The Best Luxury Hotels in Washington DC, USA

Indulge in an opulent stay at the Rosewood Washington DC
Indulge in an opulent stay at the Rosewood Washington DC | Courtesy of Rosewood Washington DC / Expedia
Culture Trip Travel Team

America’s capital is no stranger to the high life – heads of state, diplomats and CEOs come here seeking glamorous digs, so you can piggyback on that VIP treatment at the top hotels in town. Whether you choose to stay Downtown, close to the proud patriotic landmarks in the city or near the dining delights of sociable Adams Morgan or Georgetown, you’re in for fine hospitality in Washington DC. Book your stay now with Culture Trip at one of these top luxury hotels.

1. The Hay-Adams

Hotel

Driveway to elegant 1920s Hay-Adams hotel with tulips and trees
Courtesy of the Hay-Adams / Expedia
With past guests including Teddy Roosevelt and the Obamas, the heavily draped and polished Hay-Adams is the closest you’ll get to staying in the White House. As well as being one of the closest addresses to the presidential residence – with the best views from its suites – its dramatic Italian-Renaissance façade has appeared on TV shows such as Homeland and House of Cards. Look out for whispering politicos amid the walnut nooks and scarlet upholstery of the Off the Record bar.

2. Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC

Chain Hotel, Luxury

Two beds, a table and chairs, and a chest of drawers in a hotel room at Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC / Expedia

This Hong Kong-born brand is renowned for its Asian-style opulence and microscopic attention to detail – just check out the dainty afternoon tea in the Empress Lounge. Cool sheets, plush furniture and deep marble tubs all elicit a sigh of contentment. One huge draw are the pin-drop-quiet pool and spa with huge daybeds – but the Downtown location is superb for sightseers, too.

3. Willard InterContinental Washington

Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury

The gilded interior, with plush armchairs and seating, at the Willard InterContinental Washington
Courtesy of Willard InterContinental Washington / Expedia

The Willard has the gilded feel of a palace. Glinting chandeliers, fresh flowers and monogrammed headboards salute all guests as VIPs – while tapestry carpets and heavy oil paintings add grandeur to spun-gold hallways. Within walking distance of the National Mall, it suits holidaymakers, but the service and facilities draw an executive crowd.

5. Omni Shoreham Hotel

Hotel

The outdoor pool, with sunbeds and surrounded by trees, at Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington D.C.
Courtesy of Omni Shoreham Hotel / Expedia
An outdoor pool is a rare find in DC, but the Omni’s butterfly-shaped edition welcomes guests in its prim pleasure-park gardens. With a heavily carpeted ballroom-style lobby and comfy green, white and grey rooms, the hotel is near Adams Morgan. It’s just a few Metro stops from the sights – but close to fantastic Japanese food and craft cocktails along Columbia Road and 18th Street.

6. The Watergate Hotel

Independent Hotel, Luxury

A unique design with floor-to-ceiling bottles, and red armchairs in the bar at the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC
Courtesy of The Watergate Hotel / Expedia

While this is the hotel that prompted us to add “gate” to every scandal since 1972, don’t expect faded mid-century looks – its 2017 makeover by Ron Arad Architects was a revelation. The famous donut-shaped exterior hints at the sculptural, swerving details in the lobby and restaurant, with metallic installations spiraling out like soundwaves. Rooms have fluid, polished wooden desks and concrete-grey bed frames. A river-view rooftop and industrial-feel pool and spa add yet more wow factor.

7. The Jefferson, Washington DC

Boutique Hotel, Suite Hotel, Apartment

Seating in the dining area under a high glass ceiling at the Jefferson, Washington DC
Courtesy of The Jefferson, Washington DC / Expedia
Named for the third US president and main author of the Declaration of Independence, the Jefferson has the presence of a stately home, with heavy busts and TJ-signed documents on the walls. Headboard flourishes and gilt mirrors pep up calm, cream-hued rooms. A Michelin-starred restaurant, Plume, serves slivers of perfectly pink meat, while the Greenhouse’s checkerboard floors and glass ceilings set the scene for your afternoon tea.

8. Rosewood Washington DC

Luxury, Hotel, Chain Hotel

A canal lined with trees next to the red-brick building of the Rosewood Washington DC
Courtesy of Rosewood Washington DC / Expedia

A hushed canalside location greets you at this red-brick townhouse in storybook Georgetown. You’ll find lovingly designed spaces here, from the low-lit, russet intimacy of the Cut restaurant to the waterfront terrace and rooftop pool. Everything feels smart and classic, with gentlemanly textures of leather, metal and polished wood, though rooms are paired down with crisp whites and gold-and-grey accents.

9. American Guesthouse

Guesthouse

A bed in a hotel room with a fireplace and gilded mirror on the mantelpiece at American Guest House
Courtesy of American Guest House / Expedia

This B&B, in northern Dupont Circle, is another step back in time for Washington’s history hunters. Carved-wood writing desks, heavy crimson curtains and ornamental fireplaces induce a frisson of the past, while friendly staff keep the regulars coming back. Breakfast is a timeless checklist of filling faves – pancakes, waffles, omelets and eggs benedict – tailored to your taste, so you won’t set off hungry.

10. W Washington DC

Hotel

A bed, green couch and shelves for a bar in a hotel room at W Washington DC
Courtesy of W Washington D.C. / Expedia
W hotels aim to shake up the luxury scene with boundary-pushing interiors and audacious installations. Its take on the old Hotel Washington sees old walls lit with disco hues and Chesterfields replaced by nightclubby banquettes. Affordable, smooth-edged rooms make good use of space and light, adding metal-frame minibars and president-caricature scatter cushions. Food and drink are posh street food and wordplay cocktails: try a lobster grilled cheese or a rye-based Drain the Swamp.

11. The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC

Luxury, Hotel, Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel

A bed, blue armchair and bedside table in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC
Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC / Expedia

A business-luxe master, the Ritz-Carlton in DC wins out on a kindly staff, who leave guests beaming. Art- and ornament-brightened suites are more stylish than basic guest rooms, which come in ice-white and gunmetal grey. You’re close to charming Georgetown and foodie Adams Morgan for an evening out.

12. Riggs Washington DC

Independent Hotel, Hotel, Luxury

Plush seating and marble columns in the lobby area at Riggs Washington DC
Courtesy of Riggs Washington DC / Expedia

Just blocks from the White House and Smithsonian Museum, Riggs has the high ceilings, marble pillars and wedding-cake cornicing you want from this grand old city. Thoroughly modern rooms come in powder-puff pinks and silvers, with striking floral-motif headboards – but it’s the communal areas of this former bank that pack the most punch. A bite at art deco Cafe Riggs is a must, but your nightcap should be taken on the velvet sofas of low-lit Silver Lyan.

Still looking for somewhere to stay in DC? Read our guide to the best hotels in Logan Circle, Washington DC, the best hotels in Washington DC, or check into one of the best boutique hotels. If you’re looking for a historic place to stay, you could read our rundown of the most famous and historic hotels in Washington DC, bookable now on Culture Trip.

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