The column-clad, neoclassical exterior of Hotel Monaco looks every bit like its original iteration as the city’s first General Post Office, built in 1839. But if you think you’re in for a stay that’s all about the past, think again. For inside this Kimpton property, high ceilings, Corinthian columns, and marble everywhere are integrated into an eclectic and fun world of jazzy colors and funky furniture. Just don’t get too comfortable. You're in the heart of the buzzing Penn Quarter, including the fabulous Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, with the world-famous museums and monuments a few easy-walking blocks away.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There is an extra facility fee per night, which includes upgraded Wi-Fi, complimentary car service, and access to digital pubs.
Recently revamped guest rooms are all about regal color and texture, with high ceilings, sturdy oak dressers, carpeting, and exquisite architectural details (check out the lion-head architectural medallion). Luxury beds are dressed with Frette linens, bronze faux-leather headboards and a regal lavender throw. Step it up a notch or five with a suite, featuring spacious sitting areas, tall windows, and super-luxe bathrooms.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Some of the rooms are on the smaller side, thanks to the property’s historic nature.
The lavish bathrooms showcase acanthus leaf wall coverings, rounded mirrors with off-white edges, and exclusive Atelier Bloem bath amenities. Though it’s the plush leopard-print robes that we covet the most.
The grand living-room-style lobby, with its bold green walls, Murano chandeliers, and plentiful furniture in burnt orange, silver, gold and dark blue, is the sort of place you’ll want to put on your chic and linger awhile--especially during the signature wine hour every afternoon.
In-room spa services, including massages and facials, are offered upon request.
The 24-hour gym features cardio Nautilus machines and free weights.
There’s a reason why Dirty Habit is one of the neighborhood’s latest hot spots. This decidedly un-hotel restaurant looks like something out of Gotham City (or perhaps an insane asylum), with its high ceilings and dark metallic decor. The global-meets-Asian plates are innovative and commendable; the handcrafted cocktails have names like Seeing Spots and Smoke Signals.
Neighbors include the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Penn Quarter’s many restaurants and bars. It’s an easy walk to the National Mall and Convention Center. For destinations farther away, the Metro is your best bet; the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter stop is less than a block away.
Central Michel Richard (8-minute walk) by the late great chef offers modern takes on bistro classics. Zaytinya (4-minute walk) is one of José Andrés’ many successful ventures, this one featuring Turkish, Greek and Lebanese small plates in a hip setting.
Occupying the old Riggs Bank building, Gordon Biersch (2-minute walk) is a popular local hangout for craft beers. Sophisticated and romantic Proof (5-minute walk) offers more than 40 by-the-glass selections and 1,000 different bottlings; it has a great restaurant menu for those looking for something more.