A city crammed with ambitious young staffers willing to slave away for long hours in hopes of shaping the country, Washington is a place that works hard and plays hard. One of the newest additions to its burgeoning boutique hotel scene, the Graham—its name a tribute to inventor Alexander Graham Bell—honors that tradition in retro-inflected style. Its rooftop bar is the only one of its kind in Georgetown, a glam scene where the beautiful and powerful come out to play against the backdrop of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial. The sultry downstairs restaurant–cocktail bar plays on the neighborhood’s historic aesthetic and the Mid-Atlantic region’s cuisine to attract discerning locals and visiting lobbyists. Rooms—mostly suites, of course—are pleasantly trendier than the District is used to, but bold pops of color and midcentury-inspired lines are balanced out by patterned wallpaper and elegant marble bathrooms that add a familiar dose of homey Southern style. Throw in a just-off-M-Street location, and the Graham just might be the quintessential Georgetown hotel.
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Just south of Georgetown’s bustling shopping destination, M Street, the Graham has the good fortune of sitting within walking distance of all the neighborhood’s coolest spots while simultaneously being hidden away on one of its quiet and picturesque cobbled streets. The historic C&O Canal (in which George Washington was an investor) is just down the block—perfect for sunny morning strolls with coffee and a pastry from local favorite Baked and Wired. M Street and Wisconsin Avenue are lined with more than enough high-end boutiques and popular restaurants, such as Cady’s Alley and Unum, respectively. The neighborhood is also home to such lesser-known sites as the historic Dumbarton Oaks estate, and the attractions of Dupont Circle are only a quick cab ride away.
Need to Know
Rooms: 57 rooms, 30 suites. From $329. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Taking its name from the inventor of the telephone and its design cues from Steam Punk style—think brass piping, exposed brick, and velvet and leather seating—the Alex is a moody craft cocktail bar with Southern-inflected bar bites by night, and a languid breakfast spot by morning. Georgetown’s only public rooftop bar, the see-and-be-seen Observatory, open seasonally, pairs a curated drink list and panoramic views of the monuments with a who’s who of D.C.’s wealthy, attractive, and powerful. Spa and gym details: The hotel has a small but modern gym open 24 hours daily. There’s no spa, but the in-room L’Occitane toiletries and marble bathrooms can do in a pinch.
Who's it best for: Political scenesters on the make, young D.C. socialites, and preppy couples. Our favorite rooms: The Frank Sinatra Suite, a specialty junior suite, not only has an extra-large marble bathroom with soaking tub, but also a 400-square-foot private deck. Corner rooms 605 and 705 both have two walls of windows and an oversized white marble bathroom accessed via sliding barn doors. Sweeping views: At Georgetown’s hottest bar, take advantage of your privileged guest status to stake out the table with the best views of the Potomac and the monuments. The Observatory takes reservations, and also offers specialty cigars, for celebratory get-togethers.