On our way to a friend’s wedding in northern Virginia, my fiancé and I capitalized on a couple of free days to explore Washington, D.C. I hadn’t visited the city since I was a child, so my list of to-do’s was pretty ambitious, to say the least. We settled in for a night at The Hay-Adams, which provided a prime location for sightseeing pursuits. The 145-room hotel is directly across the street from the White House, and after dropping our bags with the concierge, we were rolling up to the Lincoln Memorial within minutes. While our stay was brief, I quickly found five things to love about the hotel:
1. The only-in-D.C. views
Our Italian-Renaissance-style junior suite, with its soaring ceilings, crown molding, and cozy (albeit ornamental) fireplace felt fit for a royalty (or an ambassador), but the highlight was pulling the curtains open to reveal uninterrupted views of the White House and the Washington Monument. (No wonder the hotel’s rooftop event space and terrace is one of the city’s most sought-after wedding venues.)
2. Presidential sweets
I’ll never pass up a plate of macarons and profiteroles, and the hotel raised the dessert bar by delivering a miniature White House replica made entirely of white chocolate to our room. I may or may not have eaten it all.
3. Basement banter
The slogan at Off the Record, the hotel’s subterranean-level cocktail bar, is “Washington’s best place to be seen and not heard.” When serious business goes down at the busy haunt, it’s at least accompanied by some good humor. Drinks are served on souvenir caricature coasters featuring the year’s major political players; the hotel commissioned several artists to create the collectibles.
4. Monument-hopping in style
I wanted to see as much of the 146-acre National Mall and its surrounding galleries and museums as possible, and we covered a lot of ground thanks to the hotel’s Shinola (the Detroit-based, made-in-America lifestyle brand) cruisers. The bikes are complimentary on a first-come, first-served basis, and the concierge provides helmets, locks, and cycling maps that point out surrounding monuments, museums, and ideal snack pit-stops.
5. A D.C. power breakfast
Since opening in 1928, The Hay-Adams has served its fair share of senators and heads-of-state. As the host escorted us in to The Lafayette, the hotel’s restaurant, he mentioned we were lucky to get a table without a reservation. I spent the next hour pretending I was in an episode of Scandal, watching suit-clad men and women sip coffee and shake hands. Breakfast was noteworthy too: The Southern-inspired menu featured omelets, French toast, and oatmeal soufflé with toasted Georgia pecans.
Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.
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