Hamilton Hotel DC Our Story

Our Story

About Hamilton Hotel

Hamilton Hotel Washington, D.C. has been a notable destination in the heart of the nation’s capital since 1922. Explore our storied past, the history behind the name, and how we’ve transformed into an iconic landmark with a unique approach to hospitality and modern luxury.

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In the Beginning – 1851 to 1922

For almost a century, Hamilton Hotel Washington, D.C. has stood as an impressive testament to Industrial Age ingenuity, classic European architecture, and a distinctly American presence. In fact, its very origins resonate with historical significance, prestige, and glamor.

The current building was constructed on the site of the original Hamilton Hotel, an 1851 brick building once used as a private school. In the early 1860s, it was then purchased and converted by Admiral Horatio Bridge, who changed its name to Hamilton Hotel. This was in honor of Mrs. Hamilton Holly—a friend of the Admiral’s wife and the daughter of Alexander Hamilton, American statesman and Founding Father of the United States.

Considered a genteel landmark by the end of the 19th century, this first Hamilton was renowned for “the easy leather chairs in its lobby and the sophistication of its residents” and “the scene of much political gossip.”


An Iconic Landmark – 1922 to 2018

In 1921, the 70-year-old building was purchased by the Hamilton Hotel Corporation, a group of business people and bankers from Washington and New York. The group planned to demolish and build an 11-story, 300-room hotel, which was to be designed by celebrated architect Jules Henri de Sibour.

Completed in 1922, the new Hamilton Hotel blended elements of the Beaux Arts and Art Deco styles, and featuring bas relief ornamentation of terra cotta and stone. With its triumphal arch and vaulted entry, grand lobby, marble floors, ornately designed interiors, and natural light in every room, the hotel offered a luxurious experience at a reasonable price, and it quickly became a hub of social life and commerce.

Over the ensuing decades—as Hamilton Hotel underwent several major renovations, in keeping with the demands of a modern hotel—it has hosted everyone from musicians and entertainers to labor leaders and presidents. (In fact, Hamilton Hotel was the site for many inaugural balls, including the gathering for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who also used the hotel as his War Room during World War II.)

Despite Hamilton Hotel’s many incarnations, renovations, and celebrations since 1922, “the building retains its integrity of location, setting, design, materials, workmanship, association, and feeling.” And today, Hamilton Hotel Washington, D.C. is proudly present on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Where the Past Meets the Future

Through its present-day transformation into an iconic landmark with a unique approach to modern luxury, Hamilton Hotel continues to honor its illustrious past. A wide range of refurbishments and enhancements—including the newly concepted restaurant Via Sophia, exclusive partnerships, themed guest suites, and elevated guest amenities—capture the unique essence of Washington, D.C. and offer a superior new guest experience.

In particular, the lobby redesign transforms the prominent entrance space by embracing its original history and ornate Beaux-Arts architectural style. Interiors are inspired by the refined and avant-garde taste of many prominent American families of the 1930s, such as the Rockefellers. Artwork includes American landscape paintings, and modernist furniture is either designed, or reflective of Jean-Michel Frank—a prominent creative visionary from this era and known for his minimalist interiors decorated with simple and elegant forms in luxurious material.

The hotel’s lobby also features an intimate lounge bar, Society, that is hidden by day and revealed to patrons as the clock strikes happy hour. Part bar, part meeting place and part library, the exclusive space hints at de Sibour’s early life as a member of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society and transports guests back to his days as a Prohibition-era architect.

Just as stunning inside as it is out, Hamilton Hotel offers guests a stay that is authentic, comfortable, and luxurious, with superior amenities, a sophisticated culinary scene, and cutting-edge technology. And as an independent hotel, it also creates unique, thoughtful experiences, services, and offerings that celebrate the distinctive personality of Washington, D.C.

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Our Exclusive Partners & Tastemakers

To help take us into the future, Hamilton Hotel is proud to offer a menu of elevated guest experiences in collaboration with our exclusive partners. Plus, we’ve also curated an insider’s list of the top things to do in Washington, D.C. with some of D.C.’s leading trendsetters in wellness, fashion, art, and more.

Discover how we continue to elevate every moment that counts.

Immerse Yourself in History

Relax in our elegant accommodations and explore the epicenter of American history.

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Guest Rooms & Suites

Feel at home in guest rooms and suites where thoughtful amenities have been carefully selected for your comfort and wellbeing.

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Things to Do in D.C.

Benefit from an insider’s perspective on local hot spots, under-the-radar destinations, and the best things to do in Washington, D.C.

A map of Hamilton Hotel and the surrounding area in downtown Washington D.C.

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