Benjamin Franklin quipped that there were only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Had he spent more time in DC, he’d have known there’s a third: The city’s luxury hotels refresh themselves before every presidential inauguration—and the results are always electric.
The Hay-Adams Hotel may overlook Lafayette Square, the White House, and the Washington Monument, but its guest rooms are landmarks themselves. The property’s 124 rooms and 21 suites have been decked out in a palette of sage green, beige, robin’s egg blue, and browns. This refresh marks the third time since 2001 that noted decorator Thomas Pheasant has reimagined the hotel’s interiors. In time for January 20, the Hay-Adams has also made technical additions, including sound-absorbent walls, Bluetooth SoundLink speakers, charging stations, and Samsung smart TVs, which sit atop American-crafted credenzas and allow guests to mirror-cast video from their mobile devices. 800 16th St. NW, 202-638-6600
Two blocks away, the 182-room St. Regis Hotel caps off its 90th year with new designs for the lobby and presidential suite. Designer Myron Wolman employed a jewel-bright palette for the Italianate reception area and was asked to lighten the spacious apartment. “‘Airy’ and ‘Old World’ aren’t often used in the same sentence,” says Wolman. “I designed it to feel magical and beyond special, like a white peacock.” 923 16th St. NW, 202-638-2626
In October, the Mandarin Oriental launched a renovation—overseen by Kent Interior Design—of its 397 guest rooms. To underline the residential feel, the traditional hotel room desk was replaced with a custom mahogany table. 1330 Maryland Ave. SW, 202-554-8588
In the West End, the Fairmont received a $27 million renovation. All the guest rooms have been refreshed with a soothing contemporary palette: soft gray and white with imperial purple accents. The wall behind each bed is papered in a custom print: a stylized map of the District. Positively dreamy! 2401 M St. NW, 202-429-2400