What are five things I should know about The Jefferson, Washington, DC?

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If you're thinking about a stay at The Jefferson, Washington, D.C., here are five things you should know:

1. The hotel is historic but almost entirely brand-new inside. Though the building has stood at 16th Street NW and M Street NW since 1923, and has operated as a hotel since 1955, only the bare walls of The Jefferson's stone facade are original, or even recent. In 2007, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel was gutted inside, its rooms reconfigured and everything rebuilt before reopening in 2009. The authenticity may be because the reconstruction was done with many historical details and reclaimed materials in mind. (The wood of the walls in the private Cellar conference and dining space comes from a Civil War-era uniform factory in Massachusetts.) In Plume, the hotel's fine dining restaurant, only one of the antique-looking wall sconces is original to the building. The rest were copied to match the original.

2. There are many nods to Thomas Jefferson. The renovation also included the addition of many Jefferson-inspired historical touches and artifacts. In the hotel lobby, you’ll find a gallery of historical documents bearing his signature. In the guest rooms, curtains and pillows printed with schematics and images of Monticello, Jefferson’s estate, abound. Images of Monticello also adorn the walls of the fine dining restaurant Plume, on wallpaper that was cut from a single piece of silk painted with a Monticello landscape especially for the hotel.

3. There is a long list of Madeira. At Quill or Plume, you can sample one of sommelier Michael Scaffidi's selections of Madeira, a fortified wine that was popular with Jefferson and his fellow revolutionaries. The restaurants have gathered vintages of this strong beverage from three centuries, including bottles that date back to Jefferson’s time — the oldest on the list is from 1810, 16 years before his death. A taste is pricey ($175), but will offer a hands-on historical experience few American bars can match.

4. The bar will mix a custom cocktail. For a few dollars more than you'll pay for one of Quill’s house offerings, your bartender will create a customized Mastermind cocktail. With just the knowledge that we liked ginger, our Quill bartender concocted a deliciously tangy mixture of ginger liqueur, Cointreau, dark rum from Martinique, bitters and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

5. Many amenities are free. Wi-Fi at the Washington D.C. hotel is free, as is the shoeshine service. Bottled water in your room is gratis, and each guest enjoys a free press of one garment. 

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