What are the best hotels in Washington D.C.?

Answers from Our Experts (3)

While Washington D.C. is home to heated political arguments — after all, it's the nationl's capital — there's no room for debate when it comes to the fact that the city has a plethora of luxury hotels to choose from. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. is The Ritz at its finest: classic décor, luxurious amenities, comfortable rooms and an attentive staff. Standout amenities include access to a nearby full-service spa, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center and the popular Westend Bistro.

For a not-so-traditional Ritz-Carlton experience, head to the brand’s sister property, The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown. The 86-room hotel occupies a former public incinerator building along the Potomac River, maintaining much of the original architecture, including a 130-foot smokestack. The rooms are more modern than those at the West End hotel, but you can expect the same top-rate service and attention to detail.

The Hay-Adams and The Jefferson, Washington, D.C. are good choices if you fancy yourself a history buff. The former is named after John Hay, Abraham Lincoln’s private assistant and later secretary of state under William McKinley, and Henry Adams, author and descendent of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

The nearby Jefferson hotel pays homage to Thomas Jefferson, with documents he signed decorating the hallway and tomes he owned filling the mahogany Book Room. Even Plume, the hotel’s ultra-formal restaurant, caters to Jeffersonian tastes: A 1,500-bottle wine cellar houses the former president’s favorite varieties.

The swanky Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. is just blocks from the National Mall — ground zero for some of D.C.’s most popular sites and museums. The hotel’s restaurants, Sou’Wester and CityZen, are musts, too; the former, a Southern-style kitchen, turns out mouth-watering hushpuppies and delicious pies. The latter offers excellent contemporary American cooking.

Four Seasons Hotel Washington D.C. is a fixture of D.C.’s popular Georgetown neighborhood. Renovated in 2009, it features guest rooms replete with luxe touches — extra-deep soaking tubs, marble bathrooms, feather-topped mattresses — and superior amenities such as a three-story fitness center with a two-lane saltwater lap pool. The onsite restaurant Bourbon Steak came on as part of the renovation. The fourth outpost of celebrity chef Michael Mina’s steak-house chain, it serves up some of the best cuts in the city.

The palatial St. Regis, Washington D.C. is just blocks from the White House, so it’s no surprise that countless presidents, including Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan, are counted among former A-list guests. And master chef Alain Ducasse helms Adour at St. Regis, a French restaurant that crafts local, seasonal dishes like a playful “BLT” with glazed pork belly, braised lettuce and tomato jam.

Willard InterContinental — otherwise known as the "Residence of the Presidents" — played host to numerous presidents-elect before their inauguration in years past, but it hasn't lost its historical charm. The hotel's Round Robin & Scotch Bar serves as the site where Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman downed a libation or two, and an onsite Red Door Spa boasts Four-Star status.

The eight-story Fairfax at Embassy Row oozes 1920s allure with its country club aesthetic (think manicured grounds, a wood-paneled lobby and classic paintings). Located in the city's Dupont Circle, you're within walking distance to many of D.C.'s embassies — hence the hotel's name — and the Dupont area feels lively and residential. For a taste of political history, dine at the property's signature restaurant, the Jockey Club, which was frequented by Nancy Reagan and Jackie Kennedy back in the day.

W Washington D.C. is really cool. Hotel Palomar is great. Mandarin Oriental is pretty good.

McLean Robbins

Washington, D.C. is a city for hotel lovers. Not only is Washington home to several of the nation’s largest hotel brands (Marriott, Hilton and Choice are all headquartered in the D.C. area) but it is also a location for many of the country’s most scenic and luxurious properties. From the historic to the boutique, the high-end to the high-style, Washington’s hotel scene has much to draw a traveler.

When it comes to the best of the best, Forbes Travel Guide's only Five-Star hotel is Four Seasons, Washington, DC. For nearly three decades, the hotel has drawn well-heeled travelers to its impressive Georgetown location. Offering a large spa, ample meeting space, an enviable location and a signature Michael Mina restaurant (BOURBON Steak), the property is Washington living at its finest.

Other notable properties include two Ritz-Carlton hotels in D.C. proper (and two more in nearby Northern Virginia). The Georgetown hotel is intimate and boutique in feel, with under 100 total rooms, while the 22nd and M Street location is close to major businesses and draws a large meeting crowd.

On the historic front, guests seeking a rich taste of Washington’s past could consider The Fairfax on Embassy Row, the Hay-Adams, the Willard InterContinental, the St. Regis or The Jefferson.

For a waterfront escape, consider the Mandarin Oriental, the closest hotel to the national mall and monuments.

Those seeking more modern accommodations will love the Park Hyatt, designed by Tony Chi, or the trendy W Hotel near Metro Center downtown. 

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