Washington DC is one of those places that is constantly changing, yet some places are still cherished for their history. The Willard InterContinental Hotel is one such place. The Willard is so full of history that you’d be hard pressed to find someone in DC who hasn’t been there – whether to stay in one of their beautiful guest rooms, attend an event in the magnificent banquet halls, or even just have a drink in the Round Robin Scotch Bar (which is how I first discovered the Willard years ago when I first started visiting DC on work trips, long before I moved here).
The building of the Willard was built in 1901, but a hotel had been on the site for nearly 100 years prior. Due to its Pennsylvania Avenue address, located only steps from the White House, the Willard has hosted scores of famous, important types over the years, including nearly every president since the 1850s. The hotel was closed in 1968 and reopened in the late 1980s after a lengthy restoration and joining the InterContinental family.
We were considering the Willard for a 200+ person event in the fall so I headed over to do a quick site visit. I didn’t get a chance to peek at the sleeping rooms (although I’ve stayed there and they are wonderful) or even all of the meeting space (there is over 20,000 square feet), but I did get a chance to tour the lower level, which has the Ballroom and several smaller rooms and board rooms.
The ballroom is spectacular. I don’t usually gush this much over space, but this is one heckuva windowless ballroom. See for yourself:
The ballroom is 4,700 square feet and would hold 450 theatre style.
Even the lobby is lovely:
And the foyer:
The Buchanan Room, 1,100 square feet and capacity for 90 theatre style:
The Pierce Room, 1,900 square feet and capacity for 220 theatre style:
Even the board rooms (Fillmore, Taylor & Garfield) were lovely.
I love that each of the rooms have a slightly different character – so nice to see in ballroom level spaces!
Of course the Willard is famous for its service, it is definitely an upscale, luxury hotel. And for that, you pay the price. But for the space it has to offer (and the amazing location), it is able to command those prices. And while it does a good amount of meeting and event business, it also is one of the top spots for DC society weddings – *swoon*.
Next time you’re in DC, if you haven’t stopped by the Willard yet, make sure you do so! Even if nothing else but to step into this amazing lobby:
Have you hosted or attended a meeting or event at the Willard? What did you think?