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The Willard InterContinental
1401 Pennsylvania Ave. (Downtown)
(1) 202-628-9100 | washington.intercontinental.com
FOODCafe du Parc - French bistro, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Occidental Grill and Seafood - historic, serves lunch and dinner; 24-hour room service
DRINKRound Robin Bar - legendary scotch bar frequented by politicos; Peacock Alley - lavish afternoon tea
ROOMSNeutral cream and dark wood decor; spacious; marble baths
PRICE (STANDARD DOUBLE)USD 399
YEAR OPENED1850s (renovated in 2012)
# OF ROOMS335
CONNECTIVITYYes - Wi-Fi available
GYMYes - available 24 hours
SPAYes - Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa
With a primo location just two blocks from the White House and a reputation for splendid luxury, it’s no surprise that The Willard has been hosting a who’s who of notable personalities (from Abe Lincoln to P.T. Barnum to Martin Luther King, Jr.) since it first opened its doors in the 1850s. The current property dates to 1901, and it underwent large-scale renovations in the 1980s (when it became an InterContinental property) and in 2008-12. The opulent lobby, with its marble columns, historic wood carvings, tiered crystal chandeliers, and gilded mirrors, evokes a sense of grandeur and history (fitting for a building on the National Register of Historic Landmarks). Still, that doesn’t seem to have stopped the cream of Washington’s diplomats, politicians, and journalists from packing in – the public spaces are awash with important-looking suited types sealing deals.
GO HERE WITH
History buffs; dignitaries or political insiders; colleagues
WHY WE LIKE IT
The historic atmosphere, especially in the public spaces, is very cool (beyond the gilded grandeur, we love the little touches like the old-fashioned pigeon-hole boxes at the concierge desk), and the service is outstanding (most of the concierge staff are members of Les Clefs d’Or). Though the focus is definitely on business travelers (the business services are incredible), this is a decent base for sightseeing too – not only is the property itself a “sight,” but the National Mall is not far away. Also, though guest rooms are rather bland, they are unquestionably plush, and many offer great views of Pennsylvania Avenue or the monuments.
AMENITY WE LOVE
Round Robin & Scotch Bar – it’s a legend on the DC scene and not to be missed. (Though the Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa and high tea in Peacock Alley are great too.)
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The neighborhood is quiet after office hours; if you’re not dining/drinking on site or at one of the neighboring hotels (like the W), then you’ll have to take a taxi to get to hotspots like Georgetown or Dupont Circle.
GOOD TO KNOW
The business services are fab. Besides the well-stocked business center (which offers printing, shipping, faxing, shredding, binding, desktop publishing, and cell phone rental, among other things), temporary office space and professional-grade office equipment is available at Carr WorkSpaces next door, and there’s 22,000 square feet of event space too. Valet parking is USD 39/night. More history for you: The Willard has hosted every president since Franklin Pierce, Martin Luther King penned his “I Have a Dream” speech here, and many scenes of Minority Report were filmed here.
The Hay-Adams (Washington, DC)
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The Willard InterContinental lobby
JosephLeonardo on Flickr Creative Commons
The Willard InterContinental lobby 2
The Willard InterContinental lobby 3