If you are headed to Washington, D.C., and looking for a luxury hotel, there are plenty of options, which is a luxury in itself. We have stayed at the Hay Adams, the Four Seasons, the Mayflower, and the Park Hyatt. All are absolutely lovely and perfectly wonderful choices. But if you prefer smaller, more boutique-type hotels like I do, then you have one impressive choice. I did a little research, spoke to friends who frequent DC, and discovered The Jefferson. Oh, what a luxurious treat.
Elegant, not stuffy. Historic. Classic, yet contemporary. Traditional, yet pleasing to a modernist. Formal and serene. Impeccable. These are just a few descriptions I can think of for The Jefferson, a Relais & Chateaux property. From the moment I stepped out of the taxi, greeted warmly by the bellman, I fell in love with this hotel. Everything about it speaks to me. The size, 99 rooms, is ideal, as is the Dupont Circle location. Then there’s the service, the food, the rooms, and the staff…all exemplary. It goes without saying that the hotel was always impeccably clean and in order.
The hotel has been in operation since 1923. It has many historic paintings lining its walls and even signed documents from Thomas Jefferson, which the staff pointed out to us. I guess you could describe it as combining modern-day amenities with historical influences. While I prefer modern in most things, I have to say not in my hotel in Washington, D.C. I want my hotel experience to match the setting. It doesn’t hurt that The Jefferson is rated one of the top 15 city hotels in the US by Travel and Leisure.
The service from check-in to housekeeping to dining to valet parking was superb. The staff always speak to you as you come and go and wish you a wonderful day. My key didn’t work one day so I went back down to the desk. They gave me a new key, came up to the room to make sure it worked, and then gave me a complimentary lunch at Quill for my “inconvenience”. But you know what I loved the most…the friendliness and kindness of the housekeeping staff. I was in the room several times when they were cleaning and they could not have been nicer. They stopped to chat with me about the hotel, the holidays, if I needed anything, and Washington, D.C. Something that is rare in other hotels.
The rooms vary from a Deluxe Queen to an Executive Suite, all with plenty of space. We were quite fortunate to receive an upgrade from a Deluxe King to a Deluxe Suite thanks to Virtuoso. With a foyer to greet you, it felt like you were entering someone’s home and not a hotel room. The suite had a sitting room with a mini bar, coffee maker, TV, and books. I ended up using it much more than I thought I would.
Classic in decor, it was quite comfortable and inviting with a super comfortable bed and linens. And the colors were very serene grays and whites. There was truly space for everything and then some. Full-size amenities, always full water bottles, a large Italian marble bathroom with soaking tub, and turn down service – something I’m finding you are not assured of these days – added to my pleasure. And what else did and really surprised me…a TV in the mirror in the bathroom. I only used it once, but it was nice to know it was there.
We had a room on the 3rd floor facing the street and over the entrance, so I was a little concerned about noise. It was a needless concern. Heard a few cars, but that was it…pleasantly quiet.
You will want for nothing at The Jefferson, including complimentary wifi and babysitting services. The hotel offers everything you’d expect in a hotel of this caliber. But a few of our favorites included:
- choice of complimentary newspapers in the lobby
- a library where you can relax by the fire with a drink or a good book or both or have a bite to eat
- complimentary shoe shine…it is Washington, D.C., after all
- coffee and muffins available every morning and hot cider in the afternoon
We used the concierge desk on several occasions and found them very helpful. I appreciated that they could offer recommendations for things to do in Washington, D.C., beyond all of the tourist attractions and restaurants. Most good desks will do this if you ask.
I was so happy to learn that The Jefferson is a dog-friendly hotel. And more importantly, that all sizes and breeds are welcome. This is certainly not the case at many “dog-friendly” hotels where there are all sorts of restrictions. All dogs also receive special amenities that include:
- Dog bowls and beds
- Filtered water
- Dog treats
- Walking maps and dog sitting services are available
They do charge a $50 fee per stay to cover any cleaning fees. And, of course, there are the usual restrictions, like being on a leash in common areas, you must be present for housekeeping services, and there are certain off-limit areas.
There are actually three places to eat at The Jefferson. For breakfast and lunch, there is The Greenhouse with it’s lovely fireplace, where we had an amazing Avocado Toast. There is also a bar/restaurant, Quill, open most of the day. And if it is filled, which it seemed to be a lot, or you just want a more quiet space, there’s a library where you can go to sit by the fire, read a book, have a drink, or enjoy a bite from Quill. At night, The Greenhouse is stunningly turned into a Michelin Star restaurant, Plume, one of the highest rated restaurants in DC. Room service is also available. During the warmer months, there is a sidewalk patio outside of Quill.
But I have to single out our dining experience at Plume. From start to finish it was truly amazing. The atmosphere, service, wine list, and food were simply impeccable and so civilized, yet there were no airs of pretension. Our waiter was attentive, not intrusive, fun, and spot-on with recommendations. Plume has a prix fixe menu with enough options to please everyone, including this vegetarian. Yes, it is expensive, but worth the splurge for a special occasion, like treating your nephew to a meal he can’t yet afford. This is a perfect example of you get what you pay for.
There are also so many wonderful dining options in DC and even within walking distance around Dupont Circle, so finding the perfect place to eat during your stay will not be difficult.
The Petite Spa is rated one of the best in Washington, D.C. You can get all of the usual treatments, such as enticing massages, facials, nails, and body treatments. You can even opt for the couples massage in the Spa Suite. The spa uses herbs and botanicals grown in Monticello’s gardens and are custom-crafted to fit your choice. The spa’s signature treatments include the Vinotherapy Massage, Red Flower Organic Scrub, and Lemon & Lavender Complexion Purifier.
The hotel also has a basic gym with all of the usual equipment. Everything you should need for a good workout, including treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights. You even have access to the indoor pool across the street.
Luxury does not come cheap. While not inexpensive, our rates varied between $350 – $500 over the 4 nights of our visit. But it also depends on the season. If you choose prime vacation months, you can pay $555 for a Deluxe Queen up to $1500 for an Executive Suite. Packages are available such as City Serenity, Jefferson Holiday Experience, and weekend and suite discounts, so be sure to check these out before you book. The hotel is a Virtuoso property, so if your travel agent books this, you get perks like upgrades if available, breakfast every day, and a $100 food credit.
Gosh, not one single thing…I seriously do not have one thing to complain about The Jefferson and can’t wait to get back.
The bottom line…If you want impeccable service, historic very Washington, D.C., decor, wonderful food, a more intimate environment, then The Jefferson should meet all of your expectations. The place just makes me happy. It is a perfect hotel for grown-ups looking for a quiet retreat.