museums is great for a quick afternoon trip. 
  • On January 25, 2013
    Carol Cain is now following McLean Robbins
  • On January 23, 2013
  • On January 21, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best bars in Washington D.C.?

    It's no secret: Washingtonians love to drink, and a slew of craft cocktail bars, brewpubs and wine-centric tapas bars and restaurants have made this easier than ever in recent years. While the idea of "best" is somewhat subjective, here are a few of DC's buzziest places to imbibe: 

    The Columbia Room
    Tuesday through Saturday, join a select few imbibers at this small back room bar for a "drink tasting," consisting of an opening drink, a seasonal creation paired with a small nibble and a third drink selected by you. Derek Brown is regarded as the city's cocktail master, and this is his ode to this cocktail. 

    PX 
    This Old Town bar isn't technically in the city proper, but it has long drawn fans of the craft cocktail movement. When the blue light is on, the bar is open. Make a reservation and enjoy drinks off the menu-- much of which riffs on classic cocktails with house-made ingredients-- or ask the bartenders to whip you up something special. 

    Churchkey
    Beer lovers will find a wide variety of brews to tickle their fancy at this Logan Circle dining destination. Offering a restaurant and a bar, this casual destination is often packed with locals and happy hour lovers on weekday afternoons.  

    Off the Record 
    Inside acclaimed hotel the Hay-Adams, this basement bar is decorated in cartoon political sketches and is often packed with political types enjoying martinis and gossip. An oldie but goodie, this bar is a Washington go-to. 


  • On January 21, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best restaurants in Washington D.C.?

    In recent years, Washington has become a town for food lovers. Celebrity chefs and newcomers alike have flocked to the Nation's Capital to bring modern takes on classic cuisines as well as innovative takes on casual fare alike. As of January 2013, some of the city's best restaurants include: 

    Komi. Chef Johnny Monis may avoid the spotlight, but his food has generated enough acclaim on its own to make Komi one of the city's most talked about tables since its opening nearly five years ago. The tasting menu is pricey, but the restaurant fills its tables every night. Those looking for a less expensive option and who have a love for spice should try his Thai outpost, Little Serow. 

    Inn at Little Washington. If it's good enough for Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively... this Relais & Chateaux inn and restaurant has long been one of the area's most acclaimed dining destinations. An hour outside of the city proper, many combine the multi-course tasting menu with an overnight ... a must if you've sampled the wine pairings. 

    FiolaWashington's newest Italian hotspot has drawn nearly every celebrity guest to the city since its opening in 2012. Chef Fabio Trabocchi crafts modern takes on traditional Italian fare in this white tablecloth restaurant in Penn Quarter. 

    Palena.Tucked into a sleepy strip mall in Cleveland Park, one might not expect great things when looking at Palena from the outside. But diners return again and again for a to-die-for fry plate, a delectable burger and a roasted chicken so tender, you'll wish you could recreate it at home. 

    Rasika. Indian is big in DC, and it's no secret that Rasika is the city's most coveted table. Diners like Hilary Clinton flock to both the downtown location and the new West End outpost. 
  • On January 21, 2013
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best activities to do in Washington D.C.?

    Washington has many wonderful activities for all seasons that are perfect for locals and tourists alike. Even as a native Washingtonian, I still find many of the city's most familiar activities-- like exploring the monuments and museums around the National Mall-- to be exciting and worthwhile year after year. Of course, there is much more to Washington than the Mall. Some of the best activities include: 

    Skating at the new Washington Harbour rink. Open daily for public skating, this rink is located in Georgetown and offers beautiful views of the Potomac River. 

    Taking in a show. Washington is a city of culture. The Kennedy Center offers execptional performances nightly, and many additional theaters and venues in the area feature worthy performances as well. The newly-reopened Howard Theatre is a popular venue for locals. 

    Dine around town. It's easy to follow in the trail of Washington's most famous diners, President and First Lady Obama. In addition to dining out at many of the city's Forbes-rated restaurants, the Obamas also love the occassional low-cost yet highly delicious splurge, like Ray's Hell Burger or Good Stuff Eatery

    Get active. Use Capital Bikeshare to rent one of the city's nearly 2,000 bikes and ride around town to your heart's content. Biking is a great way to see the sites of the city. Convenient and low-cost, a membership costs only $75 per year. 
  • On January 9, 2013
    Beth Sadowski is now following McLean Robbins
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  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the best beaches in Antigua?

    On an island that boasts 365 beaches, there’s one for every type of traveler on charming Antigua. From untouched stretches of pristine white sand to rocky shores perfect for climbing and hiking, you’ll find one to suit your needs. Here are Forbes Travle Guide’s editors’ picks for the best beaches in Antigua.
     
    1. Rendezvous Beach. Those who prefer privacy should head to this beach, accessible only by water, horseback or a long hike through the hills. The difficulty in reaching Rendezvous means this private beach on the south coast of the island is often deserted.
     
    2. Half Moon Bay, Dutchman’s Bay and Jabberwok Beach. If you’re in Antigua to windsurf, kite surf or just plain surf, these three beaches have long stretches of sand and often see waves of three to six feet, which make them the best bet for the active enthusiasts.
     
    3. Hawksbill Bay Beach. A very adult locale, this remote collection of four beaches offers the only nude sunbathing spot on island.
     
    4. Dickenson Bay. This accessible white stretch of beach is perfect for travelers who just want to soak up the sun, but come nightfall, it also offers a great sunset view.
     
    5. Great Bird Island. This rocky outcropping of sand is the perfect jumping off point for a quick hike. Travel to the top and you’ll get great views of the entire island.
  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What is the best thing to bring home from Antigua?

    You’ll love visiting Antigua, but one of the best memories of any trip is having something to bring home to remember your visit by. One of our favorite recent takeaways was a native loofa, which we plucked and peeled ourselves from a tree. (Did you know loofas grew on trees? We didn’t either, until we visited Antigua.) You’ll also want to pick up a bottle of the local hot sauce, Susie’s, which is a spicy peppercorn blend (sold in the airport for just $3 to $6, and in flavors like mango and raspberry). The island also grows local peppercorns and vanilla that would make a great gift for a cook.
  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the five best Antigua food experiences?

    Antigua is a land of simple island fare, specializing in fresh fish, fruits and vegetables. You’ll find foods and cooking styles similar to those found on many other Caribbean islands, including jerk seasonings and lots of rice and pasta sides, as well as sweet and savory side dishes such as beans or plantains. Here are just a few of the best food experiences on Antigua.
     
    1. Local rum. Antigua’s own English Harbour rum, a local and Caribbean favorite, is made at the only on-island distillery. Try it alone or mixed into a classic drink, like a dark ‘n’ stormy.
     
    2. Susie’s hot sauce. Cult favorite hot sauce, Susie’s, made with local peppercorns, is a great treat to take home. Find it in restaurants and shops around the island.
     
    3. Fungie. The national dish of Antigua is fungie (sometimes spelled fungi), and it’s an enticing pepper pot usually made with okra and cornmeal, sometimes served with fish or beef.
     
    4. Big Banana pizza. Be sure to try Big Banana pizza, a local island chain favorite – locals swear it’s as good as New York style pizza (we’re not so sure), but it’s definitely simple and easy, with two airport locations.
     
    5. Tamarind juice. You’ll want to try the local tamarind juice, a sweet dark juice that tastes excellent over ice or mixed with local rum.