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Washington Plaza Hotel 3.5

Downtown, Washington, D.C., United States

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Review Summary

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  • Convenient central location, walking distance to the White House and Dupont Circle 
  • Terrific outdoor pool, with plenty of padded lounge chairs and umbrellas
  • Reasonable room rates, especially considering the ideal location
  • On-site restaurant and bar/lounge with a fireplace
  • Substantial breakfast buffet (for a fee) with LaVazza coffee and made-to-order omelets
  • Huge parking garage below hotel (for a fee)
  • 12,000 square feet of meeting space
  • Free Wi-Fi 


  • Elevators can be noisy
  • Hotel subject to street noise from Thomas Circle, a major traffic circle
  • Pool only open in the summer months

Bottom Line

Opened in 1962, this upper-middle-range landmark hotel has a distinctive retro vibe and one of the city's best outdoor pools. Its 340 colorful rooms and suites pay tribute to their original design, but are also modern and practical, with coffeemakers, mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and pillow-topped mattresses. Factor in the competitive rates, the excellent and extravagant breakfast buffet, and the hotel's proximity to major D.C. sights, and the Washington Plaza is one of the best values in town. During the off-season (when the pool is closed), guests may fare better at one of the Kimpton hotels in the area, such as the Palomar or the Madera, which have free nightly wine receptions. 

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This landmark has one of the best pools in town, colorful and modern rooms, and an overall great retro feel

Designed by architect Morris Lapidus -- of Fontainebleau and Eden Roc fame -- the Washington Plaza stands out among the cookie-cutter Marriotts and Hiltons at the center of the city. Though the hotel's Thomas Circle location may be far from the coast, the curvy, 340-room edifice still echoes Lapidus' trademark Miami-Beach-resort style. In its heyday, the hotel was the Jackie O.'s swimming hole of choice (the pool is still one of D.C.'s best, though the original dome covering it is long gone). Nowadays, the Washington Plaza hosts budget-conscious families and business travelers. But the fabulous retro feel is maintained, thanks to the Mexican stone floors, Bauhaus Barcelona chairs, and large curvy chrome table in the lobby and the bright rooms that pay homage to Lapidus' original design. 


Central downtown location, within walking distance of the White House, Logan Circle, and Dupont Circle

The Washington Plaza is downtown, on the eastern side of Thomas Circle, where Vermont and Massachusetts avenues and M and 14th streets meet. The area straddles two very disparate neighborhoods: the bustling business district and the vibrant, flourishing residential section at 14th Street, near Logan Circle.

  • Four blocks to the McPherson Square Metro Station (Orange, Blue and Silver lines), which provides access to the Smithsonian Center, the Mall, the White House, and virtually every sight in downtown
  • Five blocks to the Farragut North Metro Station (Red line), which provides easy access (three stops) to Union Station, D.C.'s main train station, served by Amtrak, commuter railroads, and the metro system 
  • 10- to 15-minute walk to Logan Circle and Dupont Circle (the areas surrounding both are filled with restaurants, shops, and nightlife options)
  • 15-minute walk to the White House
  • 20-minute walk to International Spy Museum
  • 25-minute walk to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • 30-minute walk to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum 
  • 15-minute drive the Capitol
  • 20-minute drive to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
  • 40- to 55-minute drive to Dulles International Airport


Cozy, cheerful, modern, and smartly decorated

Guest rooms vary in size due to the building's curvy shape. Standard rooms -- called Superiors Rooms here -- range from 210 to 260 square feet, while suites start at 345 square feet. All rooms share a bold color scheme that reflects Lapidus' original design, with accents of plum, brick-red, and light orange. Features include pillow-topped mattresses, work desks, Kohler rainfall showerheads, free Wi-Fi, ironing equipment, and 32-inch flat-screen HDTVs with movies on demand and free HBO. Rooms come with mini-fridges and coffeemakers, and the hotel delivers two free bottled waters every day. Most rooms overlook Thomas Circle, and there are some with balconies


Outdoor pool is a lovely refuge from D.C.'s infamous summertime heat and humidity

The 25-foot-long outdoor pool, open during the summer months, is Washington Plaza's crowning jewel. With lots of towels, padded loungers, umbrellas, a pool bar, and food and drink service, the pool deck feels a long way from the city's grime and grueling politics. A free fitness center, located on the hotel's lower level, is equipped with free weights and modern machinery: four treadmills, two ellipticals, and one stationary bike. It's on the small side, but its size is comparable to other D.C. hotel gyms in this price category.

The restaurant, No. Ten Thomas, serves food that is well-prepared, though not particularly inventive. Its buffet breakfast is an excellent value, with a cold bar and a hot bar that includes omelet and waffle stations, pancakes, and plenty of side dishes like bacon and sausage. Things are less exciting for lunch and dinner, when the restaurant offers basic continental fare (sandwiches, salads, simple pasta dishes, steaks, fresh fish). The International Bar is a pleasant place to grab cocktails and bar snacks, like hummus with crudites, buffalo wings, and sliders. Room service is also available throughout the day. 

There are 12,000 square feet of meeting space and a business center in the basement with three desktop PCs, a printer, and a printer/scanner/copier. Access to the computers and printers costs a fee, but there is free Wi-Fi in all guest rooms and throughout the hotel. An on-site gift shop sells D.C.-themed T-shirts, mugs, and shot glasses, as well as candy, snacks, and drugstore items. The hotel has an underground parking garage with both valet (includes in and out privileges) and self-parking for a fee. 

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Things You Should Know About Washington Plaza Hotel


10 Thomas Circle NW, Washington DC, District of Columbia 20005-4106, United States


(202) 842-1300

Also Known As

  • Washington Plaza
  • Washington Plaza Dc

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • Premier Room
  • Standard Junior Suite
  • Standard Room
  • Standard Suite
  • Superior Junior Suite
  • Superior Room
  • Superior Suite

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