Donovan House Rating: 4.0 Pearls

Frosted "cocoon" showers (imagine bathing inside a seashell) add an organically inspired bit of fantasy to the otherwise understated vibe.

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Best Hotel Rooms in Washington, D.C. (2 of 22)

 Frosted "cocoon" showers (imagine bathing inside a seashell) add an organically inspired bit of fantasy to the otherwise understated vibe.
Not what you expect in tradition-bound D.C., right? Rooms at the Donovan House (which was named for the WW2 spy considered the father of the CIA) are relaxingly minimalist, heavy on contemporary design, and filled with sensual, earth-tone finishes like leather headboards and canopies. Frosted "cocoon" showers (imagine bathing inside a seashell) add an organically inspired bit of fantasy to the otherwise understated vibe. The Donovan's Thompson Suites each feature a separate living room, a gorgeous, deep tub, and a "party shower." The more classical rooms at the St. Regis, which were renovated in 2008, are up there with the best in the city (a Superior King Room is seen here). Underneath all that traditional style, they're equipped with the newest technology, including Bose iPod docks and flat-screens embedded in the bathroom mirrors. In this photo, you can't see the 15-inch flat-screen TV embedded in the mirrors (it's turned off) but the luxury is evident. Showers have removable showerheads and excellent water pressure; and guests get to enjoy plush bathrobes and Rem├ęde bath products. The living room in the Presidential Suite. The Hay-Adams's rooms are richly comfortable and gorgeous -- elegant yet understated, bright yet cozy -- if also a little small by modern luxury standards. The pleasures are in the details, which vary from room to room: ornamental fireplaces, decorative carvings, patterned ceilings. We liked the "eco-friendly" panda that guests can, if they choose, place on their beds to alert housekeeping not to wash the linens every day. Bathrooms in Interior View Rooms are small but lovely. Junior Suites overlook the White House or Lafayette Park. Here, the bedroom of a White House View Junior Suite. The living room of the 1,400-square-foot Federal Suite. President Obama stayed in a similar one -- the Presidential Suite, natch -- before his inauguration in January 2009. Except for a few that are smaller than you'd hope at this price point, the Jefferson's rooms offer everything you could want: that is to say, a delicate balance of comfort (sumptuous beds, lovely bathrooms) and attention to detail (meticulous design, state-of-the-art technology). A Classic Room is seen here. Bathrooms have 17-inch flat-screen TVs embedded in the mirrors. Other thoughtful details include electronic housekeeping buttons (for requesting housekeeping or "Do Not Disturb"), umbrellas for rainy days, and a bag of office supplies in the desk. The snack basket in a Classic Room. The 99 rooms at the Jefferson include 50 different room types, including variations in size, layout, color scheme, and theme. Pictured here is a Deluxe Room. The living room of a Premier Suite. Back at the other end of the design spectrum again. In the quiet, subtly opulent, Tony-Chi-designed guest rooms at the luxurious Park Hyatt, comfort and attention to detail are paramount. Sculpture, artwork, and coffee table books are artfully arranged; lighting works on dimmers; and the entire space is bathed in warm woods and calming ochre and light gold tones. Park Rooms include a small sitting area, while Park Deluxe Rooms have a separate living room. Park Rooms have attractive marble bathrooms, while bathrooms in Park Deluxe Rooms -- one of which is seen here -- feature extravagant, open-air limestone showers (no curtain, glass, or door) with blissful Kallista rainfall showerheads and limestone floors. Handsome, well-appointed rooms are the highlight at this relatively affordable hotel, delivering more than expected in comfort and amenities. Cool grey tones, minimal furniture, and sleek marble bathrooms are subtly contemporary, avoiding the pitfall of overwrought, trendy styles that quickly date so many design-oriented hotels. Large bathrooms feature plenty of marble, European-style standing showers, and heated floors. Little touches like a full set of Kiehl's toiletries, slippers, Frette bathrobes, and electric "Do Not Disturb" buttons elevate the rooms well beyond what you'd expect in this price range.
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