Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About the Hay-Adams Hotel

Luxury Hotels in Washington

If you’re looking for an historic, beautiful hotel to stay in during your visit to Washington, D.C., look no further than the Hay-Adams Hotel. Located at 800 16th Street NW, this hotel is truly the perfect place to visit and a great home base for exploring all that Washington, D.C., has to offer.

The Hay-Adams refers to itself as a hotel “where nothing is overlooked but the White House,” which is a nod to its truly stellar service and incredible views.

Historical Significance

hotel suite

This luxury hotel is not only beautiful and renowned as a lavish guest destination, but its history and deep roots in Washington, D.C., are unparalleled as well. Prior to becoming a vacation destination, the land used to be occupied by the homes of John Hay and Henry Adams (hence the name of the hotel). Hay was Secretary of State under presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley. He was also President Abraham Lincoln’s personal assistant and secretary.

Adams is the descendent of two American presidents and also served as President Abraham Lincoln’s ambassador. Hay and Adams both had large homes built in the ornate Romanesque style, and together, their homes became a hub of activity for politicians and intellectuals of their time. Hay and Adams, with their spouses Clara Hay and Marian Adams, as well as their dear friend geologist Clarence King, formed a close-knit friendship.

They referred to themselves as the “Five of Hearts.” To celebrate their friendship, they had china and stationery made with their own unique moniker and logo to celebrate their relationship. Additionally, the five hosted regular salons, entertaining rousing discussions about science, literature, art, and politics, and hosting famous guests such as the sculptor August Saint-Gaudens, writers Henry James and Mark Twain, and Theodore Roosevelt for friendship and lively conversation.

After the Adams and Hays were deceased, the homes were knocked down and replaced by an apartment-style hotel that boasted 138 rooms, central air conditioning, and impressive details in the Italian Renaissance style. The establishment was impressive for its time and boasted lavish ornamentation in the form of Elizabethan and Tudor motifs, ceiling details, and walnut wainscoting. The hotel grew in popularity and even hosted famous guests including Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.

After changing hands a number of times, the Hay-Adams has found its place in the heart of Washington, D.C., as part of the Lafayette Square Historic District and as a member of the Society Historic Hotels of America. In 2001, the hotel closed to undergo $20 million worth of exquisite renovations. In 2010, the hotel was temporarily shuttered again in order to develop it even further.

Presently, the hotel is still considered one of the finest luxury hotels in Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama and his family occupied the hotel for a few weeks prior to his inauguration because Blair House, where incoming presidents typically stay, was occupied.

Hay-Adams Hauntings

According to folklore and spooky tales, the Hay-Adams Hotel does have one eternal guest: Marian Hooper Adams, affectionately known as “Clover,” who was once married to Henry Adams. She was an artistic photographer. Clover is said to have committed suicide while living in Adams’ home; however, there is speculation that she was actually murdered.

Guests, housekeeping staff, and ghost hunters have allegedly heard her cries on the fourth floor, where she is said to wander the halls, smelling of almonds. Coincidentally, Clover allegedly killed herself using potassium cyanide, a chemical used to develop photos that is said to have an almond scent.

Current Amenities and Offerings

hay adams hotel amenities

Staying at the Hay-Adams Hotel is a truly opulent experience. The hotel boasts beautiful, well-appointed rooms that are clean, comfortable, and modern. Rooms include high-quality items such as goose down pillows, Italian sheets and towels, a large HD TV replete with Google Chromecast, a Bluetooth speaker, a station for charging mobile devices, a safe, and standard hotel bathroom accommodations such as a hairdryer and a makeup mirror.

For those looking to get cozy, every room has a robe and plush slippers available for each guest. If you are traveling with children, there are board games, iPads, and DVDs available specifically for them. The Hay-Adams offers the finest hotel experience and truly aims to make every member of the family comfortable; it even offers pet-friendly accommodations for those who want to bring the family pet along.

Entertainment and Food

hay adams food

For advice about where to spend time in Washington, D.C., look no further than Les Clefs D'Or Concierge service, who will be happy to assist you in finding restaurants and entertainment, as well as with scheduling activities to fit your needs.

For meals, there is an on-site restaurant, bar, and catering service, plus a private room for hosting more intimate events. For those looking to re-create the lively salon discussions of days gone by, the Hay-Adams Hotel offers the Author Series, an opportunity for exciting conversation about literature with modern writers and fans alike.

Even if you’re not staying at the Hay-Adams, their dining options are well-known as some of the best in modern cuisine, as well as a place to see the “Who’s Who” of Washington, D.C., politicians and celebrities. The Lafayette Room is situated with an amazing view of the White House and Lafayette Square and boasts delicious meals and helpful staff who are poised to ensure that your meal is perfect.

If you’re looking for a wonderful bar to have a drink for business or pleasure, Off the Record is known as the best place for locals to be “seen and not heard,” and it has a phenomenal wine list and delicious cocktails. If you choose either on your trip to Washington, D.C., you will no doubt be delighted by the incredible food and wonderful views.

Staying Fit While Traveling

Maintaining your health while traveling can be a challenge; however, this hotel has a well-stocked fitness center open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., including treadmills, recumbent bicycles, elliptical machines, a weight bench, and a variety of other machinery designed to keep you feeling your best on the road. There is also a fully-stocked shower and changing area to make getting ready a snap.

For Business Travelers

Washington, D.C., is one of the nation’s most prominent cities for politics and business, and the Hay-Adams Hotel is a perfect location for meetings. With a variety of rooms available to reserve for nearly any group size, you are sure to find the space you need to conduct business on the road. Featuring Wi-Fi in every room, as well as in all public spaces, you won’t miss an email while enjoying the hotel.

For those requiring a more dedicated area for business, there is a 24-hour business center which boasts telephones, computers, fax machines, and a printer. In order to keep up with all of the day's news, a complimentary newspaper of choice is available each morning. Additionally, there is a first-come, first-serve Mercedes car service available to transport you to meetings away from the hotel.

Weddings and Private Events

hay adams wedding events

Looking for a special place to celebrate your love or another significant event? Consider the Hay-Adams. Its luxurious space offers room for up to 250 guests, on-site catering, and plenty of options for seating, dancing, and partying the night away.

The view of the White House, plus the elegant details reflected in every inch of this amazing hotel, make it a perfect place to celebrate your nuptials or any life event worth celebrating. This incredible space was redesigned in 2010 and offers several options for hosting your special day.

The Concorde Room is covered in hand-painted wallpaper and crystal chandeliers, and the Windsor has a warm feel with its brass chandeliers, wood details preserved from the historical Hay house, a fireplace, and silk wallpaper. For a more historical take, reserve the Hay-Adams Room, which features two working fireplaces and details designed to reflect the period in which the Hay House first existed. No matter the occasion, the Hay-Adams Hotel is the perfect location and is sure to meet your needs.

Top of the Hay

The crown jewel of this exquisite hotel is the top floor, known as the Top of the Hay. The outdoor space has a breathtaking panoramic view of the White House, the Washington Monument, the National Mall, and the city as a whole, making for a stunning backdrop in all your photos. Imagine your wedding photos shot with all the beauty Washington, D.C., has to offer in the background. It is an experience that simply cannot be topped.

A Unique Travel Experience

Make the historic Hay-Adams Hotel part of your travels if you are coming to Washington, D.C., to take in the incredible sights the city offers, to do business, or to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime event. Whether you stay in the outstanding accommodations, dine in one of its restaurants, stop in for a glass of wine at the bar, or plan your wedding at the Top of the Hay, you will be thrilled and delighted by all that this modern wonder has to offer.


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