Editors' Picks

Jefferson Hotel

Beaux Arts, boutique, intimate, central

1200 16th Street Nw, Washington 20036


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At a Glance

Built in 1923 and one of Washington’s most venerable properties, the 99-room Jefferson Hotel re-opened in 2009 after a massive renovation.

Indagare Loves

  • The best views looking down 16th Street toward the White House, with the Washington Monument rising above it in the background
  • Four-legged friends are welcome (for a fee) with many pet amenities and dog-walking services upon request
  • Products named Monticello Grove, provided in guest bathrooms, are custom-made using orange, jasmine, peach (all grown at Monticello)
  • Live piano music, plus house-made mixers and herbal alcohols, at cozy, low-ceilinged Quill bar


This exquisite Downtown property pays homage to the third U.S. president it is named after—but in a truly modern way. Thomas Jefferson’s influence, as well as his passion for architecture, literature, botany, wines, and fine dining, can be felt throughout the residential-style hotel, located just four blocks from the White House.

Built in 1923, the Beaux Arts building that houses the Jefferson has been returned to its former glory (it was converted into a hotel in 1955): a once-covered vaulted skylight now casts natural light into the lobby whose magnificent Wedgewood-style plaster work also has been fully restored. There are 99 rooms and all are classically appointed with touches of velvet, mahogany, alabaster, down and Dupioni silk. Two unusual (and complimentary) services are the overnight shoeshine and pressing of one item of clothing. Respect for history did not exclude technology in the Jefferson’s redesign: free high speed WiFi is available throughout and rooms come not only with high-definition flatscreens but also with seventeen-inch televisions embedded in the bathroom mirrors. Housekeeping and your butler (each room is assigned one at check-in) are alerted to your housekeeping and privacy needs via a subtle light outside your room (no need to hang up signs). You don’t even have to call room service anymore to clear away plates: a microchip in the cart alerts the staff.

On the public floor, guests can lounge, meet or work in several private seating areas. The Book Room, with honeyed wood paneling, a working fireplace and shelves lined with vintage hardcovers chosen to reflect Jefferson’s time and interests, is one of the most welcoming. Products named Monticello Grove, found in the guest bathrooms, were custom-made using orange, jasmine, peach and more, based on flowers and fruits that grow at Monticello. The hotel also has a small but well-equipped fitness room and offers access to a larger fitness facility and pool across the street in the University Club.

The two restaurants and cool bar also invite lingering. Greenhouse serves perfectly wonderful dishes, with house-made ingredients, available during breakfast, lunch, brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, and Quill is a cozy, low-ceilinged space, with an amber-colored bar, live piano music on most nights and house-made mixers and herbal alcohols (the likes of ginger, pear, Prosecco, watermelon, basil and mint are incorporated into inventive and not-too-sweet cocktails. An added bonus of having a meal as a guest of the hotel is that when you arrive back at your room, you discover house-made caramels or other treats.

Walking around the property, it’s impossible not to be reminded of the visionary president: beyond the elegant reception desks, original signed documents line a wall; there are toile patterns custom-designed with different Jeffersonian architectural themes; and a dumbwaiter (a Jefferson invention) carries wine up from the 1,000 bottle cellar to the private dining room. The only downside of The Jefferson might be the neighborhood, which is convenient to many sights but is not that interesting at night. Great restaurants and bars are just a short cab ride away in Penn Quarter, the more edgy U Street Corridor, or in Georgetown. There are also three Metro stops within five blocks.

Who Should Stay

The Jefferson is right for travelers who like the look and feel of hotels like London’s Connaught or the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, and those who are charmed by tradition but also appreciate technology; though children will be made to feel at home with robes-to-fit and video games, this property is not the best fit for active children or teens.

Written by Ann Cochran

What's Nearby
Indagare employees walking up stiars

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