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Concierge.com

Washington, D.C. Hotels

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Donovan House
1155 14th Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20005
Tel: 202 737 1200
Tel: 800 383 6900 (toll-free)
infodc@thompsonhotels.com
www.thompsonhotels.com

We'll be shocked if the Donovan makes it through the Obama administration without cropping up in some political sex scandal or other. Opened in March 2008 by the same group behind the Hollywood Roosevelt and New York's 60 Thompson, it has a racy, after-hours vibe, thanks to dim, mirrored hallways and a loungelike lobby. The Thomas Circle location is sure to invite misbehavior, as well—it sits squarely between the high-end clubs along K Street (Lima, Lotus) and the hipster hangouts lining 14th and U streets. In the summer months, the hotel's rooftop pool hosts some of the best parties in town. The 193 spacious rooms have brand-conscious adornments—Kiehl's body products, Sferra linens, Kiki de Montparnasse intimacy kits—and a mod '60s feel. A chocolate leather headboard wraps all the way up the wall and across the ceiling; aubergine curtains cover floor-to-ceiling windows. An opaque white shower stall spirals out from the bathroom, casting a glow into the bedroom and revealing suggestive shadows of whoever's inside. The standard rooms are among the biggest in D.C., though upgrading will give you access to deep soaking tubs for two. It all adds up to a refreshing dose of sophistication among the capital's crop of boutique hotels, many of which cross the line between class and kitsch.—Updated by Colleen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Washington D.C.
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20007
Tel: 202 342 0444
Fax: 202 944 2076
www.fourseasons.com/washington

Just over the bridge in Georgetown, this plush, 211-room Four Seasons outpost delivers all the luxury and efficiency travelers have come to expect from the Mercedes of hotel chains. Service is smooth and professional, as always, and a recent $25-million renovation has increased the size of rooms and bathrooms in the East Wing and upped the style quotient, courtesy of Pierre-Yves Rochon, who designed the company's George V in Paris. The secret weapon here is the fitness center: It's 12,500 square feet on three levels, with a multitude of machines and aerobics and yoga classes. Under a skylight, there's also a 60-foot lap pool; guests have the option of reserving lanes for guaranteed swims.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
The Hay-Adams
800 16th Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20006
Tel: 800 853 6807 (toll-free)
Tel: 202 638 6600
reservations@hayadams.com
www.hayadams.com

This venerable hotel, just across Lafayette Square from the White House, has such a good bird's-eye view of the First Mansion that network news divisions often book a room here just for the camera angles. Even the site has history: John Hay, Abraham Lincoln's private secretary (who later served as secretary of state to Teddy Roosevelt), and Henry Adams, an author and descendant of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, were friends who lived next door to each other at this address, giving the hotel its name. Their houses were razed to build this Italian Renaissance–style property in 1927; with the exception of a closure in 2001 for renovations, it's been receiving guests ever since. The 145 rooms and suites are furnished with lush draperies, Oriental rugs, and Federal-esque furniture. The best? The one-bedroom, two-bathroom Federal Suite. It's 1,400 square feet, with French doors and a balcony overlooking the White House; it's particularly popular with guests who have appointments across the way.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel George
15 E Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20001
Tel: 202 347 4200
rooms@hotelgeorge.com
www.hotelgeorge.com

Right next to Capitol Hill, this Kimpton property was the first hotel to bring cutting-edge design to a very traditional, Federalist city. The first clue is the gleaming chrome and glass facade. (The second is the fact that Christina Aguilera has slept here.) Inside, the lobby is white coralina stone with lipstick-red sofas, and a black baby-grand piano sits by the reception desk. Each of the 139 rooms has custom furniture (a granite-topped desk, for example), black-and-white marble in the bathroom, bold mirrors, and a yoga kit (mat, block, strap) to use while watching the in-house yoga channel on the room's flat-screen TV. It's no accident that big pop-art dollar bills, by Warhol colleague Steve Kaufman, hang on the walls—the unconventional images of George Washington are a cheeky nod to the presidential history that is all around in D.C. Bistro Bis, a modern French restaurant, has a lively bar and a regular clientele of senators and congressmen.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Monaco
700 F Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20004
Tel: 202 628 7177
Fax: 202 628 7277
www.monaco-dc.com

The West Coast–based Kimpton Hotel Group brought its successful Monaco brand into D.C. with a flourish when it took over the distinguished 1839 Tariff Building. Designed by Robert Mills, who also created the Washington Monument and the United States Treasury Building, the neoclassical property is now a stylish boutique hotel (and a registered national landmark). Located in the art-gallery-and-restaurant-filled Penn Quarter, the 182-room Hotel Monaco combines grandeur and hipness, exemplified by the six Robert Mills suites. These corner spots have vaulted 20-foot ceilings and ornate moldings, and are decorated with contemporary but not severe furnishings. In a surprising innovation, the 36 Monte Carlo rooms are designed for tall guests: King-size beds are 90 inches long, and showerheads are set higher than standard nozzles. There's also complimentary wine in the evenings, a pet-friendly policy, and a companion goldfish (on request) to keep you from getting lonely.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Hotel Rouge
1315 16th Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20036
Tel: 202 232 8000
reservations@rougehotel.com
www.rougehotel.com

Unabashedly sexy, trendy, high-tech, and, well, red, this hotel on Embassy Row has 137 rooms meant to stimulate, not calm you down. (Unless, that is, you request one of the designated Chill rooms, which have mood lighting, a PlayStation 3 or Wii, two 27-inch flat-screen TVs, and slightly more subdued colors than in the other spaces.) Other specialty categories include Chat rooms, with a state-of-the-art computer and unlimited Internet access, and Chow rooms, with a kitchenette, including microwave and dishes. The interiors are sharp, contemporary, and whimsical (starting with the black-and-red checkered rugs). And all guests are invited to a red-wine-and-beer session on weekday evenings, with Bloody Marys and cold pizza on weekend mornings. Just like home.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Jefferson
1200 16th St. N.W.
Washington , D.C.
Tel: 202 347 2200
Fax: 202 331 7982
www.jeffersondc.com

It is said that Thomas Jefferson's time in France left him with an abiding appreciation for the finer things in life. If so, he would be very happy at The Jefferson, four blocks north of his old White House digs. A Beaux Arts beauty built in 1923, The Jefferson has reopened after a two-year makeover that restored the gleam to its ornate plasterwork, the glow to its painted silk wallpaper, and the polish to its parquet floors. There is an impeccable attention to detail here, from the white orchids set in silver cups on the breakfast tables to the fine chocolates left on a porcelain tray as a turndown treat. The 99 rooms are compact and supremely comfortable (complimentary Wi-Fi and telephone calls are a nice touch) and designed in a muted palette (toile draperies are the only decorative flourish). This is a hotel for grown-ups who prefer traditional to trendy, formal to familiar, and serene to a scene. Its clubby bar, snug library with fireplace, and many quiet corners give guests ample choice for places to meet over a drink or relax with a newspaper, and Plume, its fine French restaurant, is one of the city's most lauded new tables.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.
1330 Maryland Avenue S.W.
Washington , D.C.
20024
Tel: 888 888 1778 (toll-free)
Tel: 202 554 8588
mowas-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/washington

The sumptuous style, Eastern touches, cosseting service, and excellent food will come as no surprise to anyone who's stayed at a Mandarin Oriental. But what no one has been able to figure out since this 400-room hotel opened in 2004 is why the company's executives chose this particular location. Unlike most of its competitors, situated in Georgetown or downtown, this hotel is stuck near the Smithsonian in the southwest quadrant, on an isolated peninsula surrounded by nondescript government buildings. Still, the accommodations are gorgeous, particularly the corner Premier Water View rooms, with their romantic chaise longues positioned in front of tall windows looking out on the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial. The restaurant, CityZen, is also a bona fide draw, and the spa, with its bronze ceiling, sunny colors, soothing atmosphere, indoor heated pool, and range of Asian-inspired treatments, will make you forget you're even in a city.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Normandy Hotel
2118 Wyoming Avenue N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20008
Tel: 202 483 1350
normandy@doylecollection.com
www.doylecollection.com/locations/washington_dc_hotels/the_normandy_hotel.aspx

Located on a leafy side street within walking distance of Dupont Circle's restaurants and bars, the Normandy has a mellow, tucked-away feel. The warren of rooms that adjoin the ground-floor lobby lack coherent design but compensate for it with cozy fireside spots for curling up with the paper or sipping a morning coffee. It's upstairs that the Normandy shines, with 75 rooms that feel far more luxurious than the bargain rates (often as low as $109 per night) would suggest. Old World touches like toile wallpaper are tempered by a neutral palette and leather headboards. Service is friendly and efficient, and there's a host of perks (free Wi-Fi, Nespresso coffee machines in the rooms, wine and cheese receptions). It all adds up to a pleasant stay, and, dare we say, the best value in the District.—Colleen Clark

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Park Hyatt Washington D.C.
24th & M Streets N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20037
Tel: 202 789 1234
Tel: 800 778 7477 (toll-free)
parkwashington.hyatt.com

Designer Tony Chi set out an ambitious task for the 2006 renovation of the Park Hyatt: to capture the essence of D.C.'s role as the nation's capital without resorting to clichéd historicism. That he succeeded is evident immediately upon entering: Soaring glass boxes painted with the city's famous cherry blossoms flank the lobby. Behind the front desk, strips of rough red burlap evoke a tattered American flag. In the bar, glass-enclosed booths cleverly tweak Capitol Hill's "seen-but-not-heard" ethos. The 215 understated rooms continue the mix of modernism and Americana, enlivening the contemporary furniture with handmade Windsor chairs, wood Shaker boxes, and books on American crafts. In deluxe rooms and suites, a panel separating the living and sleeping spaces has a hand-carved checkerboard on one side and a flat-screen TV on the other. Spring an extra $50 or so for an upgrade, and you'll also get a spa-inspired limestone bathroom the size of most D.C. hotel rooms, complete with sunken tub and open dual-head shower stall. But the Park Hyatt's ambition extends beyond design. It has one of the city's best restaurants—the locavore-obsessed Blue Duck Tavern—toiletries courtesy of cult French parfumeur Blaise Mautin, and some of most smartest and most intuitive service in the district. The staff speaks more than 20 languages, and will offer complimentary rides in an Audi A8 L or arrange tastings of single-estate teas in the cellar. But it's the little details that are especially telling: You arrive home at night to find your toiletries organized on the counter and your toothbrush and toothpaste placed in a glass. They notice whether you've finished more sparkling or still water from the bedside bottles and restock accordingly. The only catch? The West End location—across the bridge from Georgetown and south of Dupont Circle—means that Metro service isn't particularly convenient.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown
3100 South Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20007
Tel: 202 912 4100
Fax: 202 912 4199
www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/georgetown

Overlooking the Potomac River, this hotel is located in the former Georgetown Incinerator, a distinctive, turn-of-the-century red-brick building complete with a 130-foot smokestack. It's our favorite of the four Ritz-Carltons in the region (the others are located downtown, near the Pentagon, and in McLean, Virginia). The 86 rooms and suites have an intimate, masculine charm and handsome contemporary furniture—some in dark leather, others in shades of red or gold with lively accents, such as orange silk pillows. They're also pretty spacious: At 2,980 square feet (plus nearly 800 square feet of terrace overlooking the river), the Royal Potomac Suite is a top contender for the title of most luxurious in town. The hotel's interior design takes full advantage of the building's history: lots of brick and ironwork, incendiary themes (Fahrenheit restaurant, Degrees bar), and a lobby lounge with a working fireplace (with a welcoming just-lit aroma). The service is polished, and the spa is the only one in Washington with Prada treatments on its menu.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis Washington D.C.
923 16th & K Streets N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20006
Tel: 202 638 2626
reservations.stregisdc@stregis.com
www.stregis.com/washington

Washington's newest grande dame actually arrived on the scene in 1926, as the Carlton Hotel. (It became a St. Regis in 1999, the first property to bear that name after the New York original.) Modeled on an Italian palazzo and located just two blocks from the White House, the hotel was intended to make European dignitaries feel at home when visiting the U.S. capital. It's still the province of visiting heads of state, diplomats, and lobbyists, and an air of decorum prevails. You arrive to a handwritten welcome note from the manager, and your butler ensures that shoes are shined and shirts pressed (complimentary in suites). A $56-million renovation in 2007 added high-tech touches to the 175 traditional rooms: An armoire hides the flat-screen TV and minibar; in the bathroom, handsome brass fixtures and mosaic tiles frame no-fog mirrors with built-in TV screens. In all, the decor is light and contemporary, with jewel-toned textiles to offset the dark wood and gilt trim. By late 2009, the hotel expects to open a spa and fitness center in a neighboring town house; until then, amenities are limited largely to the bar and Adour, the French restaurant from Alain Ducasse. Two minor quibbles: The hotel charges $12.95 a day for Wi-Fi, an irksome expense for such a business-friendly hotel. Also, standard rooms lack bathtubs, though upgrading to a suite can cost as little as $30 more per night.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Swann House
1808 New Hampshire Avenue N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20009
Tel: 202 265 4414
stay@swannhouse.com
www.swannhouse.com

This 19th-century mansion just off Dupont Circle is a tiny jewel. The 12 rooms in this B&B all have period details and pleasant decor, each with a unique style—taste (and budget) will determine your choice. Among the moderately priced, there's the Lighthouse, an intimate circular room in the second-floor turret, with red walls, a nautical theme, and blue-and-white-striped bedding. The Jennifer Green Room, designed as the dressing room for the original lady of the house, has a four-poster queen feather bed, fireplace, and private deck. (Rates include continental breakfast.) Swann House mixes an antique air (crystal chandeliers, original crown moldings) with all the modern conveniences (cable TV, voicemail, Wi-Fi), and is within striking distance of major universities such as Georgetown and George Washington, making it popular with doting parents.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Willard InterContinental
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington , D.C.
20004
Tel: 202 628 9100
washington@interconti.com
www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hd/WASHA

This cavernous Beaux Arts masterpiece has been the centerpiece of official Washington since it opened in 1850; in fact, Abraham Lincoln stayed here the night before his inauguration. The current version of the hotel dates back to 1901, its grandeur restored by a renovation in the late 1980s. A more recent makeover—completed in time for the Obama inauguration—focused on the lobby, restoring the original marble-and-wood front desk and adding a Scotch bar. Marble columns, mirrored panels, mosaic floors, and ornate chandeliers abound, along with lavish curtains and tufted settees in the 341 rooms and suites. One special suite, the Jenny Lind, has a wrought-iron canopy bed and a view of the Washington Monument from the Jacuzzi. For a true power spot, book the Jefferson Suite: It's 2,800 square feet with a dramatic entrance foyer enhanced by black-and-white marble, Aubusson rugs, and a view down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W Washington D.C.
515 15th Street N.W.
White House/National Mall
Washington , D.C.
20004
Tel: 202 661 2400
www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3279

If you need any more evidence that Obama-era Washington is our nation's new capital of cool, witness the opening of the W Washington D.C. Cheek by jowl with the White House (you can spy the lawn from the higher floors), it's become a new hub for D.C. hipsters and fun-seeking visitors alike. W imbued the former Hotel Washington—the kind of fusty old grande dame where you'd take your great-aunt for tea—with its modern sensibilities but retained the 1917 Beaux Arts elements. So now there's a digital fireplace and neon-lit bar among the lobby's high ceilings and intricate plasterwork, and white lacquered furniture under the crown moldings in the 317 guest rooms. Unfortunately, W also inherited some of the building's flaws, including narrow rooms, thin walls, and tiny elevators. On weekends, a line of well-dressed thirtysomethings waiting to access the rooftop bar, POV, snakes through the lobby. The bar offers a tempting combination of gobsmacking views—the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Pentagon—and cocktails crafted by New York mixologist Sasha Petraske. The W is the place to stay if you're in town for a party or here to restaurant-hop or sightsee; if you're visiting Washington on serious business or with the kids, you'll probably be happier somewhere else. Tip: The lowest-category "Wonderful" rooms start at a cramped 215 square feet; it's worth digging deep for more space.—Peter J. Frank

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.