17th - 20th October 2024

The Retreat: Washington DC: Magic’s Hidden Treasures

Many of us have been to Washington D.C. before—it’s one of America’s most splendid, and history-rich cities. Our focus on The Retreat: Washington DC won’t be on the monuments and museums you might expect. Instead, we’ll be exploring an array of off-limits, untouchable, and hidden excursions that you simply cannot see. We’ve received special permission to take you on an all-access, never-to-be-repeated adventure to see some of magic’s most elusive treasures—many of which have never been seen publicly, and haven’t seen the light of day in decades.

It goes without saying that you’ll be seeing all of these wonders with the top notch quality and planning that you’ve come to expect from The Retreat: fine food, seamless transportation, and thoughtful, included gifts and supplements to make the trip one-of-a-kind. On top of it all, we’ve assembled a blockbuster team of guest performers who will amaze you and your partner, and then, when the coast is clear, will elucidate us on the inner-workings of their craft.

The most important thing to remember about this and all of our Retreat adventures: your partner is not only welcomed, but encouraged to come. Sure, there will be some magician-only lectures. But all of the adventures, activities, shows, and meals are meant for the two of you to share together. Bring your partner or a parent or a best-friend. It’s something we all do together.

Read on so we can unveil some of the talent, surprises, and perks of The Retreat: Washington DC.

Magic retreat
Magic retreat
Magic retreat
Magic retreat
Magic retreat

The Adventure

We aren’t just taking you on one adventure, but many! And don’t miss, below, an optional extension on this trip where we’ll be doing a full, whirlwind day of more traditional DC can’t-miss attractions.

The Greatest Collection of Magic You’ve Never Seen

You may not know that the Library of Congress houses not one but two of the most important magic collections in the world, notably the personal collection of Harry Houdini. But these materials are not on display, nor do they tour, nor are they accessible to tourists. Thanks to our partnership with Congressman Mark Pocan (who not only is a collaborator on this trip, but he is a Retreat alum and will be attending alongside the rest of us), we have been working closely with the Library of Congress on a special closed-door exhibition of some of magic’s finest and most important artifacts. This exhibition is curated for our group alone, in a one-day event that will be something, we hope, none of us will ever forget. Personal sketches of original Houdini illusions that he never built, one-of-a-kind magic posters that have never been photographed or printed, and props from the golden age of magic that haven’t been exhibited since they were used onstage in the nineteenth-century.

One of The Greatest Magic Poster Collection…in Our Friend’s Home

Ken Trombly is many things: a lawyer by trade, a magician by night. But perhaps most remarkably, Ken Trombly has amassed one of the most important collections of magic posters and imagery in the world. How does one see it? Well, you can’t. Unless you’re part of The Retreat: Washington DC, of course. We’ve arranged for a special welcome at the residence of Ken Trombly, where he will curate a private tour of his home, with walls adorned with the most important and scarce posters from magic’s golden age. Thurston, Kellar, Brush, Chung Ling Soo are all represented with one-of-a-kind examples you simply can’t see anywhere else. One of the strengths of Trombly’s collection is Houdini, and you’ll see some fine photographs, ephemera, and posters that unveil a side of Houdini you haven’t heard about before. The pairing of Ken’s collection with his inimitable stories and coloring of what we’re seeing will make for an enlightening afternoon. Since this is his home and not a museum and Ken doesn’t give private tours, this is, yet again, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of us.

The Spy Museum

Having won several museum-industry awards on an international scale, The Spy Museum is a museum unlike any other. It celebrates espionage and deception throughout history, and we felt it would make an ideal adventure for our guests. There are so many highlights that magicians will find of particular interest: shell coins that house secret codes, shoes with secret compartments, and other magic-tricks-turned-spy-tools. It’s a treasure trove of deception.

The Capitol with a “Magical” Congressman

What’s a trip to Washington DC without a visit to our nation’s Capitol building? And what better way to see this building than with someone elected to serve our nation, from the great state of Wisconsin? Congressman Mark Pocan is our magician-in-legislature, and he will give us insight into his role in working with David Copperfield at the Smithsonian, and on National Magic Day, and more.

What About the Magic?

Here’s our list of incredible talent—and remember that it isn’t only about the talent you’ll see perform and lecture, but the Retreat is about access. You’ll have the chance to learn from these luminaries up close, one-on-one, and informally, as we tour around DC together.

Dani DaOrtiz: Perhaps the most electrifying card magician alive today, Dani DaOrtiz is joining us from his native Spain, to share a brand new lecture as well as a rousing show just for us. Now is your chance to see him five feet from your face. And this time, your partner gets to enjoy one of the finest magicians in the world, right up close.

Michael Vincent: A poetic performer and teacher of magic, the UK’s Michael Vincent rarely comes to the United States to perform. He will perform a show for everyone, and then lecture separately. Michael’s poetic approach to magic is inspirational and aspirational, and your magic will improve measurably if you open your perceptions to his tapestry of deception.

Brian Curry: A big part of each Retreat is engaging with local magicians. And while Brian Curry is local to Washington DC, his career has taken him around the world. He is a heralded mentalist, and this year’s recipient of the Milbourne Christopher Award for Mentalism. He will be performing his weekly-running public show in a special closed-door performance just for our group.

John McLaughlin: Yep. We did it. We have the Former United States Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency —a man who knows a great deal about our nation’s top secrets, and about how to keep secrets in general. John will be participating in our event all weekend, and he will speak to us about the intersection of magic and espionage in a thrilling talk.

Darwin Ortiz Memorial Talk: With sadness, we can share that Darwin Ortiz was booked and scheduled to be our Guest of Honor, to deliver a talk on his groundbreaking theories. Sadly, Mr. Ortiz passed away in October. In memory of Darwin, Joshua Jay will deliver a special lecture celebrating the magic and achievements of this singular talent.

Andi Gladwin: Andi has identified one of the UK’s foremost experts in gambling magic; a magician whose name will be new to most people, but who was secretly influential in the 1950s and beyond. You’ll learn about the man, and see Andi perform some of his best effects, including some show-stopping gambling routines.

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Dani DaOrtiz magician
Michael Vincent magician
Brian Curry magician
John McLaughlin magician

An Optional Adventure

There are so many exciting things planned that, well, we simply can’t fit it all in! Don’t worry—we have honed a perfect solution. We’ve done this in past retreats and it works great.

If you are enthused about seeing some of the other can’t-miss highlights that Washington DC offers (and we certainly are excited about them), then you’ll want to add on this one-day optional extension which kicks off 9 am on Thurs 17th Oct. The Retreat proper starts the evening of Thurs 17th Oct so we'll get a full day's adventure in before the other attendees arrive! If you are joining us for this optional adventure - we recommend you then arrive into DC on the evening of Wed 16th Oct ready for our early morning departure. For those who need the extra hotel night - we'll be in touch separately with booking details.

Some possible tour highlights include the Vietnam Memorial, The White House, Fords Theatre, The Smithsonian with a historic guide and many other surprises which we can't reveal just yet. This is your chance to get photos and memories from some of the most iconic places in the United States - all in the company of your fellow Retreat attendees. It also means that we can dive into the most niche adventures without guilt when The Retreat starts. As always - the itinerary on the day is subject to change as we work on some top-secret additions for you.

Optional DC Adventure Tour cost $290

Limited spots available:
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Our home base

We’ll be basing ourselves at the Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza.

Less than five miles from Reagan National Airport and Washington DC’s major attractions, our Retreat hotel is a short walk to the Metro and three miles from Arlington National Cemetery.

The hotel offers tremendous value and all the comfort conveniences we need whilst being surrounded by restaurants and bars in downtown Arlington.

Wifi is complimentary and breakfast is included.

Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza
Magic retreat

Photos provided

Everyone wishes they had a photographer on hand to catch the most memorable moments of your trip but nobody likes the hassle of doing it. We’ll have a photographer on hand for all the excursions and the magic events so that each of you leaves with a collection of professional-grade moments from your trip. There is, of course, no charge for this feature. It’s included in your package.

Price and package

The Retreat: Washington DC is $3,795 per magician. The accompanying guest price is $1,695. You are welcome to pay in full or in three instalments. You get:

  • 4-night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza
  • Continental breakfast daily
  • Three magical evening dinners
  • Transportation to all events, shows, and tours
  • Admission to private Library of Congress exhibition for Retreat attendees
  • Exclusive visit to Ken Trombly's Private Home Collection
  • Group visit to the ultimate museum of deception, The Spy Museum
  • Visit to the Capitol with Congressman Mark Pocan*
  • Lecture and hands-on experience with Dani Daortiz
  • One-man show by legendary UK performer, Michael Vincent
  • Private performance by Brian Curry - recipient of the Milbourne Christopher Award for Mentalism
  • Special talk by former CIA Deputy Director - John McLaughlin
  • Darwin Ortiz Memorial Lecture by Joshua Jay
  • An extraordinary look into "The Unknown Expert" by Andi Gladwin
  • Plus some very secret surprises

You are responsible for flights or transportation into the DC area, some meals or drinks not specified in the program, and gratuities for guides and drivers. We always recommend travel insurance for our guests.

*All itinerary elements are subject to change. Depending on applicable government approvals in place at the time, events may be substituted for other activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I arrive into Washington DC?
If you are joining us for the optional adventure - we recommend arriving on the evening of Wed 16th Oct ready for our 9 am departure on Thurs 17 Oct. If you are joining just for The Retreat - we recommend arriving into Washington DC in the afternoon of Thurs 17 Oct. The first event kicks off that evening at 7 pm.

Which airport should I fly into?
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is a 10 minute drive away from our hotel - Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza

Limited spots available:
Reserve your space now