Whether you stroll down the tree-lined streets of Georgetown, stand in awe in the shadow of great monuments, or peek through the iron fence at the White House, the whispers of history and the voices of our Founding Fathers resonate off stone edifices and cobbled lanes almost everywhere you venture in Washington, D.C.
It’s a city with an exciting calendar of embassy events, state dinners, cultural soirées, and swanky food and drink events. However, one day of the year, the Fourth of July, is particularly special.
The Place to Stay for Jaw-Dropping Fourth of July Views
The District of Columbia is the perfect backdrop for Independence Day’s colorful parades, outdoor concerts, and patriotic festivities, but if you want to stay at the best address (other than the White House, of course), a suite at The Hay-Adams Hotel is a must.
The panoramic view from the Top of the Hay, the hotel’s incomparable rooftop event space, is second to none in the capital. During the Fourth of July holiday, rooms at The Hay-Adams are in high demand, and maneuvering for a spot at the Top of the Hay for the Capitol Fourth’s firework show begins early. But one way to ensure a spot — and celebrate Independence Day in style — is to book The Hay-Adams Hotel’s luxurious 4th of July Dinner and Fireworks package. It exemplifies the hotel’s approach to hospitality, “where nothing is overlooked but the White House.”
What to Do
In addition to having the President of the United States for a neighbor (and panoramic views of the White House grounds), The Hay-Adams offers intimate views of Lafayette Square, and St. John's Church, the "Church of the Presidents." It’s also minutes away from The National Mall and the Smithsonian, as well as the exciting, newly renovated Renwick Gallery.
What to Expect
From the grand front entry, to the elegantly decorated dining rooms, The Hay-Adams is an elegant respite from a bygone era. Built in the 1920s, the lovely chandeliers, perfumed floral displays, serene color schemes, and welcoming ambience live up to the hotel’s original purpose as a glamorous residential hotel. Guests can choose from 145 guestrooms and 21 suites that offer a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of a busy capital.
Rooms and suites are decorated in muted colors that encourage rest and relaxation and are a beguiling mix of Queen Anne, French, and classic American design, as interpreted by renowned designer Tom Pheasant. Deeply comfortable beds accented with soft feather pillows invite you to linger between the sheets just a bit longer.
Discreet and attentive service is the staff’s raison d’être, and it’s this attention to detail that makes it the guest house for visiting heads of state and a sought after spot for meetings, events, weddings, weekend getaways, and family vacations. Long regarded as an oasis for a gourmet meal, the stylish dining room with touches of French elegance put the Lafayette Room at the top of many lists. The sound of piano music filters through conversations as you choose from the menu and extensive wine list, making for a pleasant and memorable meal. For celebrity- and people-watchers, the Lafayette Room is also known as one of the top spots in D.C. for early morning power breakfasts, but you’ll have to get up early to catch a glimpse of powerful Senators, ambassadors, and other political leaders.
I highly recommend you order room service if you want to avoid the fast lane at breakfast. My over-easy eggs arrived hot, perfectly prepared, and accompanied by tasty sausages, potatoes, and a steaming pot of organic Earl Gray tea. It took some discipline not to while away the morning with this meal and the views provided in my very own room.
Night owls on the prowl for more celebrity watching and a few good drinks should also head to the Off the Record bar in the bottom of the hotel. If the walls could talk in this famous bar, it would definitely make for interesting after-dinner conversation, and there is always a fun crowd of locals, power brokers, and out-of-town visitors. Decorated like a swanky speakeasy with plush, dark red velvet chairs and wood-paneled walls, Off the Record is almost as renowned as the hotel itself, and it’s easy to be lulled by whispered discussions, the clink of glasses, and the pop of Champagne corks. Summertime craft cocktails are well-made, so exploring the cocktail menu is a fun diversion, but the drink selection is also excellent if you prefer wine or spirits served neat.
The Hay-Adams “4th of July” package is available from $1,249 (excluding tax and gratuity) for a superior room for two adults. Children 12 years and under joining in the celebration may be included for $125 per kid. Reservations are made by calling (202) 638-6600, and a non-refundable payment will be secured at the time of booking. Guests will need to make their dinner reservations at the time of booking as well.
With this package, guests can choose to dine from two identical, three-course, prix-fixe dinner menus, either in the formal Lafayette Room, which offers white linen service, or the more casual Hay-Adams Room where service is buffet style. Dinner in both dining rooms is from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., in 30-minute intervals, and both include an open bar and wine service. In the Hay-Adams Room, there is also a children’s buffet with dishes the younger set will find more appealing.
What’s on the Menu
In both dining venues, the dinner menu features refreshing options like chilled soups, seasonal salads, and an extensive raw bar in addition to seasonal entrées. Dinner is followed by a sparkling soirée on the ninth floor, at the legendary Top of The Hay, which overlooks the White House and numerous monuments. Once there, you can watch the Capitol Fourth's spectacular fireworks display while enjoying a full open bar, passed cocktails, and a dessert buffet featuring pastry chef Josh Short’s signature strawberry shortcake, ice creams, and candies. The combination of music, color, incredible views, and moving patriotic themes is one Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would have found pleasing, so raise a toast to our nation’s birth and independence — it’s quite likely the Founding Fathers would also have agreed that celebrating the 4th of July at The Hay-Adams Hotel is an exceptional experience.