One of the city's finest hotels, this rebuilt 19th-century residence also boasts what is arguably the city's best location: directly across Lafayette Park from the White House, with knockout views of the famous mansion from the sixth, seventh, and eighth floors. The 145 impeccable guest rooms glow with sunlight from oversize windows; understated soft-beige furniture and beds swathed in Frette linens and pale Asian-inspired toile get a graceful lift from original and unique 1920's plasterwork on the ceilings. Downstairs, the elegant Lafayette Room restaurant overlooks the park—although watching power lunchers inside may be even more interesting.
Tip: On Sundays when he's in town, the president often attends church across the street at St. John's (the hotel entrance closes as his motorcade arrives, a uniquely Washingtonian inconvenience).
Room to Book: 708, a king room, has White House views—a vista otherwise reserved for more expensive suites.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.