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Maryland’s National Harbor

A staycation at the Aloft provides the perfect getaway


By Eboné F. Bell

National Harbor

National Harbor Pier — Photo by Angell Lynn

If you are like me, then you might have almost let the summer slip away without taking a much-needed vacation. Or, maybe you’ve been dreaming about a trip to a tropical island or an exotic cruise, but your budget won’t allow it.

There are many places in the D.C. Metropolitan and Delaware areas that we perhaps take for granted because they’re right in our own backyard. National Harbor, in Fort Washington, MD, is one of them.

Spanning 350 acres along the Potomac River, National Harbor boasts more than 70 shops and restaurants and six unique hotels.

Aloft National Harbor

Aloft National Harbor Lounge Area — Photo by Angell Lynn

I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend at Aloft Washington National Harbor. As the name implies, Aloft is a loft-inspired hotel, and it’s situated in the middle of the National Harbor complex. If you want to sleep on a plush bed in a spacious room and wake up to a beautiful waterside view, then this is the place.

Although I did not take advantage of all of the amenities—such as the gym, swimming pool, and courtyard fire pit—I thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance of this unique hotel. Unwinding on the patio terrace, which overlooks the water and the city lights, was quite breathtaking and peaceful.

And, if you like to mix a little business with pleasure, Aloft provides an ergonomic workspace—plus free Wi-Fi—in your room. Having an in-room connection was a bonus for someone who is used to paying for such service at other hotels. It’s also a significant benefit for business travelers, or anyone who just wants to keep up with his or her social networks.

Walking around and exploring National Harbor is a great experience, especially when the weather is on your side. You’ll find plenty of shopping opportunities, plus an array of dining options. And, if you’re lucky, you might even catch a live band or show. You can also venture off land for some fun exercise on a paddle boat, or enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the Potomac. Although it might be a cliché, the Harbor really does offer something for everyone.

National Harbor Visitors

Leona Jenkins (left) enjoys visiting National Harbor with her daughters and taking photographs. Brittany Dean (right) comes for the happy hours.

The weekend of my visit, it was definitely a family-friendly environment: Kids played in the sand, balloon artists entertained passers-by with their creativity, and a stilt walker amazed onlookers. National Harbor also hosts a variety of regularly planned special events, often during weekends. These include beer and wine festivals, car shows, and crab feasts, to name a few.

After sunset, the Harbor is still quite vibrant. Many of the local bars and restaurants offer music, as well as drink specials. Aloft’s chic wxyz lounge and bar is a popular destination—not only for hotel guests, but also for others looking for a lively, fun-filled evening.

If I had to rate my entire experience, then it would easily be 5 out of 5 stars. Planning a visit to National Harbor and Aloft is definitely worthwhile. Whether you spend the day, evening, or weekend, the National Harbor is the perfect getaway—even when you don’t think that you can get away.


Ebone Bell
Eboné Bell
Eboné is the Editor-in-Chief of Tagg Magazine. She is the illegitimate child of Oprah and Ellen...so it's only right that she continues their legacy in the media world.