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Washington DC's Wonderful Willard Hotel: An American Treasure


by Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer


Recently we needed a place to stay for an appearance for both of us at the National Press Club Book Fair in Washington, D.C. to promote our books It Happened in Miami and When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl.

How fortunate could we be – right across the street from where we were to appear – DC's property of choice – the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel.

The Willard is a landmark hotel, a stately property rich in tradition, elegance and style, a place of calm with its ascendant columns and gilded ceilings. Its location is in the heart of downtown D.C. Two blocks from the White House, within walking distance of the National Mall and Smithsonian Museums, Theater District and much more. It's also is a prolific award winner – Forbes Four Star, Travel & Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels, 2015, AAA Four Diamond Award, U.S. News & World Report’s Top Hotels, 2015 and more.

The Willard has a history that parallels and underscores so much of American history. Built in 1850, it's often been referred to as "the crown jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue," among other things playing host to virtually every U.S. President since Franklin Pierce in 1853, thus richly earning another nickname - “residence of the Presidents.”

It was at the Willard on August 28, 1963, that the Reverend Martin Luther King finished writing his famous “I Have A Dream” speech while a guest; final edits were made here hours before he delivered the speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

photo: EQRoy

The Willard has also hosted a multitude of luminaries, dignitaries and celebrities, such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Samuel Morse, Harry Houdini, Gypsy Rose Lee, Gloria Swanson, Emily Dickinson, Buffalo Bill, David Lloyd George, P.T. Barnum, Lord and Lady Napier, and more recently, Bob Fosse, U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,

Even apart from all the history and tradition, being at the Willard Intercontinental is to feel and experience today – the ambience, the rhythm, the style, the flow of a truly great hotel.

As travel writers who have been to many outstandingly unique properties all over the globe, it was something special to be in the nation’s capitol and experience this gem on Pennsylvania Avenue

From the moment our car pulled up to the entranceway, to the swiftness and efficiency of those who greeted us, to the skillful staff behind the front desk who signed us in, the baggage person who unloaded our ample luggage – this was what we expected of a-top-of-the-hill property - and we received it.

The momentum of perfection and friendliness was evident in all aspects of our being there – service in the restaurant, make-up of our suite, and smiling employees who answered our questions on a variety of topics.

One of the true highlights of our stay was breakfast and dinner at Café du Parc. Comfortable, welcoming, with a pleasing style all its own, food and service was A-plus.

Just a remarkable example of how a truly splendid and opulent hotel keeps its excellent consistency throughout all aspects of its operation. And the views inside of the hotel and outside looking out its windows was to feel the history and tradition, to marvel at the views of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial.

There are many terrific hotels in our nation’s capitol. And we have been pampered guests in our share of them. Pressed to rank them, the WONDROUS WILLARD INTERCONTINENTAL: AN AMERICAN TREASURE ranks at the very top of the list.

It is king of the hill.


Willard InterContinental

1401 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20004-1010

(202) 628-9100 (800) 827-1747

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