Advertisement

This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.

With marquee additions to its cultural, hotel, and culinary scenes over the past several years, the District of Columbia has proven its wide-reaching appeal. As popular as historic sites like the Lincoln Memorial and the White House continue to be, relatively newer destinations like The Wharf have caught the attention of an even broader swath of travelers who — judging from this year's winners for the best hotels in Washington, D.C. — clearly appreciate having a breadth of options. 

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. Readers rated hotels on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

The Hay-Adams
Credit: Kip Dawkins Photography/Courtesy of The Hay-Adams

This year, readers voted in equal measure for newer hotels (No. 9 InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf) and classics (No. 2 The Jefferson). The latter group includes the 120-year-old icon Willard InterContinental Washington D.C., which claimed the No. 5 spot this year. Readers touted the "very comfortable beds," "history," and "the history gallery and the gingerbread exhibit." Other readers had similarly positive things to say about the No. 3 Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C.'s service and overall guest experience, calling it "great, great, great!" and commenting that "they aim to please." 

But it was the Hay-Adams that emerged once again as T+L readers' pick for the best Washington, D.C. hotel. Keep reading to find out what made the repeat winner rise above the rest.

1. The Hay-Adams

The Hay-Adams
Credit: Kip Dawkins Photography/Courtesy of The Hay-Adams

Repeating as a World's Best category winner is never easy, but then again, this hotel has been proving its staying power since it opened in 1928. The details seen throughout the Italian Renaissance-style mansion and its 145 rooms (walnut wainscoting, original plaster moldings) evoke a sense of timelessness that keeps visitors coming back year after year. This Leading Hotels of the World member, which sits within easy walking distance of the White House and the National Mall, is "hands down the best hotel in D.C., with warm, friendly service and a who's who of VIP guests," according to one reader's enthusiastic comments. Another fan echoed the praise, writing that it is "the epitome of greatness." 

Score: 92.50
More information: hayadams.com

2. The Jefferson

The Jefferson
Credit: Courtesy of The Jefferson

Score: 92.30
More information: jeffersondc.com

3. The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Ritz-Carlton Georgetown
Credit: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

Score: 92.00
More information: ritzcarlton.com

4. Hamilton Hotel

The Hamilton Hotel
Credit: Getty Images

Score: 90.89
More information: hamiltonhoteldc.com

5. The Willard InterContinental Washington D.C.

The Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C.
Credit: Courtesy of Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C.

Score: 90.75
More information: washington.intercontinental.com

6. St. Regis Washington, D.C.

The St. Regis Washington, D.C.
Credit: Courtesy of The St. Regis Washington, D.C.

Score: 90.15
More information: marriott.com

7. Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown

The Fairmont Washington, D.C.
Credit: Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

Score: 90.07
More information: fairmont.com

8. Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C.

Four Seasons DC
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 87.36
More information: fourseasons.com

9. InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf

InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf
Credit: Courtesy of InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf

Score: 87.06
More information: wharfintercontinentaldc.com

10. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC

Kimpton Hotel Monaco
Credit: Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Group

Score: 86.22
More information: monaco-dc.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.