Best hotels in the DC area

U.S. News & World Report released its 10th annual ranking of the best hotels in the world and a number of D.C., Virginia and Maryland establishments earned a gold badge, putting them in the top 10% of hotels at that destination (a silver badge denotes hotels in the top 30%).

In the District, the No. 1 hotel is the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, which also ranked No. 8 in the U.S. That’s followed by The Hay-Adams at No. 2 and the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., as No. 3.

The Hay-Adams in Northwest D.C. (Courtesy U.S. News)

One thing exciting U.S. News travel editor Zach Watson was the hotel that landed in the No. 10 D.C. spot, with a gold badge: The Eaton Hotel.

“They’re just a really interesting and unique property,” Watson said. “They bill themselves as the world’s first activist hotel. And it was their first year on the ranking.”

“They’ve got all kinds of cool, unique amenities like a small movie theater to air various films and give talks and things like that.”

In Arlington, the The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City came in as No. 1. It’s followed by two silver-ranked hotels: The Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel at No. 2 and the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport at No. 3.

Alexandria has three silver-ranked hotels: Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa at No. 1, The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection at No. 2 and the Hilton Alexandria Old Town.

Virginia itself has several gold-rated hotels but they’re considerably farther away: The Inn at Little Washington, The Inn at Willow Grove and Primland.

Maryland has two gold-rated hotels: The Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore at No. 1 and the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore at No. 2. The silver-rated Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is No. 3.

Watson said the thing to regard in terms of badges is location.

“The thing to keep in mind with our top hotels rating is the gold badges the top 10% across the country. So those properties tend to skew more toward these high-luxury but also high-cost properties,” Watson said.

“So if you’re staying at a place like the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C., you’re going to get all of these incredible amenities but you’re paying really top dollar for them. Where, say, you look at our top hotel in Alexandria this year, the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa. That one is not going to be nearly as expensive as any of the top five in Washington, D.C., and you’re still getting a stellar location in Alexandria and an awesome spa, which is why we include those silver badge rankings as well, which denotes the top 30% in a destination.”

As for D.C. as a destination?

Watson said it’s great.

“You have this huge assortment of really luxurious properties, as well as a lot of smaller historic properties for people to stay at,” Watson said. “You can pick Washington, D.C., and find a hotel in your budget. Following up on that. We have this vast assortment of monuments which are obviously all free to go to, the entire Smithsonian network is this network of museums that visitors can come and stay at.”

“I personally think Washington, D.C., has a great food scene. You’ll note, a number of the hotels in the Top 10 have really critically acclaimed restaurant or even Michelin starred restaurants. So if you’re somebody that travels for food, you have that option. So I would recommend Washington, D.C., as a destination to most people.”

Check out the list of the gold D.C., Virginia and Maryland hotels by overall score below.

Badge Hotel Address Destination State
GOLD Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC 2800 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD The Hay-Adams 16th & H Sts. NW One Lafayette Square Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. 1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD The Jefferson, Washington, DC 1200 16th Street NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD The Inn at Little Washington Middle and Main Sts Virginia
GOLD The Inn at Willow Grove 14079 Plantation Way Virginia
GOLD Primland 2000 Busted Rock Rd Virginia
GOLD Williamsburg Inn 136 E Francis St Williamsburg Virginia
GOLD The Willard InterContinental 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC 1150 22nd Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD The St. Regis Washington, D.C. 923 16th and K Streets, N.W. Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C. 3100 South St NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD Eaton Hotel 1201 K St NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore 200 International Dr. Baltimore Maryland
GOLD The Jefferson Hotel 101 West Franklin Street Richmond Virginia
GOLD The Watergate Hotel 2650 Virginia Ave NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD Park Hyatt Washington D.C. 1201 24th St NW (at the intersection of 24th & M Streets NW) Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD InterContinental Washington D.C. — The Wharf 801 Wharf St SW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
GOLD Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore 2 North Charles Street Baltimore Maryland
GOLD The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City 1250 South Hayes Street Arlington, VA Virginia
GOLD The LINE DC 1770 Euclid St NW Washington, D.C. District of Columbia

The Hay-Adams has scored in the top 10% of all U.S.-ranked hotels and has received a gold badge for 10 years, since U.S. News started ranking them in 2011. The Four Seasons was the only D.C. hotel to crack the Top 10 in the U.S.

“We did look at the hotels that have ranked over the past 10 years and only 41 properties consistently ranked in the top 10%, which are hotels that anyway, ranked in the top 10% over the past 10 years,” Watson said.

“I personally expected that number to be higher, just because there are so many legacy properties that do well it really well in our rankings that have been around for a long time. So the number 41 seems low to me.”

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai was ranked the No. 1 hotel in the U.S. The Langham, Chicago came in at No. 2 and The Peninsula Chicago was No. 3.

U.S. News has a particular methodology it used to rank the more than 30,000 hotels in the report.

“Our rankings take into account three major factors. The first factor Is industry awards and recognition,” Watson said. “So for that we look at things like TripAdvisor, Users Choice Awards, Condé Nast, Forbes, all of the various industry awards. We also look at star rating. So for four and a half- or five-star hotels, and then guest ratings, so what people who have actually stayed at these properties have to say about them and how highly they rate them. And we combine all of those rankings. And that’s how we come up with our lists.”

“So the properties you see at the top of our list tend to do really well usually when a couple industry awards, and then also have a lot of positive feedback from past guests.”

See the full global rankings at U.S. News & World Report’s website.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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