Mary Gostelow sleeps almost next to the White House

Girlahead checks-in to The Hay-Adams

Honestly, overnighting at the heart of the USA, the White House, is not usually an option. To stay as close to the Pres as you can, however, choose The Hay-Adams, a distinguished Leading Hotel of the World a mere 300 metres north of the White House, across leafy Lafayette Park.

The Hay-Adams has always been, well, significant. It was originally two adjacent private homes, owned by good friends, historian Henry Adams, 1838-1918, and politician John Milton Hay 1838 –1905. Privately owned today by a banking billionaire, the upper floors of what is now one building still hint at residences. One of my favourite suites is #512-4, on the south-east corner. Both rooms look east across 16th Street to the Presidential church, the buttercup-and-milk hued St John’s: the sitting room also offers view south to the White House.

The Hay-Adams driveway

Designed like interiors of the entire 145-room hotel by traditionalist Thomas Pheasant, the suite’s 18th century rural-vignette fabrics are a reminder of the past. Yes, ‘classic’ describes The Hay-Adams, a word that can also be applied to MD Nicolas Béliard, who combines inbred French style with years of thoughtfulness honed by The Peninsula group.

Top of The Hay Reception

But the hotel is also up to the minute. Much of Lafayette restaurant’s produce comes from a 140-acre farm overseen by the University of DC College of Agriculture’s Urban Sustainability & Environmental Science department. Similarly, the decade-old addition of The Hay-Adams’ tenth-floor rooftop’s all-weather conservatory is absolutely 21st century. Book this space for anniversary parties, or weddings, any number, two to 350 – but add in the supposed presence of at least one more participant, virtual at least (if the Stars and Stripes are raised, President Biden is at home).

Nicolas Béliard, Managing Director, The Hay-Adams

And you can, at The Hay-Adams, at least have a sip of the political action. Head quickly down to the hotel’s intimate basement level Off The Record bar, conveniently open from 4:30 pm, seven days a week. Off The Record is, as its name suggests, a scarlet-hued speakeasy where household-legends and aspirants, plus lobbyists and hangers-on hang out repeatedly. Some of the regulars, past and present, are caricatured on the drinks coasters. Look around the bar’s walls, too, at framed cartoons, loaned from the Library of Congress, a unique collection of political likenesses by media giant Politico’s Pulitzer-winner Matt Wuerker.

Book with a View at The Hay-Adams

Lead image: The Federal Suite, The Hay-Adams

Mary Gostelow publishes the daily and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, both part of Almont Global.

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