You’ll find a lot to love at Willard InterContinental, but here are the five best things about the Forbes Travel Guide recommended hotel:
1. Location. You’ll find iconic monuments, museums and famous locations around every corner near the Willard. The hotel is conveniently located just one block from the White House and the National Mall, where you can visit many of the Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
2. The Round Robin & Scotch Bar. This bar specializes in classic cocktails (mint juleps in particular), but its location is most special. Though the structure has changed, the bar is in the same location where Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant once sipped drinks. The space, which is open from noon to 1 a.m. Monday to Saturday, is adorned with pictures of presidents and other luminaries who have tippled in the space, including Woodrow Wilson, Buffalo Bill Cody, Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. The Round Robin also includes an adjacent Scotch bar (open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday) with a menu that includes more than 100 bottles of whiskey from all over the northern British nation, including rare varieties aged 25 to 30 years.
3. Beaux-Arts style. You’ll see ornate sculptural decorations, arches and a raised first story (like the expansive, cavernous lobby) at the Willard. The high, gilded ceiling is impressive, dotted with the seals of the lower 48 states of the union (Alaska and Hawaii, which became states after this space was created, can be seen in the nearby Peacock Alley hallway). The rest of the hotel features details and materials befitting its century-old heritage.
4. The onsite museum. After dinner, or to escape the summer sun after lunch, visit the hotel’s onsite history museum. This space explains the history of the Willard, including its reputation as “Residence of Presidents,” a name that hearkens back to when presidents-elect used the location near the White House as a transitional residence in the weeks prior to their inauguration.
5. The guest rooms. If you were going to shoot a movie scene set in a Washington, D.C. hotel room, you’d probably choose the well-appointed guest rooms at the Willard. Chairs and beds are traditionally styled with striped wallpaper, luxe draperies and gilded accents.
Photo courtesy of InterContinental Hotels