Eloise had the Plaza. Washingtonians have the Willard InterContinental Hotel (1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-628-9100), a grande dame that's especially dazzling in its holiday finery with a gingerbread snow village, yards of greenery, and a glittering Christmas tree in the lobby.
Old World elegance–high ceilings, oak paneling, crystal chandeliers–is what the Willard Room restaurant is all about. From December 11 through 23, it puts on elaborate Nutcracker dinners in tandem with performances of the Tchaikovsky ballet at the Warner Theatre a block away. Dinners are $45 for adults and $28 for children.
Washingtonian staff contributing to this section were Chuck Conconi, Sherri Dalphonse, Susan Davidson, Mary Clare Fleury, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Stephanie Jones, Ann Limpert, Drew Lindsay, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Jeremy Stahl. Also contributing were writers Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Jenny Sullivan.