10 Best Hotels In Washington D.C.



Washington D.C. has never had a shortage of hotels, but in recent years, the hotel scene has been undergoing a renaissance.

Many of the city’s historic and traditional hotels have had extensive renovations while the influx of new hotel brands has led to the opening of several sophisticated urban hotels. The result is a delightful array of choices for both visitors and locals.

With this new trend, combined with a booming restaurant industry and the cultural transformation of the city, D.C. is shedding its reputation of being old and stately, exclusive for the political elite. 

Here are the top Washington D.C. hotels, ranging from iconic institutions with their old glory and grandeur, to new hotels that exude modern glamour. 

1.The Hay-Adams

This is hands down the most quintessential D.C. hotel. It prides itself on hosting the highest government officials and foreign dignitaries, including former president Barack Obama, when he stayed with his family in early 2009 before they moved into the White House. 

Situated across leafy Lafayette Square from the White House, the location couldn’t be more convenient for those wanting to have the ultimate D.C. experience. The National Mall is just a short stroll away. 

Traditional but not stuffy, this hotel was built in 1928 on a historic site of the houses that belonged to John Hay — secretary to President Abraham Lincoln and later U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom — and Henry Adams — a historian and the descendent of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. It still preserves the old architectural touches such as the ceiling details and wood paneling from the Hay residence. 

The rooms are bright and elegant even though they’re somewhat on the smaller side compared to other modern hotels. Not all rooms overlook the White House, so for a truly memorable stay, request Federal Suites with panoramic views of the White House, St. John’s Church and the Washington Monument. 


— Have a drink at Off the Record, the Hay Adams’ basement bar.  It has a ‘West Wing’ or ‘Homeland’ vibe as it’s where Washington power players come after work. Their motto, “The place to be seen but not heard,” says it all.

— Have lunch or dinner at The Lafayette. Overlooking Lafayette Square, this sophisticated restaurant serves fish and meat dishes as well as heavenly desserts. 

— Top of the Hay, a private function room on the 9th floor, boasts an outdoor space with panoramic views. Normally reserved for private events, it opens up to guests for special occasions, such as the Fourth of July celebration, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day brunch. 

The Hay-AdamsLuxury Hotels in Washington DC | The Hay-Adams

2.The Jefferson

If old-world charm and class is what you are after, The Jefferson is unbeatable. This is the kind of hotel for people who want a guaranteed tried-and-tested comfort and who prefer grand English country homes to swanky Ibiza boutique hotels. 

As the name indicates, the interior pays homage to history with original documents signed by Thomas Jefferson. The hotel library houses vintage books as well as Jefferson’s writings.

Despite its central location in the heart of downtown, the immediate neighborhood becomes completely quiet at night. But the White House is within 15-minute walking distance and the hip and vibrant Dupont Circle and Logan Circle are nearby, with plenty of restaurant options. 

The Jefferson is known for its personalized service, from a private concierge and butler to curated room service.


— Dine at The Greenhouse. It’s an elegant but relaxing first-floor conservatory with a glass roof. It’s open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Ralf Schlegel and his culinary team serve a dinner menu that reflects the seasonality of the region.

The Jefferson, DCThe Jefferson | 5-Star Boutique Hotel in Washington DC

3.Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.

If The Jefferson and Hay-Adams are for the traditional crowd, this one is more of a celebrities’ choice for travelers who want the ultimate comfort and luxury, such as Beyoncé and Angelina Jolie. 

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, near the Tidal Basin, Mandarin Oriental D.C. is actually more centrally located it seems. The relatively quiet location provides a good base to explore the city during the day and relax at night. While its position on the water provides tranquility, it is, in fact, only minutes away from the National Mall. With the new and lively Southwest Waterfront nearby, where many shops and restaurants are found, the location feels even more relevant. 

Guest rooms are tastefully decorated following the feng shui order. Its large bathrooms are comfortable and spa-like. Ask for one of the rooms overlooking the Tidal Basin during the famous cherry blossom season.

As with all Mandarin Oriental Hotel branches around the world, well-being is a big theme here, with offerings such as one of the city’s best spas, a heated 50-foot indoor pool, a fitness center with floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as a full range of Technogym equipment and Peloton bikes.


— Arrange one of the fabulous spa treatments (a bespoke “Time Rituals” is expensive but truly pampering) followed by an afternoon tea at Empress Garden patio, where delightful treats and a range of exotic teas and cocktails are served. The garden off the restaurant is also a perfect spot to view the beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring. 

Mandarin Oriental The Hotel GroupLuxury 5 Star Hotel | National Mall | Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.

4.The Willard InterContinental

History buffs will be delighted that Abraham Lincoln made this his temporary home before his presidential inauguration. Ulysses S. Grant is said to have coined the term ‘lobbyists’, referring to solicitors who pestered him while he was trying to relax with his cigar and brandy in the hotel’s lobby. Martin Luther King allegedly made final edits to his speech, “I Have a Dream” here. 

This historic hotel, built in 1816, offers a prime location to savor the best of the city. Situated only two blocks from the White House and five minutes to a metro station where multiple lines of DC’s metro system pass through, staying here means that all the city’s major sightseeing can be done on foot.

The grand and imposing lobby is adorned with ornate ceilings, marble columns and gold leaf trimmings to impress the arriving guests. The extensive restoration in 2018 gave the spacious guest rooms an elegantly polished makeover. The new fitness center offers a wide range of training equipment and machines, including Peloton bikes. 


— Sip a Mint Julep at Round Robin Bar. First introduced outside Kentucky in 1830 by Senator Henry Clay, it’s become the hotel’s signature drink ever since. 

— Café du Parc, the atmospheric French brasserie, offers an all-day dining menu from early breakfast to dinner. There is an indoor dining room but sitting on the outdoor terrace surrounded by blue and white furniture and awnings will make guests feel transported to a sidewalk cafe in Paris. 

Willard InterContinental Washington D.C. HotelWillard InterContinental Washington D.C. Hotel

5.The Watergate Hotel

It’s safe to say that this is the most politically charged hotel in Washington D.C., not only because of the infamous scandal in 1972 but because several power players in Washington politics were long-term residents here, including the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. 

The hotel is located in the Foggy Bottom area next to more picturesque Georgetown. The immediate vicinity is surrounded by busy roads and walking is not too convenient for travelers wanting to stay within walking distance to the city’s main attractions. But once you step inside, this suddenly seems like a minor fact (especially if you don’t mind using Uber or taxis) as one gets quickly enraptured by all the razzle dazzle of the lobby. 

A multi-million dollar renovation in 2016 restored the Watergate’s original retro glamour created in the 1960’s by the avant-garde Italian architect, Luigi Moretti. Designer Ron Arad was the man in charge who found the balance between the nostalgic allure and sleek modern sensibility.  The staff uniform was designed by Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant. 

Rooms have private balconies and Bottega Veneta bath products. There’s a spa with indulgent packages and an indoor heated pool with three lap lanes. 


— Have a drink at The Next Whisky Bar, a stunning space decorated with 2,500 whisky bottles. Cocktails and light bites are served. 

— As if one bar is not enough, there’s also a rooftop bar, Top of the Gate. This award-winning outdoor bar offers panoramic views of the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center and the Washington Monument among other Washington landmarks. It’s perfect to watch the sunset or have a celebratory time with friends. Pizzas and tapas are served alongside a selection of cocktails. 

6.W Washington D.C.

This was the first “cool” hotel to emerge in the otherwise historic and traditional DC hospitality scene. The impossibly prime location in the heart of downtown within walking distance of all major sightseeing attractions is a huge bonus. But what really makes this hotel stand out is its boldness in just about everything on the premises. 

The 1917 landmark Beaux Arts building that used to house Washington Hotel was reborn as swanky W Washington D.C. in 2009 with a clubby feel and sophisticated cheerfulness. Talk about coming full circle, as the former hotel always had glamorous connections with celebrities ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Duke Ellington to Elvis Presley. 

Since the $55 million renovation, art has become an integral part of the hotel. There are contemporary art and light installations throughout the communal areas, including the mural work — a collaborative result among local artists.

There’s a gym with a variety of training machines and Bliss Spa offers pampering packages accompanied by assorted snack options such as cheese, crackers and a brownie buffet. (Yes, you might need that gym, after all). 


— For a nightcap, go to POV Bar, the crown jewel of the hotel with stunning views of the city. It’s the place where you let your hair down after long hours of work or sightseeing. 

7.Riggs Washington DC

Even during the pandemic, several new hotels opened in the city to echo Washington’s vibrant new energy. But of all newcomers, the opening of Riggs Washington DC is particularly welcoming as it showcases the perfect marriage between the old and new. 

The imposing former bank where 23 former U.S. presidents banked transformed into an upscale hotel with European sensibility. Designer Jacu Strauss who is responsible for interior design of some of the most stylish hotels in Europe — including Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London — elevated the original hefty structure of the building — think massive Corinthian marble columns and vaulted ceiling — to a plush whimsical space. 

Situated opposite the National Portrait Gallery in the vibrant Penn Quarter, the hotel is superbly positioned to explore the city by foot.

Guest rooms are bright and colorful with bold Voutsa wallpaper and headboard fabric. The four suites named after the former first ladies exude beauty with a light dose of humor. Stay in ‘Louisa Adams’ — it comes with a small grand piano. 

(Read my review of Riggs Washington DC here.)  


— Have lunch at Café Riggs run by Momofuku CCDC alum Patrick Curran. This European style all-day restaurant on the first floor is a place to go for its food as well as for its luxurious atmosphere. The inside is airy and swanky and the newly added patio and garden terrace outside offer perfect alfresco dining experiences.

— It’s a must to have a drink at the oh-so-lush subterranean bar, Silver Lyan. The former bank vault, embellished with luxurious velvet, provides a stunning atmosphere and the barman extraordinaire Ryan Chetiyawardana (a.k.a. Mr Lyan) creates some exceptional cocktails. 

Riggs Washington DCLuxury Hotel and Event Venue | Riggs Washington DC

8.Rosewood Washington, D.C.

Well tucked away from Georgetown’s main drag, Rosewood Washington, D.C. feels discret, intimate and polished. 

Situated on the historic C&O Canal, it’s a small boutique hotel with only 55 rooms, including the suites and separate townhouses. But for such a small hotel, it’s packed with many attractive features. The interior is serene but not dull thanks to a pop of colors in communal areas — it’s hard not to love that emerald green — and contemporary artworks dotted around the property. 

It’s a treat to relax at the rooftop pool while enjoying the view of the Kennedy Center, Potomac River and as far as the Washington Monument. The pool is heated in the winter and comes with a built-in fireplace. 

On the gastronomic front, Wolfgang Puck’s Cut — a D.C. outpost of his well-known Beverly Hills steakhouse— offers a fine dining experience in an elegant setting. The menu includes the finest cuts of beef as well as fish and a variety of vegetable dishes. 

For an Airbnb kind of stay, book one of the townhouses, adjacent to the hotel. Each is equipped with a well-appointed kitchen and is more spacious and private than a hotel room. 


— Dine at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut, a D.C. outpost of his well-known Beverly Hills steakhouse. It offers a fine dining experience in an elegant setting. The menu includes the finest cuts of beef as well as fish and a variety of vegetable dishes.

— Drop by Cut Above, the rooftop bar. It’s a perfect location to enjoy a drink al fresco while lounging on plush furniture. 

RosewoodhotelsLuxury Hotel in Washington DC | 5 Star Hotel DC | Rosewood

9.The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C. 

Not to be mistaken with the Ritz-Carlton on 22nd Street, this one is housed in an old industrial building in Georgetown which used to be an incinerator. The hotel maintains the building’s original character, with the smokestack and red brick structure while the inside is cozy and comfortable.

Those who expect a wow-factor — often associated with the Ritz brand— may find this one low-key. But what lies behind the unassuming first impression of this quiet corner of Georgetown is a homey atmosphere and boutique hotel experience. Service is very friendly and not stiffly formal. Even the guest check-in is done sitting at a desk across from staff. During the winter months, the large wood-burning slate fireplace in the large lobby (aptly named “The Living Room”) is a popular spot. Here both hotel guests and locals gather around to enjoy afternoon drinks and snacks after Christmas shopping in town. 

Rooms are spacious and comfortable and service is personalized to make guests feel well taken care of during their stay. It’s regrettable that dining options are rather poor at the premise but there’s a good selection of restaurants just a short stroll away, such as Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Mare.


— Drop by for drinks by the big fireplace in the lobby in the colder months. It’s especially cozy and welcoming around Christmas time. 

The Ritz-CarltonLuxury Hotels & Resorts | The Ritz-Carlton

10.The Line D.C. 

The Adams Morgan area, where The Line D.C. is located, may not be the best location for tourists whose main purpose is sightseeing. But it’s ideal for those who want to see the eclectic side of Washington D.C., as this is a bohemian and energetic neighborhood that most resembles Brooklyn, with places open 24/7 attracting young hipsters. Many restaurants and bars in the area are an amalgam of diverse cultures — Ethiopian, Japanese, Salvadorian, West African and Vietnamese, to name a few. 

The irony is this hip hotel is housed in an awe-inspiring neoclassical church with colossal Ionian columns and large copper entry doors. The decor was carried out showing the mastery of repurposing old materials from the original 1920’s building without making them look out of place.

The restaurant offers an all-day menu from snacks to dinner to take-away plates. The Café off the front entry of the hotel offers a relaxing spot for coffee. Known for its quality food, the hotel is also opening a new restaurant called No Goodbyes. Watch the space. 


— Grab an outdoor table at The Café and soak up the hipster vibe of Adams Morgan while having excellent all-day meals — from breakfast to dinner— or cocktails.

LINE DCThe LINE DC | Luxury Hotel in Adams Morgan, Washington DC

Marriott InternationalHotel Overview


Intercontinental Washington D.C. – The Wharf

Located in the buzzing Southwest Waterfront area, the new $2.5 billion addition to the ever rejuvenating city, it boasts striking views of the Potomac River. The location might feel somewhat isolated for business people and tourists but the restaurant Moon Rabbit is worth a visit. The modern Vietnamese restaurant is run by chef Kevin Tien who has achieved many accolades, including, Food & Wine’s “one of 10 Best New Chefs” and the James Beard Foundation’s semifinalist as a “Rising Star Chef of the Year” and “Best Chefs in America” in 2019.

InterContinental Washington D.C. – The WharfWelcome to InterContinental Washington D.C. – The Wharf

Viceroy Washington DC

In the heart of the hip and vibrant Logan Circle area, Viceroy offers a fun, aesthetic and affordable space for discerning millennials. The design is Stockholm-cool with a mix of controlled structure and bold colorful details.

BPM Coffee & Wine serves artisanal coffee and baked goods as well as light breakfast and lunch items. Hush Rooftop Bar with an outdoor swimming pool has an expansive patio.

Viceroy Hotels & ResortsDowntown DC Boutique Hotel | Viceroy Washington DC


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.