By Patricia Wersinger
Washington D.C. is one of my favorite cities. Designed by French architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant, it brings to mind the grand classical cities of the Antiquity, such as Athens or Rome. As the national capital it’s rife with politicians, influencers and government officials. Their presence dictates the restrained style and stately tone of many hotel accommodations and public spaces. Is there a luxury hotel in the center of Washington where one can comfortably bring one’s happy-go-lucky children without fear of ruffling the feathers of authority? I went to take a look.
Surprisingly the Hay Adams – a dignified hotel well known by statesmen and business leaders — offers the ideal accommodations for a family traveling to the city. In 2008 it was the residence of the Obama family before they moved into the White House. An architectural landmark of Italian Renaissance style, the Hay Adams occupies the site where the former homes of John Hays and Henry Adams stood in 1885. Built in 1928, it is a long established hotel that offers traditional American elegance and exceptional comfort. The lobby sets the tone with its mahogany wainscoting and intricate ceiling treatments featuring Elizabethan and Tudor motifs. This hotel impresses with opulent beauty and decorative touches. My daughter traveled with me and got a thrill from seeing the White House from our room’s window, as if she was merely glancing over to a neighbor’s garden.
The suites and rooms at the Hay Adams are spacious and allow children to move at ease. The corridors are slightly mysterious as they bend and curve around the floors. My daughter found an old-fashioned telephone alcove and immediately selected it as her favorite spot. Adjacent doors connect several rooms with one another — and every impeccably decorated room is equipped with a Bose music system, assorted CDs with iPod connecters, free internet service and high-def flat screen TV. You are welcome to borrow videos and board games and the staff at the Hay Adams is extremely courteous and kind to children. The hotel offers several packages for families that are quite interesting: The Discover DC Family Packages for Two or Three Nights offers full American breakfast before boarding a trolley to explore the city. Children receive a fun-filled backpack featuring a unique book to tour the sights. On your return a special keepsake surprise awaits you along with a unique children’s amenity. If you reserve a third night you will receive complimentary tickets for the entire family to the Spy Museum. If your family includes a small dog, don’t worry: your pet is more than welcome too. Don’t bring a super sized Great Dane, however!
For dinner chose between two restaurants; The Lafayette is a well-known destination restaurant that offers a grand style dining experience and excellent cuisine. This spacious restaurant will be happy to accommodate your children. If they are very young however, you might feel more at ease at Off the Record, a more casual eatery with lighter meals such as burgers, soups and salads (conveniently open until 11.30 pm, and the hotel also offers 24 hour in-room dining). If you want to take a night out without the kids, the concierge can arrange easily for a carefully selected babysitter to come in.
If you plan a special family gathering such as a grand wedding, you’ll love the luxurious setting that this heritage hotel offers. The Lafayette Room presents the perfect wedding reception room: romantic with large windows that overlook Lafayette Park, it’s filled with natural light that reflects off the crystal chandeliers. With a capacity for 175 guests, the hotel can provide 145 guest rooms including 21 luxury suites for your party. You can conveniently celebrate the event right across the street at the St John Episcopal Church. This is the church of the Presidents — you can attend service with the First Family themselves any Sunday. For more information about the Hay Adams including more special packages, visit http://www.Hayadams.com.
My daughter and I had a wonderful stay at the Hay Adams. We walked all around Washington D.C. and became familiar with the White House as our neighbor. This, combined with all of the wonderful amenities and comfort at this incredibly special hotel, will create a memorable experience for any family.