Location, location, location! That’s the important thing when choosing real estate or the hotel where you want to stay when you visit a new place. Dating back to 1818, the Willard InterContinental Hotel is just steps from the White House, National Mall, museums, world-class restaurants, and the U.S. Capitol!
The location has it all, but what’s even better? The architecture is stunning, the decor is grand, and the history goes back almost to the beginning of the District itself! Here’s everything you need to know about staying at this iconic hotel in the heart of Washington, D.C.
The hotel you see today started as merely a row house leased to Joshua Tennyson as a hotel. It was here that then-Senator from Kentucky Henry Clay introduced the Mint Julep for the first time outside of Kentucky. It’s now the Round Robin Bar’s signature drink.
The hotel has been home to presidents and dignitaries over the years, played host to grand balls and international delegations, and in fact, the term “lobbyists” got its start here when self-promoters used to bother President Grant while he sat in the lobby and smoked his cigar! It remains a place where politicians, start-up organizations, and regular people come to stay, dine, and meet!
Essential info: D.C. Tours to Request in Advance
Our room was one of the largest I’ve ever stayed in at a hotel! The decor was very classic, with calming blue, creams, and golds. The bed was exceptionally comfortable, and there was plenty of storage for our luggage. We also loved all the natural light from the large windows, as well as the historic touches in the decor.
Wow! Our bathroom was truly gigantic. The marble finishings made the whole area feel very high-end, and the towels were softer than your average hotel linens. I loved the separate shower, however, double sinks would have been nice instead of a single sink. If that’s my only complaint, though, I’ll take it.
Also helpful: The Ultimate Guide to Solid Toiletries for Your Travels
The Fitness Center
If you love machines and equipment, this is the gym for you! With multiple treadmills, bikes, and elliptical machines, you can certainly pick your preference. There are also several multi-functional weight machines, free weights, yoga and medicine balls, a bosu, yoga blocks, and foam rollers. There is not much space to move around for HIIT training or other non-machine workouts, but overall, it’s a great hotel gym.
This is one of the best spas that I have personally experienced. They have plush, cozy robes for you to enjoy, and their relaxation room is perfect. Guests can enjoy infused water, coffee, tea, and cookies as they relax in a cushioned lounge chair while waiting for their spa treatment. Be sure to come 15-30 minutes early so you can truly savor the experience!
Read next: How to Practice Self Care on Travel
Cafe du Parc, Le Cafe
This is my new favorite breakfast spot in D.C.! I loved all their beautiful pastries, but they also have breakfast sandwiches, savory pastries, muffins, and other options as well. They also serve some of the best iced coffee in town, so give them a try, whether you’re staying at the hotel or just passing by.
Keep eating: The Best Restaurants in Downtown D.C.
Peacock Alley Afternoon Tea
This was such fun! Their tea availability changes seasonally (in August afternoon tea was served on Saturdays and Sundays only), and their food choices also change according to season, festival or holiday. You can make a reservation on Open Table or by calling the restaurant directly.
Peacock Alley is a restaurant in a large, long corridor, with tables and cozy seating set up along both sides. When we had our tea here, a harpist performed live, which gave the whole experience a refined feel. The menu is fixed, but you can choose from over a dozen different teas. If you’re here for a special occasion, let them know when you make your reservation. I received a cupcake and a harp version of “Happy Birthday” as we finished our meal!
Want more? Check out my dedicated Washington, D.C., Page for everything you need to plan the best trip!
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