Capitalize on Culture at the W in Washington, DC

November 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC, US – When we were in elementary school, the cheesiest joke in the playground was, “What’s the capital of our nation’s capital”? The punch line, of course, was “W,” and the joke, an unimpressive and unamusing crack at wordplay. Those playground jokesters’ attempted wit, however, may have been more clever than even they thought. Due to the abiding popularity of W Washington D.C.or in common parlance, just “W”—that letter has taken central and indeed, capital-like significance in Washington, DC.

The W is DC’s capital in the most fundamental way: local character. Capitals have to be in and of the region they represent, and W sets up shop in the space vacated by the former Hotel Washington, a historic Beaux Arts building. References to that style further abound in the W redesign, from fireplace motifs to swanky chandeliers to a checkerboard-tiled ground floor. Lamps nest in busts of George Washington throughout, and fluffy chippendale sofas in the lobby lounge wouldn’t look out of place down in the White House. (It doesn’t hurt the hotel’s relevance that it’s only a block from that landmark, the city’s unofficial focal point.)

But even with stylin’ guestrooms featuring iPod docks, custom chaises, and “munchie boxes”; digital fireplaces; and hints of pop art in the lobby alongside all the historic bits, W isn’t only a capital by design. In a holdover from its Hotel Washington days, when it drew luminaries from Marilyn Monroe to Harrison Ford, W has gotten the public’s vote of confidence, too. It might be Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s touch, which also worked its magic in New York, but full-time Washingtonians flock to his restaurant here like pundits to a policy. Locals also hang out at the fun Bliss (the city’s only outpost of this popular pampering den) and P.O.V Rooftop Lounge and Terrace, a café and weekend brunch spot as well as a rooftop bar with one of DC’s most selective bouncers—so much so that they may well outnumber out-of-town guests.

Now that’s one punch line that makes us smile.

Read more about the W Washington D.C. in our Washington, DC Guide.

W Washington DC
515 15th St., NW
Washington, DC

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