In a city that takes itself so seriously—running the United States is an intense business, after all—the Hotel Madera is a breath of fresh air. Just a couple of leafy blocks from always-lively Dupont Circle, the Kimpton-run boutique hotel looks like a 1960s apartment building on the outside, belying interiors adorned in colorful, batik-inspired fabrics and perks like in-room yoga mats and free nightcaps. In other words, the Madera is the kind of place where you relax. The laid-back and trendy restaurant takes its design cues from a fairy-tale forest, and pets are as catered to as children and bachelorette groups. It’s hard to beat the Dupont Circle location, too, which puts the White House, the Kennedy Center, and trendy neighborhoods like Logan Circle and U Street all within throwing distance. No, it’s not the fanciest stay in town, but D.C. doesn’t need another fussy hotel to attract visiting dignitaries—and you’ll have more fun at the Madera, anyway.
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On a tree-lined street in always-cool Dupont Circle, just a couple blocks off the circle itself, the Hotel Madera is around the corner from practically everything. Embassy Row, with its stately mansions, is just up the street, as are the Phillips Collection and Heurich House Museum. The neighborhood is full of excellent restaurants, such as Pizzeria Paradiso, Little Serow, and the Tabard Inn. The local farmers' market is the best in the city, a Sunday morning staple. As if that weren’t enough, trendy Logan Circle, U Street, and the 14th Street Corridor are just a quick walk away, and the National Mall and the monuments only a slightly longer walk to the south. The Dupont Circle metro stop is also a couple blocks away, putting the entire city within easy reach.
Need to Know
Rooms: 82 rooms. From $139. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Sleek and whimsical, with an enchanted forest aesthetic defined by a lantern-adorned, man-made tree trunk in the center of the dining room, Firefly serves New American favorites with locally sourced ingredients to a lively local crowd for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The bar area is especially popular at happy hour, when $7 craft cocktails and deals on gourmet bites attract a young after-work scene. Room service is available from the restaurant’s kitchen when the restaurant is open. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a spa nor a gym, but in-room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged through the concierge, and Public bicycles are available to borrow for cruising around the city and along the paths in Rock Creek Park. Each bedroom also comes equipped with a Gaiam yoga mat.
Who's it best for: Families, girlfriends on getaways, and anyone who appreciates affordable style. Our favorite rooms: Many of the Queen Queen and King Deluxe Rooms have private balconies overlooking leafy New Hampshire Avenue, with views of Dupont Circle and the historic Heurich House Museum. The four Bunk Bed Rooms, which sleep up to eight people, are ideal for families or groups of friends. Complimentary sips: In addition to free tea and coffee in the guests-only living room each morning, and a free wine hour each evening, the hotel offers a nightcap and sweet treats for guests nightly from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m.