The Hay-Adams Hotel

Many guests book the Hay-Adams for its view. It’s the closest hotel to the White House, just across Lafayette Square from the President’s front yard. A rooftop terrace offers tremendous views for private events, but guests can also book rooms with a view. Luxury rooms overlook the White House, and deluxe rooms overlook the gold-capped St. John’s church across 16th.

The Hay-Adams acquired its name from John Hays and Henry Adams, both of whom had residences on this property before it became a hotel in 1928. The hotel has tried to keep the residential feel, even after a recent restoration; when you enter, it does feel like an elegant living room. Its gold and oak lobby is sophisticated, but there is still a jar of homemade cookies on the check-in desk.

The vibe is prim and proper. They are no brochure racks or other touristy things, and much of the clientele base is returners. The 144-room hotel is conservative but intimate.

The elegance extends to the guest rooms, with luxe beds and a decor by celebrated Washington designer Thomas Pheasant. Some rooms also have balconies, and some of the deluxe rooms that overlook St. John’s have ornamental fireplaces. Guests can also request rooms with pull-out sofas.

Off the Record, the hotel’s basement bar, is regal, all red, and feels like a hideaway. Its bartender is a four-time winner of Washingtonian’s Best Bartender Award. Lafayette restaurant off the lobby serves all three meals and hosts live piano music each night.

Room amenities: Bose CD System, bath amenities, goosedown duvet and pillow, bathrobes and slippers, iron and ironing board, hair dryer and make-up mirror, umbrella, assorted children’s board games

Additional amenities: Complimentary fitness center, complimentary morning newspaper, concierge, complimentary morning towncar for local transportation (request through concierge), 24-hour complimentary business center 

Things nearby: The White House, Decatur House Museum, Renwick Gallery