What is The Jefferson?
At the elegant and intimate Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC, every guest is made to feel presidential. This jewelbox luxury hotel is located four blocks from the White House, which can be glimpsed from the top-floor Jefferson Suite.
The Jefferson is a top choice of discerning luxury travelers to America's capital. This private-feeling, 99-room property is a refined luxury hotel. It has earned four diamonds from AAA and four stars from Forbes. In 2012 The Jefferson was named the #1 Hotel in Washington DC by Travel & Leisure. And it is the only US hotel named a "Hot List All-Star" by Condé Nast Traveler.
The Jefferson justly prides itself on several rare attributes:
- Its handsome Beaux Arts architecture
- Its fascinating collection of period art and Jeffersoniana
- Its superb restaurant, Plume
- Its dramatic and cozy lounge, Quill
- Its central location in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, close to museums, parks, and government buildings
- Its welcoming pet policy: canines under 27 lbs. are welcome, free of charge (but not cats or larger dogs)
- And, perhaps above all, its intimate ambience and personalized service
What It's Like to Check into The Jefferson
One of the first things you notice when you enter The Jefferson's lobby is what's not there: no newsstand, no shops, no check-in counter or conventional front desk.
Instead, right in front of you is a set of wrought-iron gates suggesting a mansion's portal. Just beyond the gates, you see a barrel-vaulted skylight. This delicate structure was long-forgotten and uncovered in the hotel's 2007-to-2009 renovation. The skylight dramatically frames the Greenhouse, a bright, lovely breakfast room flanked by limestone fountains.
To your right, in an alcove before a 19th-century mural of a pastoral landscape, are two splendid antique desks such as you might see in the library of a manor home. Each desk faces a pair of upholstered wood-frame chairs.
Have a seat. A well-dressed, well-spoken staffer will welcome you warmly, check you in, and see to your needs. (If you prefer, you can simply pick up your keys and finish checking in from your room.)
What Makes The Jefferson Feel Like a Private Mansion
Everything about The Jefferson is designed to foster the lovely illusion that you are a guest in a gracious private home. This home, you sense, belongs to a person of considerable wealth, refinement, and quiet charm. A person who happens to fill her home with art and memorabilia relating to the third President of the United States.
Actually, this isn't far from the truth. That person is Constance J. Milstein, a prominent Washington attorney, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
In 2006, Connie, as she is called, bought what was then the Jefferson Hotel through her company, Ogden CAP Properties. A hands-on owner, she proceeded to guide the hotel through a renovation that amounted to a transformation.
Connie "wanted the renovation to be an extension of her home in Georgetown," Jefferson concierge Lynn Hight told me. "That's why there's art and residential furniture everywhere. And its why we don't charge for telephone calls—because she said she would never charge guests in her home for phone calls." (Of course, she wouldn't charge them to eat at her home and sleep over, either, but there are limits to everything.)