Where can I stay safely and cheaply in D.C.?
My daughter, a rabbi, has been invited to give the invocation to the combined US House and Senate on Feb. 7. Can you recommend a moderately priced hotel near the Capitol in a safe area? E.A., Bedford.
There's no shortage of decently-priced hotels in the District of Columbia. Downtown you will find chain hotels: Marriott, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, etc. If you're looking for something with more character, The Hotel George (202-347-4200, hotelgeorge.com) is a stone's throw from the Capitol and within walking distance of the National Mall, the Smithsonian museums, and the National Gallery of Art. Part of the San Francisco-based boutique chain Kimpton Hotels, the George has a contemporary-yet-comfortable flair, from the Warhol-esque portrait of George Washington in the lobby to the leopard print robes in the guest rooms. The weekday rate starts at $269, but once you hit the weekend it's $149. One thing to keep in mind if you choose to stay near the Capitol is that the area can be a little too quiet at night and you should be aware of your surroundings.
A potentially more comfortable alternative, especially for a solo traveler, is Dupont Circle, a 15-minute cab ride to the Capitol (and 12 blocks to the White House). The area is lively after dark and there is a lovely bed-and-breakfast in a 19th-century mansion called Swann House (202-265-4414, swannhouse.com). The 12 rooms are each uniquely decorated and start at $150 a night, including a breakfast spread featuring items from local farmers and organic growers.