Where to Book a Stay in Washington DC for a Local Experience

Book a stay at the Thompson and you'll find yourself in Navy Yard, one of DC's most vibrant districts
Book a stay at the Thompson and you'll find yourself in Navy Yard, one of DC's most vibrant districts | Courtesy of Thompson Washington D.C. / Expedia
Photo of Josephine Stockman
7 December 2020
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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 if you’re wondering where to stay in Washington DC come nightfall, we’ve got you covered with options ranging from boutique hotels and minimalist digs to historic luxury stays.

Hotel Hive

A crisp white double bed placed in an alcove with four windows overlooking the city in a room with a brick domed ceiling and wooden beams
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.

Eaton DC

A large dining area with an industrial metal roof, hanging and potted plants, wooden tables, yellow chairs, leather chairs and other eclectic boho decorations at Eaton DC
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 and 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.

The LINE DC

A living area with a dark leather sofa, two modern metal framed chairs in front of a floor-to-ceiling window and two coffee tables, one gold and one dark mahogany in a hotel room at the LINE DC
Courtesy of the LINE 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 into Spoken English to mingle with guests while enjoying traditional Asian dishes.

The Jefferson

Elegant cream-toned room at the Jefferson, with a luxurious double bed, a beige armchair, a wood and marble bedside table, a white writing desk and patterned drapes
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 you plan your day.

The Hay-Adams

Elegant double bedroom at The Hay-Adams with two-poster bed with white linen sheets, decorative curtains hanging behind the headboard, wooden furnishings and a juliette balcony
Courtesy of The Hay-Adams / Expedia
With knock-out views of the White House from its prime position on the National Mall and with 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 historic basement bar.

Willard InterContinental Washington

A luxury hotel lobby at the Willard InterContinental Washington, with multiple seating areas, a tiled mosaic floor, large marble and bronze columns, a rococo-inspired ornate ceiling and hanging light installations
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.

Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square

Lounge area with a long bar with yellow suede bar stools, leather couches, gingham-patterned high backed armchairs and modern hanging light fixtures at Sofitel Washington DC
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.

The Darcy Hotel

Lounge and dining area at the Darcy with dark midnight blue walls and a white ceiling, crimson drapes, brown and black leather chairs, white marble-topped tables and a mood-lit bar in the background
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 a 20-minute 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.

The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection

Mood-lit seating area with a brown chesterfield couch across from two brown leather chairs in a room with dark green-tiled walls and columns at 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.

Thompson Washington DC

Sun-filled seating area with large windows at the Thompson Washington DC with contrasting white and wood panelled walls, a dark blue suede couch across from a cream couch and several brown suede chairs
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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