White House/National Mall
Washington , D.C.
Tel: 202 661 2400
Concierge.com's insider take:
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
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:The Capitol Building goings-on notwithstanding, Washington is by nature so sedate that visitors from more energetic cities sometimes wonder whether it even has a pulse. Not only is the new W proof that it does, but the hotel thumps quite vigorously to an ambient beat. Hewn out of the shell of the former Hotel Washington, the W's public areas retain the best of its 1917 Beaux Arts architecture, with soaring arched entryways, 20-foot cathedral windows, and ornate Grecian plasterwork. A masterful overlay of more modern sensibilitiesincluding LED chandeliers that bathe the lobby in ever-changing hues, sculptural golden flowers along the ceiling, and check-in desks that glow like illuminated pearlsachieve an overall effect that's nothing short of electric. Rooms are comfortable but small, designed in an updated Austin Powers aesthetic, with shag carpeting, backlit headboards, and purple suede wingback chairs. Staff are pleasant and capable, but the hotel has a tendency to nickel-and-dime guests for things like in-room Internet access, bottles of water ($9!), and valet parking ($50!)which can add up. Still, the happening vibe, the fine Jean-Georges restaurant, the Bliss Spa, and the view of the Obamas' backyard from the rooftop lounge make this the only address in town for serious scenesters and those who aspire to be. 2010 Hot List
Which room to book: If you require lightor don't want to look out onto air-conditioning ductsspring for a room in the Spectacular or Fabulous categories.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›