Capital Comfort: The Madison Hotel

Conveniently located in the heart of D.C.’s most popular attractions, The Madison Hotel stands out for its bold blend of classical and glamorous style and its cozy amenities.

Mere blocks away from the National Mall sits The Madison Hotel, a legacy hotel that has hosted many dignitaries since former President John F. Kennedy officially opened it in 1963. Known as D.C.’s first modern luxury hotel, The Madison can best be described as a contemporary colonial hotel with 356 rooms, including 60 suites (38 suites and 22 junior suites), with select suites. It is also Marriott property which means it qualifies as part of the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards program. For Marriott Bonvoy Elite members, The Madison’s newly renovated lounge, Club Madison, offers a private alcove to dine, work, or relax. Members are offered complimentary breakfast from 6:30 – 10 a.m., including coffee, eggs, and assorted hot breakfast options, fruit, yogurt, and pastries. From 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Club Madison will serve hors d’oeuvres, such as crab cake sliders, light desserts, beer, and wine.

Upon entering, guests are greeted with a lobby clad from floor to ceiling in velvet, marble, and brass. This theme continues through to the lobby bar, The Lady Madison or Lady M, which features a backlit bar and marble countertop with brass accents. Here the bartender crafts a signature tequila and is stocked with a variety of wines and beers. The bartender can also craft a specialty featured cocktail, making sure to keep the spirits flowing from 4 pm to 11 pm. The corridor and sitting areas offer a mix of midcentury whimsy and art deco-inspired wall paneling. From the first impression, the decor announces elevated glam.

Rooms are available in several sizes and layouts to accommodate any need. Junior Suites are spacious yet still cozy to come back to after a long day of touring the city. The best spot for a grab-and-go breakfast is found on-site at The Marketplace. There is also on-site dining where guests can visit Lady Madison and indulge in coconut shrimp appetizers, Cedar-Plank salmon which is topped with a pineapple-cucumber relish and end with a classic raspberry and vanilla New York style cheesecake.

Many highlights of the city are accessible on foot to guests of The Madison, starting with the White House, located three just blocks from the hotel. From there, guests can wander the Penn Quarter neighborhood and visit Ford’s Theater, the site of the assassination of President Lincoln, pass through Chinatown and Capital One Arena, and stop by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 

The National Mall is a big place and does require a few days to explore. Simply cruising and enjoying views of the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial, takes at least half a day, and that’s only on the west side of the Mall. It’s hard not to be taken by the historic moments that took place on these very paths — the Civil Rights March led by Martin Luther King Jr., and the protests against the Vietnam War. There is an aura that accompanies the magnificent pools in front of the Lincoln Memorial. From there, visitors can hop into a cab and make their way across the bridge to Arlington Cemetery. A tour or a map makes it easy to navigate towards the famed residents of the cemetery, including former President John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onasis.

Heading back east, visitors will find the famed Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of the American Indians, Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, and finally the United States Capitol Building. The famed dome can be seen from a distance as people enjoy the grassy fields that surround the building. Directly behind the Capitol Building, the east side of the National Mall ends with a look at the towering columns of the Supreme Court of the United States.

On the way back to The Madison, guests can grab dinner at Mazi DC, a modern restaurant that specializes in New American cuisine and sits only two blocks from the hotel. The honey feta cheese is a delicious light bite to start your dinner. A standout entreé is the lamb burger, the tender juiciness of the meat paired with feta cheese, arugula, mint, and caramelized shallots. The toppings bring a freshness to the flavor of the meal that makes it easy to forget you’re eating a burger.

Catch a short cab ride over to Quattro Osteria, an Italian restaurant that stuns with natural ivy vine elements throughout to make diners feel as though they’re in the Italian countryside. The strongest starters are the Fiori di Zucca, zucchini blossoms stuffed with smoked buffalo provola, and tomato coulis, as well as the tuna tartare. The standout dish is the tortellini ripieni di carbonara, which is tortellini filled with carbonara and topped with pecorino and black truffle. Another favorite dish is the risotto alle capasante made with a green pea puree base, topped with scallops and ampulian burrata. For dessert, indulge in tiramisu to top off a delicious dinner. 

Walk off dinner and keep the night going by making a stop at the Barcelona Wine Bar which is stocked with a variety of delectable wines from around the world, though most are from Spain, naturally. The wine bar also offers mouthwatering brunch, dinner, and tapas menus along with a variety of charcuterie boards to accompany the spirits. The menu’s standouts include signature Spanish dishes like green tomato gazpacho, steamed mussels with a white wine sauce, albondigas in a jamón-tomato sauce, and pulpo a la plancha, the ever-so-delicious grilled octopus. If all of these options aren’t enough, the olive oil cake is rich, moist, and not overpowered with sweetness.

For those looking to explore D.C.’s lively nightlife, El Techo’s rooftop is the perfect place. Located in the Westminster neighborhood of D.C. the rooftop offers a wide variety of Mexican food. For smaller bites, share classic carnitas or pork taco and explore a remix of the classics like shrimp or mojito chicken. For bigger meals, the lomo saltado is not to be missed. The extensive cocktail menu offers margarita varieties from a spicy mezcal to a boozy twist on a Granada Fresca. The decor features draped greenery and palms to leave diners feeling as if they’ve been teleported to a tropical island.

After a late night, start the day at Ted’s Bulletin, one of the most colonial-inspired, and fresh breakfasts found in D.C. Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, this is the place to enjoy meatloaf over mash, apple cider pancakes, and a harvest salad featuring ingredients that are local to the region such as butternut squash, farro, gala apples, and pecans, all drizzled with an apple cider vinaigrette. One of the more surprising menu items is the Gochujang Tuna Tartare, accompanied with crispy wonton, Kewpie mayo, jalapeño, and furikake. It isn’t traditionally American but is a beautifully prepared appetizer. A classically delicious dessert on the menu is the apple pie Ted’s tart, which is the perfect portion for topping off a savory brunch.

Washington D.C. is a large multi-cultural city with many attractions to keep visitors busy, and a vibrant dining and nightlife scene that is uniquely regional. With its attentive service, rich history, and prime location, The Madison Hotel is the ideal place to lay your head after spending a day exploring a new city.