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Washington, D.C. hotels

Hotels in Washington, D.C., have been working hard to overcome their city's reputation as the all-work-no-play drone of the East Coast. Stuffiness is now trumped by buzzy modernity; even old-school power spots like the St. Regis (formerly the Carlton) have transitioned from fusty and overwrought to serenely elegant. The boutique hotel scene has evolved, too, from quirky (the Hotel Monaco and Hotel George) to sophisticated, with the opening of the modish Donovan House. Of course, a trip to Washington is a trip through American history, and hotels such as the Hay-Adams—once a salon for the likes of Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt and now a happy-hour spot for White House staffers—and the Willard, where Lincoln stayed before his inauguration, play their roles with gusto.

Though Washington is a relatively compact city, location does matter. Many of the top luxury hotels, including the Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, and one of the four area Ritz-Carltons, are located in and around leafy Georgetown. That neighborhood is one of the city's most idyllic, yet the lack of Metro access there means hotel guests rely on cabs to get around. Choosing a hotel downtown or in the Penn Quarter will put you near some of D.C.'s best restaurants and nightlife and within walking distance of the National Mall. For a more laid-back vibe, consider Thomas and Dupont circles, home to boutique properties like the budget-friendly Normandy and Kimpton Hotel Rouge and charming B&Bs such as Swann House.

Washington, D.C., hotels can be a great deal for weekend travelers. When business and political visitors head home, luxury hotel rates fall by as much as 50 percent and hotel restaurants fill with local residents. (Some of the capital's top tables are hotel-based, including Alain Ducasse's Adour, in the St. Regis; CityZen, in the Mandarin Oriental, and Blue Duck Tavern in the Park Hyatt.) Great deals also abound when Congress is in recess during late August and the winter holidays.

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The Willard InterContinental, Downtown

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...more

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The Hay-Adams, White House/National Mall

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...more

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St. Regis Washington D.C., Downtown

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...more

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Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown, 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...more

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Park Hyatt Washington D.C., West End

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...more

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Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C., Southwest

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...more

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Four Seasons Hotel Washington D.C., Georgetown

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...more

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W Washington D.C., White House/National Mall

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...more

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The Jefferson, Dupont Circle

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...more

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Hotel Monaco, Penn Quarter

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...more

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

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