Looking for a romantic getaway? Wilmington’s Hotel Du Pont is posh, private and picturesque.
Story and photos by Melissa Jacobs
Hotel Du Pont is like a favorite great aunt. Of a certain age but timeless, she is filled with memories and exudes effortless grandeur that took decades to perfect. As is the case with some other great aunts, it’d been far too long since we visited. And, she’s had a face lift.
In 2018, the hotel’s lobby was reimagined and the restaurant completely redone. (More on that in a minute.) The lobby is so gorgeous that it’s hard to remember what it used to look like. Now, chandeliers hang from beautiful colored ceilings, while hand carved wood and lush, upholstered seating transport guests to 1913, the golden, gilded age of the hotel’s birth.
Quiet – that most elusive of luxuries – is plentiful inside the hotel. But just outside the hotel, the hustle and bustle of Wilmington awaits. There’s plenty to do, which is why Condé Nast named Wilmington one of the 23 Best Places To Visit in the U.S. in 2023. The magazine seemed quite taken with the Du Pont family’s legacy of estates, giving special recognition to Winterthur and the Hagley Museum and Library. We have different Wilmington favorites, including The Delaware Contemporary art museum and its surrounding Riverwalk, and The Grand’s theater and ballet performances.
Of course, you may not want to leave the hotel. The posh rooms are perfectly appointed, spacious and complete with modern amenities. (Ask for a room with a soak-in tub.) For a memorable experience, ask about the hotel’s luxury, in-room picnics. Curated by Champagne & Stars, the picnics are available in four themes: Gilded Age Glamour, Retro Seventies, Victorian Romance, or Simply Luxe.
At some point, you should meander downstairs to Le Cavalier, the French-inspired brasserie on the hotel’s ground floor. Gorgeously redesigned in 2020, the expansive room is reminiscent of Balthazar in Manhattan, but more aristocratic. The 13-seat bar is lovely, but we liked the deep orange banquettes and the hunter green leather booths. Food on the petite menu is good, and the cocktail menu is inventive and inviting.
While all of this is romantically sexy, Hotel Du Pont is a great place for a girlfriends’ trip or guy’s getaway. Either way, the hotel is pricey. Rooms run more than $500 per night. Check the hotel’s website for special packages and follow its Instagram for even more offers.
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