Best of Washington: Behind the Velvet Ropes

Insiders say Ismail Naskai, here on the rooftop terrace of the Hay-Adams, is the go-to guy for seeing the town like a VIP.
Photograph by Vincent Ricardel.
Insiders say Ismail Naskai, here on the rooftop terrace of the Hay-Adams, is the go-to guy for seeing the town like a VIP. Photograph by Vincent Ricardel.

You have to be an A-list celebrity to get after-hours access to most of the museums in Washington. One exception is the International Spy Museum, which will let you have the run of the place—for a price. Private tours start at $2,600 for groups of up to 50. The museum can also arrange scavenger hunts or dinner with retired CIA and KGB agents. 800 F St., NW; 202-393-7798; spymuseum.org.

Another way to get VIP treatment: Call Ismail. Concierges at DC’s swankiest hotels say private tour guide Ismail Naskai is the best in town. An independent operator who drives a Lincoln Town Car, Naskai charges $125 an hour and tailors tours to clients’ interests. He knows every shortcut and side door and makes sure that guests never wait in long lines. For repeat customers, he’ll do extra legwork to get into locations that are otherwise off-limits. Says one concierge: “He makes miracles happen.” 202-345-1627.

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