The Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson buffs—or those who just want to stay in a deluxe hotel in downtown DC—will appreciate the Jefferson. First opened in 1923, the hotel underwent a top-to-bottom renovation and reopened in 2009. The detailed foyer ceiling and the small elevators are among the original features; a skylight above the breakfast room, the Greenhouse, was uncovered during restoration.

This is a top choice for history lovers: Original Jefferson-signed documents hang framed on hallway walls, and leather-bound volumes in the mahogany Book Room either belonged to Jefferson or are on subjects he favored. History can also be found in the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, Plume, which features a panorama of Jefferson’s Charlottesville home, Monticello, on the hand-painted silk walls. Plume also has a wine cellar private dining area, whose bottle collection hovers around 1,500 labels—all Jefferson’s taste, of course—with the oldest dating back to 1780.

The main floor has assorted private nooks, fireplaces, and plush leather furniture, seeming more like a wealthy friend’s home than a hotel. A neat surprise is the glowing orange, blown-glass bar in the lounge, Quill. The lounge also has a piano player Tuesday through Saturday.

The extravagant guest rooms are inspired by Jefferson’s time in Paris, with color schemes of either green, gold, or platinum. Both the standard rooms and the suites have marble bathrooms, large writing desks, and 17-inch televisions in the bathroom mirrors. The suites all have a foyer/parlor/bedroom/bathroom layout, and include details such as bedside books and hand-drawn tulle on the headboards. Also available in some suites: in-room spa services. This is a top romantic hotel, with very attentive service.

Room amenities: Daily housekeeping and turndown service, complimentary local and long-distance phone calls, Bose Wave radios and CD players with iPod docking stations, handcrafted chandeliers, Italian marble bathroom, velvet couches, writing desk with data and electrical connections, 17-inch TVs in bathroom mirrors, make-up mirror

Other amenities: Dining options include the Greenhouse breakfast room, fine-dining restaurant Plume, and Quill lounge; salon and luxe spa with treatments based on botanicals in the Monticello gardens; 24-hour fitness room with televisions and headphones; afternoon tea; 24-hour business center; 24-hour butler service; laundry/dry-cleaning; complimentary shoe shine; complimentary long distance calls; complimentary pressing of one garment.