6 Best Boutique Hotels in Washington, D.C.
While big-brand hotels can be found throughout the capital, it's the city's quaint residential districts, from food-forward Columbia Heights to leafy Logan Circle, that cater to travelers seeking a more local take on Washington. Here are six D.C. boutique hotels we love, all big on style and under 100 rooms.
Rosewood Washington, D.C.
Along the charming C&O Canal in quiet Georgetown, Rosewood, Washington D.C. is all about privacy and restrained luxury. Instead of a public reception area, check-in occurs at a residential-style desk in the guests-only library, which is lined with D.C.-centric books and stocked with board games, coffee, and snacks. The hotel’s 37 spacious rooms, including 12 suites, evoke a sense of timeless elegance with their Frette bedding, tufted headboards, egg-shaped limestone tubs, and rich, glossy wood paneling. For the best view, bring your bathrobe to the rooftop, which has an infinity plunge pool overlooking Georgetown and the D.C. skyline. Don’t miss the canal-side Grill and Rye Bar and its impressive whiskey selection.
“It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness,” wrote third U.S. president Thomas Jefferson. Guests at The Jefferson, near Dupont Circle, will have no issues finding happiness in its 99—dare we say, splendid?—rooms, kitted out with cream tones, period accents, and marble bathrooms. For even more tranquility, book at a treatment at the hotel’s spa, which incorporates herbs and botanicals grown in Monticello’s gardens. The president’s famed estate also provided inspiration for Michelin-starred restaurant Plume, from the silk wallpaper depicting the estate to the menus that also take their cues from its historic kitchen gardens. At the hotel’s popular cocktail bar, Quill, things are decidedly more contemporary: it’s the only all-glass bar in the country.
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The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown
The factory-like brick exterior of The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown—smokestack included—harkens back to the building’s former life as an incinerator plant. More hints of the hotel’s unorthodox history can be found inside, including exposed brick walls throughout and the lobby's industrial-style fireplace. The 99 guest rooms, on the other hand, are classic Ritz. Expect sleek, contemporary design with soothing color palettes and 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens. The spa, fresh off a $1.5 million redo, features five zen-like treatment rooms and uses exclusive ESPA products. When guests and in-the-know locals get hungry, Degrees Bistro offers all-day dining and craft cocktails. JS Tip: Order the Ex-Pat, which is made with barrel-aged Bulleit rye that's been infused with chamomile, Campari, and Cinzano Rosso vermouth.
D.C.'s newest boutique, Hotel Hive, is geared towards style-minded travelers who have no desire for five-star frills (or the nightly rates that come with them). The 83 guest rooms at this Foggy Bottom micro-hotel max out at 250 square feet, but thoughtful design and good bones—high ceilings and large window frames come courtesy of the historic 1900s building—mean they never feel cramped. A focus on public areas also encourages guests to socialize, be it in various seating nooks, at the ground-floor &Pizza outpost and Hive Bar, or on the trendy rooftop, which has quickly become a hot local hangout.
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You couldn't ask for a more charming base than The Graham, which sits on a quiet Georgetown side street lined with two-story townhouses. Inside, 57 Art Deco-style rooms feature damask wallpaper, oversized bathrooms stocked with L’Occitane products, and lots of natural light courtesy of the Federalist-style building’s tall windows. The vibe continues at the lively rooftop, where a 3,000-square-foot bar offers the best view in Georgetown. The place to be on Saturdays, however, is at The Alex, the hotel's subterranean speakeasy where guests get cozy on Empire sofas to enjoy craft cocktails and live jazz. The bar's steampunk details— exposed brass ceiling pipes; crystal decanter light fixtures—are a not-so-subtle nod to the hotel’s namesake (and one-time Georgetown resident) Alexander Graham Bell.
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Kimpton Hotel Madera
Hotel Madera, in tony Dupont Circle, gives Kimpton loyalists an intimate resting pad in one of the capital’s most sought-after neighborhoods. Expect standard Kimpton amenities including animal-print robes and nightly wine hours as well as pops of color in guest rooms, which feature oversized geometric-print pillows, crimson headboards, and vibrant abstract art. Natural wood accents make appearances throughout the hotel—"madera" is Spanish for "wood"—but nowhere as prominently as Firefly, the hotel’s restaurant and cocktail bar centered around a lantern-lit tree trunk. Its seasonal menu—which might include charred shishito peppers with juniper and kumquat or house-rolled pasta with mushroom and tomato—incorporates produce grown on Hotel Madera’s 11th-floor rooftop.
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