The Hay Adams
Given the golden-ticket location of The Hay-Adams, lesser properties could be tempted to relax standards, knowing the unparalleled panorama that takes in the White House, the Washington Monument, and Jefferson Memorial would be enough to sell rooms. The Hay-Adams, though, has created a hotel worthy of its place amid the nation’s monuments: beautiful, small, discreet, attentive. Entering the hotel from the busy heart of D.C., guests are met with the perfume of the generous floral arrangement that takes center stage in the wood-paneled lobby. From your first interaction with the staff (241 strong for just 140 guest rooms), it becomes clear that you are in the hands of professionals and your ease and comfort is their business and pride. You have arrived. The Hay-Adams was built in 1928 on the site of two grand and historic houses, those of John Hay—President Lincoln’s private secretary and later Secretary of State under McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt—and writer Henry Adams, himself descended from the two President Adams. (The friends’ adjoining houses shared a basement library!) In 2001, the hotel underwent a $20 million overhaul and while the elegance of the Italianate original was retained, modern amenities and comforts keep it from feeling tired or overly “historic.” It’s not hard to find history in Washington, of course; a short walk in any direction from the hotel can take you to world-class museums and landmarks of American culture. But guests could be forgiven for wanting to linger in the dreamy guest rooms at the Hay-Adams, cosseted by the fresh flowers, Etro toiletries, ornamental ceilings, and luscious Italian bed linens, and enjoying views that stretch all the way to the Potomac.
By Andrea Pardo, AFAR Staff
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Guest Rooms at the Hay-Adams
Entering these elegant guest rooms, with their high plaster-ornamented ceilings and palette of creamy whites, feels like entering some private and pillow-y version of the grand white-marble architecture so prevalent in Washington. The classical décor of the Hay-Adams captures the grandeur of the great monuments without the detached coolness of all that hard stone, instead ushering comfort and romance into the mix. The generous windows frame views of either Lafayette Square with the White House and Washington Monument in the background, or the brightly painted landmark St. John’s Church across 16th Street. Silky bed linens, lofty comforters, Etro toiletries, and the services of an exceptional housekeeping staff boost the comfort quotient to a level that may not only spoil guests for other hotels but may make going home a bit painful.
By Ann Shields, AFAR Staff
800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA