A team of Oyster reporters spent weeks exploring 61 top hotels in Washington, D.C. We slept in the beds, ate in the restaurants, tested the service, and scoped out the neighborhoods, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s a list of some of our favorite hotels that have been approved by the Travel Alternatives Group and/or the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.
This graceful 237-room hotel, part of a French-owned international chain, opened in 2003 in a former bank building. With its elegant lobby, spacious rooms, sumptuous beds, and a decidedly European feel in the center of old downtown near Lafayette Park and the White House, it's tres popular with French businesspeople.
This 82-room boutique with stylish interiors sits on a treelined residential street in Dupont Circle -- D.C.'s center of nightlife and dining. A can-do staff, up-to-date guest rooms, a jewel of a restaurant, and a vibrant location (coffeehouses, a farmers' market) add up to a solid value.
Despite its modest 1940s-era exterior, the Dupont is in the vanguard of modern design among D.C. hotels after a yearlong, top-to-bottom renovation. Handsome, well-appointed rooms are the highlight, but solid service, a popular local bar scene, the excellent Cafe Dupont, and a prime Dupont Circle location complete the substance behind its style.
Named for WWII spy "Wild Bill" Donovan, father of the CIA, the Donovan House seems to aim its spy theme at those whose "covert operation" is to get lucky. Its sensual rooms come with black leather headboards, a frosted cocoon shower, Veuve Clicquot in the minibar, and a "Pleasure Pack" with not one, but two types of personal lubricant. Throw in a sultry rooftop pool, an exotic Pan-Asian restaurant, and an ideal location surrounded by dining and nightlife, and you have all the makings of a clandestine weekend that won't soon be forgotten.
Architect Robert Mills, the same man who designed the Washington Monument, first erected this gorgeous Greek Revival building in 1839 to be the General Post Office. Today, it's a National Historic Landmark. When the Kimpton brand took over the building to develop the Hotel Monaco in 2002, it chose to blend the grand historic appeal of its structure with contemporary design flourishes, like bold colors, striking patterns, and fun pendant light fixtures.