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The Hay-Adams, White House/National Mall

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
800 16th Street N.W.
Washington , D.C.
Tel: 800 853 6807 (toll-free)
Tel: 202 638 6600's insider take:

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.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 88.4
  • Design: 86.9
  • Food: 81.1
  • Location: 93.5
  • Rooms: 88.1
  • Service: 92.3
Named for the two men who once lived on the site—John Hay (assistant to Abraham Lincoln) and writer Henry Adams—the Renaissance landmark with Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns makes guests feel "like they are part of history." Stately pillars out front give way to carved plaster ceilings and "gorgeous woodwork." Accommodations have ornamental fireplaces and European linens. Staff "handle every request quickly." Dine on dishes like goat cheese and basil ravioli at the restaurant; Off the Record is a "plush, dark bar."

(145 rooms)
—2011 Gold List
Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.