Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
A hotbed of culture, politics, and history, America’s capital city is awash in world-class museums, nationally known eateries, and a staggering array of iconic, must-see monuments. Accordingly, Washington D.C. boasts dozens of historic properties and international luxury hotel brands that are bound to impress and inspire travelers. Whether you're looking to bed down in Georgetown or test out the nightlife downtown, the hotels below will have you in good hands.
The five-star Hay-Adams is the creme de la creme of historic Washington D.C. lodging, no question about it. This landmark hotel (originally designed and built in the 1920s) was once part of the White House grounds, and it makes for the ideal home base for discovering the staggering array of historical attractions that D.C. has to offer. In fact, many of the rooms here overlook the city’s coolest sights, while the on-site amenities are incredibly luxurious — think a well-staffed concierge service, luxury sedan service, iPads, and so much more. There are 124 guest rooms and 21 deluxe suites to choose from, all of which are elegantly outfitted with a fireplace, marble bathroom, plush European linens, and 50-inch HDTV; some of the rooms even feature French doors that open out onto sprawling private balconies. At this legendary hotel, guests can tuck into upscale American cuisine at The Lafayette or indulge in a post-meal cocktail at the local favorite bar, Off the Record. In addition to all those thoughtful amenities, guests should know to expect a superior level of service from the Hay-Adams.
Best Budget: The Embassy Row Hotel
Staying at the Embassy Row Hotel is a fantastic choice for budget travelers, thanks to the hotel’s low price point, prime location, and gorgeous, bold design. The beloved Embassy Row is well-regarded as one of the premier hotels in the Dupont Circle neighborhood; it’s near the Phillips Collection museum and the Lincoln Memorial and it's just a short walk away from a metro station, which spells out easy access to other historical spots. The Embassy Row’s distinctly classy-yet-affordable vibe is what sets it apart from other budget hotels in the D.C. area. Plus, not only is the hotel near plenty of buzzing eateries, galleries, and shops, but there are great on-site amenities here, too. In addition to a stately fitness center, pop-up yoga classes, and an outdoor pool, there are even “silent disco nights” that take place on the rooftop when the weather’s nice. Each of the rooms here is simple, sunny, and furnished with stylish artwork; many rooms have expansive views of the neighborhood.
Best Boutique: The Jefferson, Washington D.C.
The Jefferson is an award-winning, extraordinary property that’s well within walking distance of the White House and most of the city’s major museums and monuments. Sincerely regarded as one of D.C.’s best historic boutique hotels, the Jefferson is decked out with enough sophisticated amenities, unique touches, and Beaux-Arts charm to charm even the most jaded of travelers. There are dozens of historic touches that honor the hotel’s namesake, Thomas Jefferson, while Plume, the hotel’s Michelin-starred fine dining eaterie, boasts some of the best regional cuisine around. Other on-site amenities include a spa that offers customized herbal treatments, an upscale cocktail bar, and fully equipped fitness facilities. The rooms are small yet altogether lovely; there’s free Wi-Fi, fresh coffee and muffins every morning, and all the other high-end accouterments you’d expect to find at a hotel of this caliber.
Best for Families: Omni Shoreham Hotel
It’s not terribly hard to find a family-centric historic hotel in D.C., but the Omni Shoreham Hotel offers something a little different than most. Conveniently located just a short walk away from the National Zoo, Rock Creek Park, and the metro, this popular, sprawling hotel is situated on 11 lush acres and is stuffed with amenities that the whole family is bound to appreciate. There are 834 beautifully appointed rooms and suites to choose from (of varying sizes, so you can select which best suits your family), 24-hour dining at Robert’s Restaurant, a spacious courtyard and gardens, high-end spa services for parents who want to indulge in some R&R, a dry sauna, and an outdoor pool surrounded by immaculate landscaping. For families in need of a historic hotel that doesn’t skimp on the amenities and is located near the best kid-friendly sights in D.C., the Omni Shoreham Hotel is an utter delight.
Best for Romance: Four Seasons, Washington D.C.
For lovebirds on the lookout for the perfect spot in historic D.C., the Four Seasons is a fantastically romantic place to hole up for the weekend. The only hotel in the nation’s capital to receive the Forbes Five-Star Award, the Four Seasons attracts celebrities, political figures, visiting dignitaries, and honeymooning couples, thanks to its vast array of intimate, elegant amenities. The hotel boasts a resort-style spa, outstanding fitness facilities, and some of the best dining options in the city. Rooms at the Four Seasons are sleekly decorated (think custom furnishings and feather-topped mattresses) and many offer lovely views of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, as well as the charming streets of Georgetown. Need something a little extra? Rent one of the six presidential suites, and enjoy use of your own private gym and a 1,000-square foot outdoor terrace.
Best for Luxury: The Watergate Hotel Georgetown
Well-run and ultra-stylish, the Watergate Hotel Georgetown is your best bet if you’d prefer upscale service and decor to anything else. Featuring all the best five-star amenities and services you could possibly imagine, this 336-room luxury hotel is the definition of high-end chic. The hotel is ideally located next to the Kennedy Center, which means that all of the major cultural sights and sounds of D.C. are just minutes away. In terms of the hotel’s history, the Watergate Hotel is, of course, best known for the infamous break-in and ensuing scandal — and many of the property’s eccentric details (including clips of Nixon speeches in lieu of a hold signal when you call the front desk) are a direct homage to this. The facilities are supremely luxe and include a vast library, the Argenta Spa (complete with an indoor lap pool and sauna), and a rooftop deck with dazzling views of the city below.
Best for Nightlife: The St. Regis Washington, D.C.
The ever-popular, bustling St. Regis is smack-dab in the middle of all the action, with its prime location at the corner of 16th and K streets, Northwest — one of the city’s premier addresses. When you stay at the St. Regis, you’ll be near all the best nightlife, fine dining, and culture that D.C. has to offer (as well as the metro). This grand hotel is also situated just two blocks north of the White House and is one of the only hotels in the world that’s hosted every American president since Coolidge. Apart from its convenient location and historical ties, the St. Regis is a stylish gem on the downtown hotel circuit. Among the many benefits of staying here, nightlife-loving guests appreciate that every room and suite features the best in upscale amenities, including plush linens, 24-hour room service, mini-bar, and a sleek 42-inch screen TV, in addition to basics like a robe, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, coffee, and a writing desk.
Business travelers will be happy to hear that the Willard Intercontinental is well-equipped to handle all your work-related needs. The hotel has a 24-hour self-service business center that’s stocked with a laser printer, private office space, and three computer workstations. There are also 19 meeting spaces available for rent, and each is uniquely designed, with its own look and feel. The Crystal Room and the Willard Room are the hotel’s two historic ballrooms, both of which are located right off Peacock Alley. Rooms at the Willard are spacious, comfortable and functional, and come equipped with exclusive Simmons Beautyrest Black mattresses, Illy coffee and tea makers, in-room safe, complimentary shoe shine service, and much more. Over the years, the hotel has gained a certain reputation for being the premier business hotel in historic D.C., and visitors are bound to thoroughly enjoy the superior customer service and upscale accommodations here.
Best B&B: Swann House
The Swann House is one of the most beloved bed-and-breakfasts in the area, and for good reason. The quaint B&B (located in the historic Dupont Circle neighborhood, just 12 blocks from the White House) offers truly lovely accommodations and provides guests with an intimate refuge far enough away from the city's hustle and bustle. Rooms feature private whirlpool baths and are individually decorated with rich fabrics, antique furnishings, and soft-as-silk linens. The property boasts an on-site swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, afternoon refreshments, and a deluxe complimentary breakfast that includes homemade granola, seasonal fruit, homemade pastries, and gourmet entrees that range from baked French toast to a truly delectable veggie frittata. The Swann House also has several customizable packages available that include add-ons like champagne, homemade cake, and even a Swedish deep tissue massage.