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As the capital of the United States of America, Washington, D.C. has long attracted visitors who come to gaze upon the fabled hallways of political power and immerse themselves in the nation’s rich history. Striking a green belt through the heart of the city, the storied National Mall contains some of the most famous vistas of American identity, from the White House in the north to the US Capitol building to the east and the evocative Lincoln Memorial to the west. Further afield, visitors can find memorials to significant figures from the annals of history, as well as an abundance of world-class museums, historical landmarks, and the poignant Arlington National Cemetery.
As one of the world’s most significant cities, Washington, D.C. is home to a profusion of designer boutiques, independent art galleries, gourmet restaurants, and sophisticated cocktail lounges. So you can save your money for spending on all that, below, we explore just a handful of our favorite budget hotels in the city.
Best Overall: The Tabard Inn
The Tabard Inn is Washington, D.C.'s oldest continually operating hotel, having first welcomed guests in1922. Over the years, the property has continued to offer charming boutique lodging coupled with the old-fashioned hospitality of a country inn. With hardwood floors, antique furniture, and eclectic art pieces lending the hotel a historic ambiance, 35 guest rooms are all uniquely decorated in a range of both traditional and retro styles. In keeping with its boutique character, there are no TVs or other electronic entertainments provided, although there is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
The restaurant, housed in a parlor-like room with a marble-lined fireplace, is renowned as one of the pioneers of farm-to-table cuisine. It has maintained this reputation through careful selection of only the freshest organic produce for use in its simple but flavorsome dishes. Next door, an intimate and comfortable lounge contains stuffed antique couches, decorative wooden wall panels adorned with period prints, a fireplace, and a bar, and hosts regular live jazz sessions. A beautiful garden patio filled with statues and foliage is a tranquil spot to enjoy a morning coffee and good book. More active guests can enjoy complimentary access to the nearby Washington Sports Club.
Best for Families: Omni Shoreham Hotel
Located just a short distance from the Smithsonian National Zoo, and with spacious wooded grounds, the Omni Shoreham Hotel is ideal for traveling families. Kiddos will be immediately impressed: upon arrival, they'll be greeted with a backpack full of art supplies, games, and binoculars. Come bedtime, things get even better, as they'll be delivered milk and cookies.
Rooms here are traditionally furnished and outfitted with standard amenities. The real showstopper is the large, heated free-form pool which offers a poolside bar and woodland views from its position in the courtyard. Parents can make use of the gym and relax in the on-site spa. Although housed in an elegant dining room, Robert’s Restaurant offers a relaxed dining atmosphere, with large family tables and beautiful windows offering views over the surrounding parkland. The restaurant also provides a coloring menu and crayons for the young ones, along with their own special Omni Kids’ Crew cup.
Best for Romance: The LINE DC
Set in a neoclassical church in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, The LINE DC has been transformed into one of the most romantic and indulgent budget hotels in the D.C. area. A stunning selection of original artworks, antique furnishings, and eclectic décor fill the building offering a carefully-crafted bespoke experience. Each guest room is individually decorated with custom furnishings, hardwood floors, and photographic prints. Room amenities include modern espresso machines, HDTVs, and media hubs, and bathrooms are done up with walk-in showers, soft bathrobes, and hand-made bath products.
The renowned onsite restaurant, A Rake's Progress, is run by award-winning head chef Spike Gjerde and specializes in farm-to-table cuisine using ingredients sourced from the mid-Atlantic. At the bar, signature cocktails are prepared with fresh herbs and fruits, premium spirits from local distilleries are poured over ice, and an excellent wine menu showcases varietals from all over the world.
Best Boutique: Adam’s Inn
A charming B&B-style hotel housed in a red-brick townhouse, Adam’s Inn is the place for a homey stay. A variety of room sizes offer unique and custom décor, featuring hand-carved antique furniture, elegant window drapes, and polished hardwood floors. Rooms come with either private or shared baths. A full continental breakfast is provided daily in a warm dining room lined with polished wood panels.
Facilities around the hotel include laundry machines, a business center with computers and printing capabilities, and a microwave located in the lobby. A traditional lounge contains comfortable couches, old-fashioned padded chairs, a widescreen TV, a crystal chandelier, and an ornamental fireplace. Outside, a beautiful flower-filled garden is filled with wrought-iron tables, chairs, and a lounge swing. Set in a tranquil corner of the Adams Morgan neighborhood, a nearby metro station allows guests to easily access downtown Washington at their convenience.
Best for Singles: Hotel Hive
A triangular corner building rooted in the chic Foggy Bottom neighborhood, Hotel Hive has been given a contemporary renovation but has lost none of its historic charms. The hotel has a wide selection of accommodations, with budget Buzz rooms suiting guests who don’t mind a lack of silence and views. The modern Hive rooms come with bunk-, queen-, or king-size beds, and the stylish Loft rooms display their historical heritage with exposed brick walls and wooden ceiling beams. Rooms come with a smart TV, Bluetooth music speakers, USB charging ports, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Downstairs in the Hive Bar, the pizza menu has won several accolades, and an extensive drinks menu features local spirits mixed into unique hand-crafted cocktails. The upstairs rooftop bar offers the same on a sophisticated and scenic terrace. Situated in a great location, the Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, and other notable sites are just a short walk away.
Best Location: Hotel Harrington
In the Penn Quarter, just steps from Pennsylvania Avenue, Hotel Harrington is one of the most favorably situated budget hotels in the city. The White House, National Mall, and Smithsonian institutions are all located just a short walk away. The property is also surrounded by historic theaters, art museums, and a huge variety of shopping, dining, and drinking venues.
Hotel Harrington's rooms are simply but comfortably furnished and come with fridges, coffee facilities, and a desk. Ice machines are located on several floors, a microwave is available for guest use, and complimentary Wi-Fi is provided throughout the hotel. The Harriet’s Family Restaurant serves delicious and filling meals throughout the day, while the retro diner-style Ollie’s Trolley serves burgers, shakes, and fries and the friendly Harry’s Pub serves snacks and drinks in a traditional English pub atmosphere.
Best for Business: Washington Hilton
A large modern hotel situated north of downtown D.C., the Washington Hilton provides all the facilities and amenities necessary to satisfy traveling businessmen. Clean, spacious guestrooms and suites come with work desks, ergonomic chairs, and adjustable lamps, as well as a large screen TV and coffee facilities. The hotel contains numerous event spaces, from private boardrooms with office supplies and audio-visual equipment to vast convention halls with stages and high-tech lighting fixtures. Events can also be booked on a scenic outdoor terrace which offers padded couches, firepits, and a cocktail bar. A business center provides printing, copying, and fax services should you need to complete something before a meeting.
Between conferences and work calls, guests can grab a bite to eat onsite. The Four Oaks restaurant serves a diverse breakfast and lunch menu, while the boisterous McClellan’s Sports Bar and sophisticated Sidecar lounge serve burgers, pizzas, and other snacks as well as a solid selection of craft beers, wines, spirits, and classic cocktails.
Best Hostel: Highroad Hostel DC
On the corner of Belmont Road overlooking the shops, restaurants, and nightlife of the Adams Morgan neighborhood, you'll find the Highroad Hostel DC — a popular three-story hostel with lots of character. Clean, bright dorms contain bunk beds with crisp white linens and reading lights and include spacious security lockers and free towels for use in the modern showers. A continental breakfast of cereal, toast, and coffee is provided each morning, and guests are welcome to eat and chat around the Carrara marble island in the common kitchen.
Guests can be found socializing on the plush modern sofas clustered around the fireplace in the lounge or on the benches and hammocks on the front deck — an ideal spot for enjoying the weather and people watching. The friendly staff keeps guests entertained with activities and events, and are always happy to provide advice, directions, and recommendations upon request.
Best B&B: Embassy Circle Guest House
Tucked away in the quiet, stately Embassy district, this guest house reflects its prestigious setting with genteel character. Décor consists of plush yet demure antique furnishings, Persian rugs, and colorful original artworks. The boutique nature of the property encourages guests to get to know one another in a relaxed and intimate space, whether from the overstuffed couches and chairs set around the decorative fireplace in the common room or around the antique dining table at the evening craft beer and wines tastings. The tranquil and historic atmosphere is further enhanced by the lack of TVs and radios, though guests are welcome to use personal electronics and take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi.
Though the hotel lacks an on-site restaurant, helpful staff can steer guests to a varied selection of local restaurants. The nearest metro stop is a five-minute walk away along affluent neighborhood streets lined with historic embassy buildings, boutique art galleries, and grand private mansions.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular budget hotels in Washington, D.C. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different hotels and read over 100 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.