Where to Stay in Washington DC For a Local Experience

Courtesy of Thompson Washington D.C. / Expedia
Photo of Josephine Stockman
7 December 2020

The USA’s capital city oozes power and grandeur with its famous monuments, vast museums and cherry tree-lined avenues. Plan on ticking off the sights? Bring your comfy shoes as you’ll be covering a lot of ground – and rest your weary feet in one of these supremely stylish sleeps.

Hotel Hive

Independent Hotel
4.5/5 (960 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Hive / Expedia
It bills itself as “Washington DC’s first micro-hotel” and rooms are indeed compact – but clever design and minimalist styling mean they don’t feel cramped, with cheeky wall quotes adding a fun vibe. Families can book interconnecting bunk rooms, and there’s a great pizza bar downstairs. The real draw is the location though – a 10-minute stroll from big-hitting landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and the Kennedy Center.
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Eaton DC

Boutique Hotel
4.6/5 (516 Reviews)
Courtesy of Eaton DC / Expedia
As soon as you walk in, it’s clear that this is no ordinary hotel – for starters, the lobby feels more like an avant-garde art installation. A gathering place for artists and activists, it has its own ‘radical’ library for guests, a new-age wellness center, a cinema and a radio station. Rooms are less revolutionary, more restful – with sleek mid-century chairs, colorful woven throws and minibars stocked with healthy snacks. There are two buzzing bars and an American-Asian eatery dishing up plant-based delights.
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The LINE DC

Boutique Hotel
4.5/5 (503 Reviews)
Courtesy of Riggs Washington DC / Expedia
In DC’s nightlife hub, the eccentric Adams Morgan District, this super-cool church conversion is an Instagrammer’s delight – check out the lobby’s chandelier made from repurposed organ pipes. The 220 reassuringly quiet rooms are filled with trendy vintage pieces, retro radios and pot plants, while the two award-winning restaurants are always packed. Locals pile in to Spoken English to mingle with guests while enjoying traditional Asian dishes.
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The Jefferson

Hotel
4.8/5 (650 Reviews)
The Jefferson
Courtesy of The Jefferson / Expedia
A DC classic, The Jefferson exudes old-school elegance – think wood paneling, lashes of marble and nods everywhere to the hotel’s namesake former president. Four-posters, heavy drapes and sink-in beds give the 99 rooms a cozy-luxe feel, and children are warmly welcomed with a stuffed toy on arrival. On Saturday mornings the hotel’s brilliant in-house historian is on hand to help plan your day.
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The Hay-Adams

Independent Hotel, Luxury
4.7/5 (736 Reviews)
The Hay-Adams
Courtesy of The Hay-Adams / Expedia
With knock-out views of the White House from its prime position on the National Mall, and former guests including President Obama, this is hands-down the grand dame of Washington hotels. The decor is suitably refined, but not stuffily so – dark wood, polished brass and plush carpets in its 145 stately bedrooms. Don’t miss a cocktail at Off the Record, the hotel’s historic basement bar.
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Willard InterContinental Washington

Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
4.7/5 (959 Reviews)
Willard InterContinental Washington
Courtesy of Willard InterContinental Washington / Expedia
Standing grandly for over 200 years, just two blocks from the White House, the Willard is said to be where the term ‘lobbyist’ was coined (when President Grant, enjoying a brandy and a cigar, was hounded by petitioners in its splendid lobby). Expect ornate decor, with lots of velvet and brocade, mallow-soft beds and exceptionally helpful staff.
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  • Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square

    Chain Hotel, Luxury
    4.5/5 (1209 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Sofitel Washington DC / Expedia
    Check in here and you’re right in the heart of DC, meaning all the sights are within easy walking distance from this sophisticated art-deco hotel. There’s a hint of Parisian boudoir to the place, with velvet chaise longues and monochrome vintage posters, along with a classy brasserie. They’re all nods to Sofitel’s French ownership, as is Le Bar – roll up at happy hour and you’ll find it nicely alive and kicking.
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    The Darcy Hotel

    Boutique Hotel
    4.3/5 (730 Reviews)
    The Darcy
    Courtesy of The Darcy / Expedia
    Feeling more like the chic apartment of a rather hip friend than a hotel, this place rolls out rooms that are a real treat. They’re light-flooded, thanks to huge windows, and feature striking artwork on the walls along with bold splashes of cobalt and yellow. They’re spacious for DC hotels, too, which makes the hotel a sure-fire bet for families. It’s around 20 minutes’ walk to the White House, but you’re in gastro central here – DC’s most exciting restaurants line 14th Street, just one block from the Darcy.
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    The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection

    Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
    4.4/5 (990 Reviews)
    The Mayflower Hotel
    Courtesy of The Mayflower Hotel / Expedia
    A venerable Washington landmark, The Mayflower has been going strong since 1925 and is proud of its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite this, there’s no hint of museum dustiness – rooms feel fresh and contemporary in soft shades of grey and mauve, with thoroughly modern, cloud-soft beds. Minutes from the hotel is the outstanding National Geographic Museum.
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    Thompson Washington D.C.

    Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
    4.7/5 (43 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Thompson Washington D.C. / Expedia
    In DC’s hippest district, up-and-coming Navy Yard, this slick hotel is right by the Anacostia River and its buzzing waterfront. Subtle nautical touches reflect the locale, such as porthole-style lights and rope details, and a muted palette of creams, blues and greys in the elegant, light-flooded bedrooms. Anchovy Social, the rooftop cocktail bar, is a great spot for a sundowner.
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    These recommendations were updated on December 7, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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