Concierge.com's insider take:
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
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:If Washington, D.C., is the new New York, then the Donovan House has arrived on the scene at the perfect moment, adding an edgy option in a central location on Thomas Circle. The top-to-bottom renovation of a former Holiday Inn added a chic rooftop pool and lounge accessible by key card only (something you'd expect in hedonistic L.A. or Miami); a buzzy Todd English-helmed Asian-fusion restaurant, Cha; and furnishings with a cool Cold War-era meets Modernism sensibility, especially in the lobby's funky hanging chairs and futuristic wingbacks. The last are also in the 193 guest rooms, which have dark-wood walls, low beds, and showers encased by nautilus-shaped spiraling Plexiglas. Although the rooms' low ceilings are an unfortunate remnant of the budget-hotel days, the overall experience is high-caliber and the service warmall at a wallet-friendly price that is very right for the times. 2009 Hot List
When to go: Washington is a year-round destination, but the city is at its most beautiful during early April's cherry blossom season.
Which room to book: Those on the upper floors have floor-to-ceiling windows looking out toward the eighteenth-century National City Christian Church.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›