InterContinental The Willard Washington, D.C.
An Unflappable Legend
What it is
Among the most storied hotels in the nation, with 335 rooms and an afternoon tea service beloved since the 1920s.
What it isn't
Cramped. “Historic hotel” often translates to “made for the smaller people of yore,” but these are some of the largest in D.C., ranging from 325 to 2,500 square feet.
What we think
Abraham Lincoln stayed at The Willard for ten days in 1861, before moving into a certain residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The original 1816 structure was dismissed in 1901 for a Beaux-Arts version, and the grandeur of that era lives on, from the Les Clefs D’Or concierge service to the French brasserie with a streetfront terrace (a la Paris). Guest rooms are plush enough for any politico in a palette of blue and white, with a marble shower, Nespresso machine and robe and slippers costume-ready for a night of raiding the mini bar. Couples in-the-know often book the Jenny Lind suite, where a marble-lined bathtub overlooks the Washington Monument through a circular window (cue romantic playlist, Alexa).
You're here because
You’re a history obsessive. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. edited his “I Have a Dream” speech in the lobby just before heading to the Lincoln Memorial;
Your dear friend Catherine Middleton isn’t suffering for travel recommendations, but after settling in at your linen-topped table in Peacock Alley for afternoon tea, you know you’ve got to text her posthaste. Is it the live harpist? The tiered tray adorned with Maryland crab salad sandwiches on brioche and bourbon vanilla and dried Maine blueberry scones? Or is it just the cranberry and elderflower cocktail you have a feeling she’ll love? It’s royal-worthy to a “tea.”
Restaurants & Bars
Cafe du Parc - Authentic French bistro
The Round Robin Bar - Lively meeting place
Peacock Alley - Afternoon tea served in an elegant setting
Le Bar - Evolving menu throughout the day—from coffee to wine
Two blocks east of The White House, four blocks west of Ford’s Theatre. The National Mall and umpteen Smithsonians are just a few minutes walk (insider tip: Smithsonians are open 365 days a year aside from Christmas; to avoid the usual crowds, pick another holiday and you’ll have them to yourself).