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 what we found to be the most romantic hotels.
An elite luxury boutique hotel, the Jefferson spoils couples with its near-impeccable service, exceptional spa that includes specialized "vinotherapies" to reflect Thomas Jefferson's love of wine, impressive details (like a TV embedded in the bathroom mirror), and colonial charm -- a cozy library with a fireplace; a working dumbwaiter that delivers wine bottles from the hotel's 1,000-bottle cellar; extra toiletries brought to the room on a silver tray.
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.
Taking over a beautiful 1917 Beaux Arts building, the W (opened in July 2009) has become the bright new star of downtown D.C.'s otherwise stale social scene with its swank rooftop bar, hip spa, and steakhouse from celebrity-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It's a fine choice for couples seeking a little nighttime fun outside the room.
Luxurious, without being stale and stately, the Park Hyatt's huge, exquisite guest rooms mix smart modern touches (light dimmers) and sumptuous design, like the limestone bathrooms with exposed, walk-in showers and separate tubs. In addition, the Blue Duck Tavern -- where President Obama and First Lady Michelle spent their recent anniversary -- serves sublime food in front of an open kitchen with a wood-burning oven.
Overlooking the Tidal Basin on the remote southern end of D.C. -- a short stroll from D.C.'s famous cherry trees, the breathtaking trees that bloom with pinkish-white flowers each spring -- the Mandarin Oriental might not be very convenient, but its unsurpassed spa, scenic gardens, and gorgeous bathrooms make it a fine choice for a romantic getaway.