The 10 Best Hotels in Washington, D.C.

No matter your political party or your price point, you can find an appealing place to stay in the nation’s capital.

Tan- and cream-colored guest room at Eaton DC, with red, blue, and white patterned rug; shelves and TV at left

The guest rooms at Eaton DC were designed to impart a down-to-earth vibe with midcentury influences.

Courtesy of Eaton Workshop

Washington, D.C. is an ideal city for a weekend getaway—each block is dense with history, art, and culture, enough to prompt hours-long, head-tipped-up strolls gawking at it all. In recent years, newly (re)developed neighborhoods like the Navy Yard and the Wharf have emerged; here, cutting-edge restaurants and contemporary hotels have established themselves as local hubs for change-makers. Whether this is your first or 15th visit to the nation’s capital, whether you want timeless elegance or a rush of youthful energy, AFAR’s Hotels We Love list of 10 of the best properties in Washington, D.C—listed in no particular order—will serve you well.

Conrad Washington D.C.

Spacious sitting room of Diplomat Suite at the Conrad Washington, D.C., with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Diplomat Suite of the Conrad Washington, D.C. has a spacious sitting room with a fireplace, fit for tête-à-tête.

Courtesy of the Conrad Washington, D.C.

  • Where: CityCenter DC
  • Why we love it: Its soaring atrium and eco-conscious habits
  • Loyalty: Hilton
  • Book now

The sleek Conrad—one of AFAR’s best new hotels of 2020—is the antithesis of a stuffy old Beltway hotel. Built as part of the new CityCenterDC development, the Conrad was designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. The hotel has 360 serene guest rooms and 32 suites, all with floor-to-ceiling windows, some with views of the Capitol dome. A central atrium fills the lobby with natural light, and art installations encourage guests to stop and reflect.

Sustainability is also front of mind at the Conrad. It achieved LEED Gold Certification with smart choices like a vegetated rooftop that filters and recycles rainwater, which is then used for the hotel’s cooling towers and air conditioning (an essential in D.C.’s steamy summers). Meanwhile, the third-floor terraces offer green spaces for hotel guests and restaurantgoers to relax; the kitchens also partner with Builder’s Inc, a food donation center, to donate leftover packaged goods, frozen foods, and ready-to-eat food. From $411.

Dupont Circle Hotel

Pops of color and an indoor/outdoor balcony make this Dupont Circle Penthouse Suite a memorable one.

Pops of color and an indoor/outdoor balcony make this Dupont Circle Penthouse Suite a memorable one.

Courtesy of the Dupont Circle Hotel

  • Where: Dupont Circle
  • Why we love it: Its recently renovated—and thoroughly stylish—lobby, bar, and restaurant attract the best and brightest
  • Loyalty: I Prefer (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
  • Book now

Fortunes and friendships change quickly in D.C., but leafy Dupont Circle Hotel, home to independent restaurants, shops, and markets, has yet to go out of style. Set right on the circle itself, the eponymous hotel assumes a place of pride. Within, the site’s Martin Brudnizki–designed restaurant, the Pembroke—with its plush velvet banquettes, marble tables, panoramic windows, and expansive outdoor terrace—has birthed a scene. Everyone from tony locals to visiting diplomats gather here (Embassy Row is around the corner). The Pembroke menu nods to D.C.’s mid-Atlantic heritage, with memorable Maryland crab cakes and fried green tomato burrata, while the walnut-and-brass-clad Doyle is a whiskey bar fit for Ireland (home base of the Doyle Collection).

The 327 sleek guest rooms take similar advantage of their surroundings, most with large windows overlooking the circle. Upstairs, the Rooftop Floor was recently transformed by Irish design team Clodagh to include an elaborate penthouse and 13 other suites with enormous heated terraces overlooking the Washington Monument. Clodagh also redesigned the lobby, which is exclusive to guests and features the look and feel of a high-end apartment, thanks to details like a cozy fireplace and a look-through bookcase with brass accents. Best of all, though, is the feeling of walking out the front door in the morning and knowing that the capital is at your doorstep. From $293.

Eaton D.C.

A guest room at Eaton DC

A guest room at Eaton DC

Courtesy of Eaton DC

  • Where: Downtown
  • Why we love it: A socially conscious spot that connects like-minded travelers
  • Loyalty: Brilliant by Langham
  • Book now

Founded by third-generation hotelier Katherine Lo (her family runs the Hong Kong–based Langham luxury hotel group), Eaton DC aims to bring together travelers, locals, and members who share a like-minded sensibility—namely, one centered on creativity, awareness, and making change. As with Eaton’s Hong Kong location, the D.C. outpost—the first in the USA—fosters new ideas by providing private and communal working spaces, areas designed to inspire connection and conversation, and a regular calendar of programming. Eaton Radio, the hotel’s own community radio station, is particularly cool with its underground music and talk shows.

Those checking in amid all this buzz can choose from five comfortable room categories, from cabins to suites (also, conveniently, pet friendly). All have a “global nomad” vibe, with colorful textile accents, Himalayan salt lamps, and organic cotton-and-latex pillow-top mattresses, along with Grown Alchemist bath products, health-centric mini-bars, Bluetooth speakers, and record players. Once settled in, gather with others at Michele’s by chef Matt Baker, rooftop bar Wild Days, and speakeasy Allegory, known for its sustainable mixology. Enjoy wellness treatments and classes (from massage and sound baths to Reiki and yoga), or do whatever else helps spark your imagination. From $261.


Beige guest room at the Hay-Adams, with wingback chairs, canopy beds, bas-relief ceiling, and ceiling-to-floor curtains at window

A guest room at the Hay-Adams

Courtesy of the Hay-Adams

  • Where: Lafayette Square
  • Why we love it: Classic Old World charm overlooking the White House
  • Loyalty: Leaders Club (Leading Hotels of the World)
  • Book now

Not everyone gets to live across the street from the White House. Before the current Italian Renaissance–style hotel was constructed in 1927, the prime real estate where the Hay-Adams sits was occupied by the homes of two little-known American icons: John Hay—personal secretary to Abraham Lincoln, ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Secretary of State under both William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt—and Henry Adams—Harvard professor and great-grandson of John Adams. Their houses were hubs of D.C. culture for decades at the turn of the 20th century, and so, when the Hay-Adams opened, it was only logical that the hotel would continue that tradition.

Everyone from Amelia Earhart to the Obamas has stayed in its handsome Old World rooms: among them, 124 guest rooms and 21 suites overlooking historic Lafayette Square and the White House beyond. The hotel is known for its discreet and comprehensive, no-questions-asked service. Should guests need a ride to one of the District’s many important meetings, the house Mercedes drops off anywhere downtown, guaranteeing a first impression worthy of a luminary. Though if you need to bring the meeting to the Top of the Hay—a series of five meeting rooms and full-service rooftop kitchen overlooking the D.C. skyline—no Beltway insiders will mind. From $499.

Pendry Washington D.C.

White guest room at the Pendry Washington D.C., with a four-poster bed and framed artwork

A guest room at the Pendry Washington D.C.

Courtesy of the Pendry Washington D.C.

  • Where: The Wharf
  • Why we love it: Family-friendly hotel with a prime location on the Potomac River
  • Book now

Those traveling with kids in D.C. should make the Wharf—and within it, the Pendry—their base. As one of the city’s newest lifestyle-focused neighborhoods, the Wharf is a walkable stretch of waterfront with marina access and a number of restaurants, bars, and activities to choose from. Want s’mores kits from an on-site Airstream? An arcade and thin-crust pizzas? Doughnuts and falafels and oysters and Cuban cafés and Irish pubs? Maybe not all at once, but yes! Find them here.

Bringing an extra dose of luxury to the development was the new-in-2022 Pendry hotel, the seventh property in the lifestyle brand’s portfolio. With 131 guest rooms and 38 suites—and an outdoor (heated) pool, a rare amenity in D.C.—the Pendry feels like a refuge from the day’s sightseeing. The design is sophisticated minimalism, with large picture windows (many rooms have river views). Enjoy a salt-scrub-and-hot-stone massage at the Spa Pendry and a Latin American–inspired meal at Flora Flora, followed by a cocktail (and perhaps a little intrigue after the kids go to bed) at the moody Bar Pendry. From $457.

Riggs Washington D.C.

A guest room with hardwood floors, a white duvet-topped bed, marble-patterned wallpaper, and rusty orange–colored drapes.

A guest room at the Riggs Washington D.C.

Courtesy of the Riggs Washington D.C.

  • Where: Penn Quarter
  • Why we love it: A contemporary hotel rich in history, with amenities so stylish, you’ll want to take the bathrobe home
  • Loyalty: I Prefer (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
  • Book now

This transformation of the historic and stately National Bank into the Riggs hotel is nearly miraculous. The new entity manages to honor the grandeur of the Romanesque revival building without the chill factor that could have resulted from all those hard marble surfaces. Instead, the landmarked building retains some iconic bank fixtures like coffered and barrel-vaulted ceilings and modified teller windows at reception, but leavens everything with a touch of whimsy: An extravagant floral display introduces color, plush seating and theater-worthy curtains introduce texture, and the lively sounds of silverware and laughter from the all-day Cafe Riggs break the solemn hush. The café has become a popular gathering spot to enjoy items ranging from morning açaí bowls and cardamom buns to late-night steak frites.

The bank’s basement vault has been repurposed into a stunning cocktail bar, Silver Lyan, which prides itself on unusual ingredients and thoughtful preparations. (The Project Apollo, a gin sour, uses freeze-dried pineapple, the first fruit sent on the Apollo missions.) Upstairs, guest rooms feature stylishly hued soft furnishings by Voutsa. Four suites, named for four first ladies, are decorated with elements that reflect their interests. For instance, you’ll find a baby grand piano in the suite named for music lover Louisa Adams, and a plethora of flower-print fabrics in the rooms dedicated to Ida McKinley. The yin/yang play of the Riggs—where soft is juxtaposed with hard, pretty with austere, cool with warm—mirrors a city where impulses often waver between heartfelt public service and chilly ambition. From $359.

Rosewood Washington D.C.

Light gray guest room at the Rosewood Washington D.C. , with large black-and-white photos, carpeted floor, and large flat screen TV.

A townhome bedroom at the Rosewood Washington D.C.

Courtesy of Rosewood Washington D.C.

  • Where: Georgetown
  • Why we love it: Stately townhouses in the heart of a university ‘hood
  • Book now

Georgetown is its own world of federal-style architecture and cobblestone streets, where university students huddle over free Wi-Fi in coffee shops. A bike path runs along the C&O Canal, and along that path sits Rosewood Washington D.C.—a 1960s red-brick office building reborn in 2013 as a hotel, with 49 rooms and suites, 6 individual townhouses, a rooftop pool, and a fitness center. The four-story, 1,000-square-foot townhouses sleep up to four (with connecting townhouses available) and come with all the trappings of home, but way nicer: Bosch washer/dryer, Toto toilet and heated marble floors, and daily housekeeping and turndown service.

Rosewood took over in 2016, bringing its attention to detail—hand-upholstered furniture, silk curtains, eclectic artwork in each room—and a commitment to local experiences. The hotel’s culture calendar includes champagne and caviar dinners at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut restaurant and guided tours during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Meanwhile, Georgetown University’s main campus is a 10-minute walk away. From $650.

Thompson Washington D.C.

A large guest room at the Thompson Washington, D.C., with hardwood floors and big windows with gray drapes

A guest room at the Thompson Washington, D.C.

Courtesy of Thompson Washington, D.C.

  • Where: Navy Yard
  • Why we love it: Those rooftop views and chic industrial vibe
  • Loyalty: World of Hyatt
  • Book now

The Thompson, which opened in early 2020, fits comfortably in the Navy Yard, a colonial-era neighborhood that’s enjoying a renaissance. Set within home-run distance of Nationals Park baseball stadium, the hotel offers views of both the Anacostia River and the city. Expect lots of crisp navy-blue details and nautical curves on walls and furniture (the interior design has a hint of the neighborhood’s history as a port for shipping and shipbuilding). You’ll also see elements that reflect the area’s industrial vibe, like lofty ceilings and tall, metal-paned windows in guest rooms and public spaces.

On the ground floor, the seafood-focused Danny Meyer trattoria, Maialino Mare, which shut in 2022, has been replaced by an American supper club called Surveyor—though the Rooftop at Thompson has become the hotel’s hallmark. Its floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive outdoor terrace have made it a year-round go-to spot for sundowners overlooking the river. As part of its Culture Lives Here campaign, the hotel has teamed with D.C. fashion entrepreneur Aaron Crist, proprietor of Hyde Closet, for personalized styling for guests, be it an outfit or an “unlimited” plan for the length of your stay. From $307.

Waldorf Astoria Washington, D.C.

Courtyard lobby of Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C., located in a former post office, with blue and gray seating

The Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C. is located in a former post office.

Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C.

  • Where: Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Why we love it: It’s not a Trump hotel anymore!
  • Loyalty: Hilton Honors
  • Book now

What a turn of tides for the former Trump hotel: Acquired by a Miami-based investment company for $375 million in 2021, then leased to Hilton, the Old Post Office Building is now a Waldorf Astoria. Gone are the omnipresent protestors; in their place are flocks of business travelers lingering over coffee and actual newspapers in Peacock Alley, a gilded grand atrium with tufted banquettes and soothing natural light.

The 263 guest rooms and suites are truly sumptuous, with softly lit chandeliers and ornate frames surrounding sink-in king-size beds. The on-site spa has six treatment rooms, a Himalayan salt therapy room, and a relaxation area with secluded resting cocoons. Everything seems a bit more peaceful around here these days. From $709.

Willard InterContinental D.C.

Peacock Alley, where tea takes place at the Willard, with ornate patterned carpeting and wingback chairs

Willard InterContinental D.C. also has a Peacock Alley, the site of afternoon tea.

Courtesy of the Willard InterContinental D.C.

  • Where: Pershing Park
  • Why we love it: Its 200-year legacy (and afternoon tea)
  • Loyalty: IHG
  • Book now

The Willard has quite the history, dating back to before the American Civil War, when it was Willard’s City Hotel and the home of sitting presidents (Franklin Pierce) and later vice presidents (Calvin Coolidge). As legend goes, President Ulysses S. Grant coined the word “lobbyist” here, naming the hustlers who bothered him while he enjoyed a cigar and brandy in the Willard’s lobby. In 1901, the brick building was torn down and replaced with the Beaux-Arts–style hotel that stands today, where it remains an icon on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nowadays, the Willard InterContinental is less the backup White House and more kid- and pet-friendly, with classic rooms and suites in navy, ivory, and gray, a French brasserie, and a lovely afternoon tea. The robust Kids’ Concierge program (ages 11 and under) gives younger guests the chance to earn “Duck Bucks” to be redeemed at Le Café inside Café du Parc. From $631.

Prior reporting by Julia Cosgrove, Christian Mirasol, Ann Shields, Devorah Lev-Tov, and Sandra Ramani. Prices are for a nonholiday weekend in May.

Laura Dannen Redman is Afar’s editor at large. She’s an award-winning journalist who can’t sit still and has called Singapore, Seattle, Australia, Boston, and the Jersey Shore home. She’s based in Brooklyn with her equally travel-happy husband and daughters.
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