Answers from Our Experts (2)
Presidential inaugurations and the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival are the best times to visit Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington, D.C. The Willard’s nickname was once “Residence of Presidents,” a name that hearkens back to when presidents-elect used the location (just a few steps from the White House) as a transitional residence in the weeks prior to their inauguration. Now, it’s a great location for viewing the inaugural parade: Many rooms at the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel look out onto Pennsylvania Avenue, with the parade passing right by its front door. You’ll need to book early, but ask for a room with a view of Pennsylvania Avenue for a prime look at our chief executive.
For an even more spacious experience, book one of the seven larger suites that overlook the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street Northwest. These rooms run about $2,800 per night and are extremely popular on Inauguration Day, as the new president’s parade passes right in front of the D.C. hotel and these rooms. Most are named for presidents, but the oval suite is especially interesting: Its living room is a large ellipse, with a semi-circle of windows overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue.
Another ideal time to visit the D.C. hotel is during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, running from mid-March through April each year. In 1912, Japan presented the United States with a gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees, which remain a national treasure as they bathe the National Mall in pale pink for several weeks and signal the arrival of spring in the capital. The city teems with throngs of tourists and international visitors during this time, and there are daily art and cultural events throughout the city during the festival. The blossoms often open before the festival does and often don’t last through its finish, so arrive early in the month to see their pale glory. The usual green of the National Mall is transformed into a candy-colored spectacle that is perfect for a long walk or leisurely bike ride using the ride-and-drop Capital Bikeshare rental system.
The Willard hosts a special afternoon tea during the festival. This event is held in Peacock Alley, a long, ornate hallway just off the lobby that is outfitted with rich, burgundy carpet, marble tables and yellow gold fixtures. (Tea is offered Friday to Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., and costs $39.)
Visit Willard InterContinental in the winter for the holiday décor in our lobby, the spring for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, the summer for the Fourth of July festivities and outdoor enjoyment of our national parks, and the fall for the foliage and outdoor cafés.