a large building with many windows

Washington, DC History

Iconic DC

Since 1917, Hotel Washington has been hosting those in the know. Steps from the White House lawn, we are part of the capital's heartbeat, and a stopping point for world leaders, dignitaries, entrepreneurs, and elevated thinkers. While there are many hotels in Washington, there is only one Hotel Washington.

hotel lobby seating with modern tiles and bright lighting

So Classic

Interior Design

The design of the hotel is a treasure trove of hidden meanings — the lobby arches represent interest groups commonly lobbied for in the Nation's capital, while the constellations that dot the elevators represent the skies as seen on important dates in US history, from July 4, 1776 to January 20, 2009's presidential inauguration. Homages to L'Enfant's design for the city can be spotted throughout the lobby, while the spiral staircase chandeliers and elevators are original to the hotel's opening in 1917.

Hotel Washington exterior design

So Classic

Exterior Design

Constructed in 1917, Hotel Washington was designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style by Thomas Hastings, one of the leading architects of the early twentieth century. In 1968, the District of Columbia officially designated the hotel as a historic property, worthy of recognition and protection for their contribution to DC's cultural heritage.

Woman walking in the city with the wind blowing in her blonde hair

So Classic

Iconic Guests

Hotel Washington has long been a destination for the city's movers and shakers — and to those in the know from Hollywood and beyond. When Elvis Presley landed in DC ahead of his famous photo-op with Richard Nixon, he settled into rooms 505, 506, and 507. From John Wayne and Gene Autry to Harrison Ford, Hotel Washington's notable guest list is as long as its history.

1 hotel lobby seating with modern tiles and bright lighting
2 Hotel Washington exterior design
3 Woman walking in the city with the wind blowing in her blonde hair

Prior to Construction May 23-24, 1865

Grand review of the victorious Union Army.

Prior to Construction 1913

Viewing stand for inaugural parade of President Woodrow Wilson.

Hotel Washington Opening April 4, 1918

Designed by the architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings, the ten-story, Beaux-Arts hotel is the only commercial building designed by the firm in Washington, DC. The facade features cream-colored sgraffito decoration on a reddish-brown ground.

Post Construction May 1, 1926

President Coolidge hosted a reception for Architects of America.

Post Construction August 12, 1926

Special buses started transporting people from the hotel to Hoover Airfield in Arlington, VA to connect to Philadelphia by air (1 ½ hour each way).

Post Construction Late 1920s

The entire cast of the Zigfield follies stayed at the hotel and rehearsed in the “Rooftop”.

Post Construction December 5, 1933

The Shriners celebrated the end of Prohibition by riding horses into the lobby.

Post Construction Mid 1930s

A southern Senator became irate when the night manager refused him room service at 2AM. The Senator got his gun, came down from his room and was intent on shooting him. There were no shots fired and it is unclear if the Senator got what he asked for.

Post Construction 1936

“Daughters of Union Veterans” and “Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic” hosted their national meetings at the hotel.

Post Construction 1937

“The National League of Women Voters” held their first national meeting at the hotel.

Post Construction 1949

The 29th Division of the US Army attempted to drive a jeep into the hotel for its reunion.

Post Construction December 1970

Elvis stayed at the Hotel Washington when he was visiting to meet President Nixon at the White House.

Read More

Post Construction 1995 & 2006

The Hotel Washington was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1995; in addition, the building is a contributing property to the Fifteenth Street Financial Historic District, listed on the NRHP in 2006, and the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site.

Post Construction October 14, 2005

On 14 October 2005, George H. W. Bush, Barbara Bush and Eunice Kennedy Shriver attended a press conference at the hotel to unveil The Extra Mile - Points of Light Volunteer Pathway. It is a mile-long pathway of bronze medallions on 15th Street. Various staff members from the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps NCCC attended the event at the hotel. After the press conference concluded, Pres. Bush, Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Kennedy Shriver walked up 15th street to see the medallions.

Post Construction Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford stayed at the hotel and bought drinks for everyone in the “Rooftop”.

Hotel Washington In Popular Culture

The hotel was seen in the films Contact and The Firm. Its roof terrace was featured in the movies The Godfather Part II and No Way Out. Frank Murphy and John Nance Garner lived there. The entrance of the hotel was shown in the film Silkwood. VUE Rooftop, formerly known as POV, is also the location of Diana and Barbara's lunch in the Wonder Woman sequel WW84.

a black and white photo of a street with cars and buildings
a group of people walking under a hotel washington sign
a cake with candles on it
white house in the 20s
a bus from 1920s
a person dancing
prohibiton in the 1920s
house of senate
a group of women on street in DC
a person in a hat and coat standing next to a car
old jeep from the 20s
white houses in the 40s
a man wearing a hat and a suit
white house with american flag on top
a glass of water with ice and a slice of lemon on a table
vue rooftop in black and white photo