PHOTO: Srikanta H U | Unsplash

Fodor's Expert Review The Jefferson

1200 16th St. NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20036, USA See on Map Fodor's Choice

Many regard this small historic hotel, within walking distance of the White House and sumptuously renovated in 2009, as the city’s best. Distinguished guests have been staying here since 1923 (Obama used it as his campaign office), obviously enjoying its elegant Beaux-Arts décor, classic library, eclectic antiques, and period artifacts. Hints at the nation’s third president abound throughout as well, including original documents and Jeffersonian motifs.

YOU SHOULD KNOW This hotel targets businesspeople and older couples; families will probably feel out of place.


Rooms are small and cozy, with elegant dark wood furniture, an oversize bed (with Serta mattresses), fluffy pillows, and a valet stand. Custom curtains and pillows are printed with images of Monticello.

Upgrade to a suite—some have balconies overlooking the Washington Monument.


The rainfall shower heads are a guest favorite, while the TV inset in the mirror and porcelain goblets filled with bath salts to scoop into the commodious shower and bath are extra-special touches.


Refined and traditional, the lobby welcomes with black-and-white flooring, stately antiques, and a gallery of gold-framed historical documents that--if you look closely--bear Jefferson’s signature. Crystal pitchers are filled with complimentary sweet tea for an extra special southern touch.


The petite on-site spa offers customized treatments, using herbs and botanicals grown in Monticello’s gardens.


The modern gym has apples and water bottles at every treadmill. Go for a run, eat an apple. Live your life.


The Michelin-starred Plume restaurant, showcasing a seasonal menu inspired by Jefferson’s life and times, is a destination unto itself.

The hotel’s 1,500-bottle wine cellar stocks Jefferson’s favorite vintages.


Quill, where 18th-century maps follow Jefferson’s European wine journeys, is the hotel’s upscale cocktail bar and lounge; an in-house pianist plays Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 9 p.m.


Getting Around

The Jefferson is located on 16th Street, NW, with views straight down to the White House. Most of DC’s major museums and monuments are within walking distance (or a short metro hop away), as is the bustling Dupont Circle neighborhood. Your best bet for public transportation is the Metro; the Farragut West and Farragut North stops are a couple blocks away.


The daily menu at Tabard Inn Restaurant (6-minute walk), located in a historic town house about two blocks away, offers classic dishes with a seasonal twist: house-smoked salmon carpaccio with lemon-mustard aioli, chicken Milanese with grilled lemon, tomatoes and limencello vinaigrette. Iron Gate (6-minute walk) offers seasonal small plates (with optional wine pairings); the wisteria-covered patio is as romantic as you can get.


A destination for beer lovers, ChurchKey (8-minute walk) offers 555 different kinds of beer in a trendy setting. Off the Record (9-minute walk) in the gracious Hay-Adams is a classic DC bar filled with politicos.


We love the simple historic elegance of this boutique hotel. And its heart-of-the-city location, between the White House and buzzing Dupont Circle neighborhood, makes it a perfect base for exploring. The staff doesn’t miss a detail, and the small touches—the apples in the gym, the complimentary sweet tea in the lobby—make it a one-hundred-percent class act.


Romantic, Service
99 rooms, including 20 suites
Breakfast Yes
Lunch Yes
Dinner Yes
Bar Yes
Cafe No
Room Service Yes
Parking Lot


Phones: 202-448–2300

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