By Devorah Lev-Tov
July 08, 2020
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This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on Mar. 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of Covid-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come—whenever they may be.

The nation’s capital has been undergoing a renaissance, with a wave of acclaimed restaurant openings, the expansion of major cultural institutions, and new, stylish hotels that are attracting a younger, trendier set. People are still after iconic luxury — and they still want to be near the Mall and the White House. While historic properties still appeal to travelers, two of this year's slots went to fashionable, cool upstarts.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Courtesy of The Hay-Adams

The Jefferson occupies the No. 2 slot this year, after holding the winning spot for three consecutive years. With a prime location between the Mall and Dupont Circle, the posh 99-room Beaux-Arts beauty is “a great hotel formed on history and modern amenities,” as one reader put it. “I love staying at this Southern institution,” wrote another, who also raved about the “always well-prepared food” served in the cocktail bar Quill, under the historic skylight at the Greenhouse, and at fine-dining restaurant Plume.

Of the newcomers to the list this year, two embody a more contemporary style and tout lifestyle-driven amenities and programming. The 220-room Line DC, opened in 2017 inside a former church in Adams Morgan, curates a diverse art collection — displayed throughout the common areas — and maintains an incubator space for local community organizations and nonprofits. Further south, near the White House and various Smithsonian institutions, the W Washington D.C. benefits from a recent renovation and capitalizes on its central location: “From the nightlife to the room size, it’s such a treat in the middle of the city.”

But the No. 1 hotel this year goes to a mainstay: The Hay-Adams, which opened in 1928. Keep reading to browse the full list of the best hotels in Washington, D.C., as voted by T+L readers.

1. The Hay-Adams

Courtesy of The Hay-Adams

Score: 91.62

More information: hayadams.com

This lavish and genteel Leading Hotels of the World member is housed in a 1920s Italian Renaissance-style mansion with impressive White House views and a “great location,” noted one reader. The walnut-paneled lobby and 145 rooms boast original details like ornate plaster moldings and walnut wainscoting, yet still have modern comforts like Italian linens, Etro bath amenities, and Bose sound systems. Best of all, “the team makes you feel like you are part of the family,” wrote another reader. And the “exquisite Sunday champagne brunch with Taittinger” is a particular draw.

2. The Jefferson

Courtesy of The Jefferson

Score: 90.67

More information: jeffersondc.com

3. The Willard InterContinental

Courtesy of Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C.

Score: 89.00

More information: intercontinental.com

4. Line DC

Adrian Gaut/Courtesy of LINE DC

Score: 88.73

More information: thelinehotel.com

5. The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C.

Score: 87.37

More information: ritzcarlton.com

6. The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown 

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown

Score: 87.27

More information: ritzcarlton.com

7. Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C.

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC

Score: 86.86

More information: fourseasons.com

8. Sofitel Washington D.C. Lafayette Square

Courtesy of Sofitel Washington D.C. Lafayette Square

Score: 86.49

More information: sofitel-washington-dc.com

9. Park Hyatt Washington, D.C.

Courtesy of Park Hyatt Washington D.C.

Score: 86.21

More information: hyatt.com

10. W Washington D.C.

Courtesy of W Washington D.C.

Score: 85.10

More information: marriott.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.