What: A Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel with a top-notch location and plenty of history of its own, Willard InterContinental is an iconic D.C. landmark that once served as a transitional residence for presidents-elect in the weeks prior to their inauguration. You can view copies of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant’s hotel bills, have a drink in the bar where Thomas Jefferson once sat, and enjoy amenities and luxuries at Red Door Spa that those chief executives couldn’t have imagined. The 19th-century hotel features opulent French Beaux-Arts style and architecture, as well as ornate décor throughout. The lobby is especially grand—its gilded ceiling includes the seals of all lower 48 states.
Where: You’ll spend a few nights as the commander in chief’s neighbor at the Willard; the historic hotel is a block from the White House. Often called the Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue, it is a short walk from the some of D.C.’s best sites, including the National Mall, Smithsonian Institution, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument—so you can get the most out of your Capitol Hill stay.
When: Since opening its doors in 1818, the Willard has hosted almost every president since Franklin Pierce. It received its Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star rating in 2012 and is one of the top hotels in D.C. This Inauguration Day, Willard InterContinental is the place to be. Many rooms look right out onto Pennsylvania Avenue and the inaugural parade route, so this year you can stay warm as President Obama and first lady Michelle pass by just below. Book the Presidential Inaugural Package to enjoy a four-night stay, as well as access to a parade-viewing party on Jan. 21.
Why: The location is superb, but there’s plenty inside the Willard that makes the hotel worth the stay. The Round Robin Bar & Scotch Bar, which is a favorite haunt of many a politico, is adorned with photos of presidents and other luminaries who have tippled there—including Woodrow Wilson, Buffalo Bill Cody, Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln and Grant were also known to toss back a few at the legendary bar. In fact, one of the Willard’s claims to fame is that it’s the spot where Grant coined the term “lobbyist.” Of course, it’s not all history at the Willard: At the hotel’s Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Red Door Spa, you can prep for the inauguration with everything from invigorating facials to relaxing massages. When it’s time to hit the hay, do so in an executive manner in the aptly named Oval Suite—after all, it may be the closest most of us will get to the real thing.
Photos Courtesy of InterContinental Hotels