Hotel Monaco

Housed in the original General Post Office building—which dates from 1839—Hotel Monaco blends in with its 19th century surroundings. In the center of the lively Penn Quarter district, it’s steps away from many museums, including the International Spy Museum next door.

As a Kimpton brand hotel, it has a theme: “Where History Stays in Style.” This stems from the Greek Revival building’s history; the cornerstone laying was overseen by Robert Mills, the architect who designed the Washington Monument and Capitol building.

The building didn’t become Hotel Monaco until 2002, after its insides were renovated to a more energetic, fresh sort of history. Although the outside is marble and elegant, the inside is whimsical and colorful. The lobby features oversized couch cushions, green tinted chandeliers, black-and-white-patterned curtains, and presidential busts on the coffee tables. The feel is a bright, kitschy, and European.

There is nothing boxy or standard about the rooms, which feel quite regal except for the wild prints. The ceilings are very high—the hotel is near the Verizon Center, which hosts NBA basketball games. An oversized armoire has plenty of room for clothing; it also houses a five-disc CD player, television, and refrigerator. It’s topped—notice the theme—by a bust.

Post Restaurant and Bar extends back long and thin, with an exhibition kitchen and a greenhouse-like seating area. An outdoor patio overlooks a courtyard where the chef grows some ingredients.

Insider Tip: Want some company during your stay? You can request a companion goldfish to be delivered to your room. For other deals and perks, check out the Kimpton InTouch Guest Loyalty program online, where you can get free room Wifi, complimentary breakfasts, and free evening wine receptions, and where you can set your preferences for stays at any Kimpton hotel. It’s free to sign up.

Room amenities include “tall rooms” offering 90-inch king-sized beds and higher showerheads, terrycloth robes, Keilhauer task chair, a desk work area, five-disc CD player, fully stocked honor bar, a flat-panel television, MP3/CD alarm clock, and in-room spa services. The hotel also features valet/laundry service, concierge, free morning coffee service from 6 to 10 am in lobby, 24-hour room service, 24-hour business center, complimentary daily newspaper upon request, and complimentary 24-hour fitness center including cardio equipment and free weight.

Hotel Monaco is also kid-friendly; check out Kimpton Kids.

Check out nearby Penn Quarter, which is home to the International Spy Museum, ESPN Zone, Ford’s Theatre, Warner Theater, National Theater, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Old Post Office Building, Ronald Reagan Building, National Mall, White House, Smithsonian Museums, and the Verizon Center.