An essential stop on any East Coast tour of the United States, Washington is the seat of power for the nation. Home to the White House, Capitol Hill, National Mall, Washington Monument and The Lincoln Memorial, its tourist trail is one of the most iconic on earth. Washington also has emergent urban attractions, like its colourful murals, pop up bars, the Dupont Underground arts hub and Artechouse exhibition centre. When it comes to accommodation, there are many neighbourhoods to choose from, each providing its own character. And within those, there’s a wide range of trendy and luxe hotels fit for a president.
St. Regis Washington, D.C.
Previously known as The Carlton Hotel, this prestigious residence in the heart of the Downtown was opened by President Coolidge in 1926 and has been welcoming heads of state ever since. It’s just a few blocks from the White House, with an exterior reflecting the Gilded Age glamour, with Palladian windows and a grand entrance. Inside, guests are surrounded by lush fabrics, chandeliers, fires and classic old world DC furnishings. The hotel has its very own cocktail, the Capitol Mary and champagne is opened nightly by the head sommelier by sword, during the sabering ceremony and toast. It also has a lavishly presented restaurant, a house car and is pet-friendly.
Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
Stay in Georgetown in the timeless surroundings and elegance of the Four Seasons Hotel. It boasts one of the top spas and fitness centres in the city. It’s rated 4-star by Forbes, with a saltwater lap pool and three-storeys of wellness facilities, where age-defying facials and healing massages are offered. The 222 bedroom property is also home to a destination restaurant, the Michelin starred Bourbon Steak, with an adjacent lounge and additional wine bar. It received a multi-million dollar contemporary facelift in 2016 under the direction of designer Pierre-Yves Rochon and has over 1500 works of art to peruse.
Those seeking views of the city’s most famous landmarks should stay at the Hay-Adams. Its proximity to the political epicentre has afforded it visitors such as the Obama family, who made an extended stay just before taking residence at the White House. Family owned and dating back to the 1920s, it has a great bar (Off the Record with satirically themed cocktails), the Lafayette restaurant (named after the square onto which the hotel backs), a fitness centre and free bicycle use for guests. Kids and pets are well catered for too, with activities and treats.
The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.
Found in the Foggy Bottom district, Washington’s Ritz-Carlton combines modern furnishings with period features. It has DC’s largest ballroom and an unusual cocktail and food pairing menu, available in the Quadrant Bar & Lounge. Those seeking a fuller meal can dine in the Westend Bistro, where breakfast is also served. Those travelling with children will appreciate the Ritz Kids Program, designed to make your little ones feel extra special (interconnecting rooms are also available). Upgrade to a Club Level suite for extra space, a work/dining space, free access to the Equinox Gym and entry to a Club Lounge.
Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.
The Southwest Waterfront has seen more than its fair share of regeneration over recent years and it’s here that the Mandarin Oriental is found. As is customary in the brand’s properties, you’ll find plenty of Asian influences, reflecting the hotel chain’s heritage. This extends to the spa menu, the dining offer, artwork and decorative touches. Tea can be taken in the Empress Lounge and the Muse restaurant serves American favourites like cheeseburgers, along with sushi and Hong Kong specialities. After a hard day’s sightseeing, you can chill out in the Zen relaxation room and swim some laps in the 50ft heated indoor pool.
Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square
Around the corner from The Hay-Adams is the very grown-up Sofitel. It utilises a moodier decor palette than many of its local competitors, with darker hues, black and white vintage French posters and velvet upholstery. The hotel has a restaurant – Opaline Bar & Brasserie with an outdoor seating area and a fitness centre. 237 guest rooms take on a fairly minimalist style, with theatrical colours (lots of black and red), modern artworks and conveniences like blackout curtains and king-sized beds.
Willard InterContinental Washington
This building has seen plenty of illustrious figures pass through its doors since opening in the 19th century. Nicknamed the Residence of Presidents (it’s close to the city’s premier address), the hotel is a celebrity haunt, with five-star service. The Round Robin Bar (described as the Oval Office of bars by Conde Nast Traveller) dates back to 1847 and specialises in handmade cocktails, while by day, it’s a sophisticated spot for afternoon tea. Cafe du Parc is a Forbes Travel Guide recommended French brasserie, while Le Cafe is its coffee shop sibling, with delicious pastries, entrees and a petite menu.
Rosewood Washington, D.C.
While many of DC’s luxe hotels are grand, large establishments, the Rosewood bucks the trend as an intimate boutique hotel with a high-end approach. Set beside the canal, it gives access to a leafier side of the city, although the eponymous monument can still be seen from the rooftop. And it’s here, at the top of the building, that the Rosewod’s pool (and a pool bar) is found. Guests can also dine with a view of the canal in the Grill Room and drink in the club-style Rye Bar. Rooms at the Rosewood are bang on-trend, yet supremely elegant, with espresso machines, Pratesi linens, touch-panel tech and monsoon showers.