The Best Luxury Hotels in Washington DC

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

America’s political 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 its top hotels. Whether you choose to stay Downtown, close to the city’s proud patriotic landmarks, or near the dining delights of sociable Adams Morgan or Georgetown, you’re in for the finest hospitality in Washington DC.

The Hay-Adams

Hotel
4.7/5 (736 Reviews)
The Hay-Adams | 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 facade 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.
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Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC

Luxury, Chain Hotel
4.7/5 (959 Reviews)
Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
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 will all elicit a sigh of contentment. One huge draw is its pin-drop-quiet pool and spa, with huge daybeds – but the Downtown location is superb for sightseers, too.

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Willard InterContinental Washington

Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
4.7/5 (959 Reviews)
Willard InterContinental Washington
Willard InterContinental Washington | Courtesy of Willard InterContinental Washington / Expedia

The full branded name may not imply it, but ‘The Willard’ has the gilded, palatial feel of a Ritz or a Plaza. 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 from the National Mall, it suits holidaymakers, but the service and facilities draw an executive crowd.

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Fairmont Washington DC

Luxury, Chain Hotel
4.7/5 (962 Reviews)
Fairmont Washington DC
Fairmont Washington DC | Courtesy of Fairmont Washington DC / Expedia

Stately luxury is sharpened by edgy interiors at the Fairmont, in historic Georgetown. An enormous, snaking light fixture of jagged metal shapes pulls your eye in the bar-lounge, while a shattered-gold mosaic backs the reception desk. Rooms are pragmatic and calm, made for a high-end business crowd. The fairylit courtyard is a romantic spot for cocktails in warmer months.

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Omni Shoreham Hotel

Hotel
4.3/5 (1509 Reviews)
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington D.C.
Omni Shoreham Hotel | Courtesy of Omni Shoreham Hotel / Expedia
An outdoor pool is a rare find in DC, but the Omni’s butterfly-shaped pool 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 the fantastic Japanese food and craft cocktails along Columbia Road and 18th Street.
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The Watergate Hotel

Independent Hotel, Luxury
4.4/5 (1094 Reviews)
The Watergate Hotel, Washington
The Watergate Hotel | 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 spiralling out like soundwaves. Rooms have fluid, polished wooden desks and boxy, concrete-grey bed frames. A river-view rooftop and industrial-feel pool and spa add yet more wow-factor.

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The Jefferson, Washington DC

Boutique Hotel, Suite Hotel, Apartment
4.8/5 (650 Reviews)
The Jefferson, Washington DC
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 framed documents. 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.
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Rosewood Washington DC

Luxury, Hotel, Chain Hotel
4.5/5 (119 Reviews)
Rosewood Washington DC
Rosewood Washington DC | Courtesy of Rosewood Washington DC / Expedia

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

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  • American Guesthouse

    Guesthouse
    4.3/5 (80 Reviews)
    American Guest House | Courtesy of American Guest House / Expedia

    This Colonial-style 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, omelettes, and Eggs Benedict – tailored to your taste, so you won’t set off hungry.

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    W Washington DC

    Hotel
    4.1/5 (145 Reviews)
    W Washington D.C.
    W Washington D.C. | Courtesy of W Washington D.C. / Expedia
    W’s hotels aim to shake up the luxury scene with outsize, boundary-pushing interiors and audacious installations. Its take on the old Hotel Washington may not be for everyone – old walls are lit with disco-hues and Chesterfields replaced by nightclubby banquettes. Still, 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 junk food and wordplay cocktails: try a lobster grilled cheese or a rye-based Drain the Swamp.
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    The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC

    Luxury, Hotel, Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel
    4.6/5 (678 Reviews)
    The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC
    The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC | Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC / Expedia

    A business-luxe master with slightly less soul than the Fairmont, MO, or Rosewood, DC’s Ritz-Carlton lacks a little design magic – but 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.

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    Riggs Washington DC

    Independent Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
    4.8/5 (116 Reviews)
    Riggs Washington DC
    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 and silvers, with striking floral-motif headboards – but it’s the communal areas of this former bank which pack the most punch. A bite in Art Deco space Cafe Riggs is a must, but your nightcap should be taken on velvet sofas in low-lit Silver Lyan.

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    These recommendations were updated on December 3, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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