Inside the Waldorf Astoria that replaced the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C.

March 18, 2023, 4:00 AM UTC
The Old Post Office, an architectural monument noted for its historic grandeur and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, has been newly reimagined as Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

One of the newest premium luxury hotels in the nation’s capitol is located in an old favorite. Opened last summer, the Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C. is the 13th location for the Hilton-owned brand in the United States, with a total of 34 worldwide.

And located at the Old Post Office Pavilion—a Romanesque Revival building that first opened in 1899 and served as D.C.’s General Post Office until 1914 and is now a historic landmark—it replaced a well-known previous tenant: the Trump International. The latter had only been open since 2016 before closing in 2022. However, when the Waldorf management made plans to takeover, very little work needed to be done as the building (including all of the guest rooms, suites, public areas, restaurants, etc.) had already been renovated and upgraded to the utmost luxury (and even opulent) standards.

Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C. is steps from the White House.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

Of course, this being a Waldorf Astoria, the new management did make a few changes to reflect the brand—starting with the hotel’s signature lobby clock. A nod to the first Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, every location has a lobby area and cocktail bar known as Peacock Alley (truly a place to see and be seen), centered around an antique grandfather clock. 

An exterior shot of the Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C. at the Old Post Office Pavilion.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

But at the Old Post Office, there’s a new (or perhaps, “old”) spin on this. Part of the draw for Waldorf management was the location—specifically the Clock Tower at the Old Post Office. At 12 stories high, it’s actually the third tallest structure in D.C., after the Washington Monument and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Clock Tower is open to guests and the public alike, and offers spectacular views over the District, including nearby monuments and museums on the National Mall. (Both The Mall and the White House are within a very short walking distance of the Old Post Office.)

Inside a premier room at the Waldorf Astoria D.C.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

But back at the hotel, guests have several dining options onsite, from 24-hour room service as well as Peacock Alley, where refined versions of classic dishes are available all day, starting with breakfast going onward to lunch and dinner (and of course, cocktail hour anywhere in between). 

A ‘Continental Sour’ cocktail, a twist on the whiskey sour, served at The Bazaar.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

The Tasting Salon, located under the Clock Tower, lives up to its name and then some, offering private tastings featuring an extensive list of rare spirits and wines from around the world. Select tasting experiences include “A Taste of Buffalo Trace,” with a trio of Kentucky whiskies; “A Taste of Japan,” featuring a selection of Japanese whisky, each paying homage to deep Scottish traditions; “Celebration Bourbon,” spotlighting special release bourbons such as Orphan Barrel Rhetoric and Old Forester Birthday; and the Macallan vertical of collections from 12 to 25 years. 

Food pairings are also available, such as a caviar tasting, a selection of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, or a selection of hors d’oeuvres (such as ricotta arancini with preserved lemon, Japanese-style lobster roll, and wagyu beef skewers). Specialty curated menus are also available upon request, and prices range from $300 to $1,000 per person. Food pairings come at an additional cost.

The newest location of The Bazaar by Chef José Andrés is located within the hotel.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

But the cornerstone of the Waldorf Astoria D.C.’s dining program is the opening of the long-awaited restaurant by renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés. 

First conceived in Los Angeles in 2008, The Bazaar was designed to take guests on a sensory adventure while paying homage to the chef’s Spanish roots and inventive style. With more than 30 restaurant concepts open across the United States, the new Bazaar in D.C. is a special homecoming of sorts for the chef and his company as the José Andrés Group is headquartered in D.C. (Not to mention Andrés had previously been linked to open a Bazaar at the Old Post Office, which involved a lengthy legal battle with Trump Hotels that has been widely reported.)

Chef José Andrés’s signature ‘Rossejat’ dish made with shrimp.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

A vibrant mix of sophisticated cuisine and playful theatrics, each Bazaar location has been designed with its own unique flair. For the D.C. Bazaar, Spanish interior design firm Lázaro Rosa-Violán drew inspiration from the Pavilion’s grand architecture to create a home befitting of the Bazaar’s avant-garde delights. The multi-level destination begins with an elaborate, dedicated 6-seat bar outfitted with a brilliant green Aqua quartzite top and unique finishes such as textured glass, handcrafted tiles, and fabrics embellished with fringe, ushering guests from day to night.

An interior shot of The Bazaar by Chef José Andrés in D.C.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

Upstairs is a verdant oasis of lush, emerald velvet banquettes, custom floral fabrics inspired by the Spanish Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, black marble topped tables and golden glowing custom lighting fixtures elegantly finished with hammered brass. An array of plants—including ficus, pleomeles, and philodendrons—and an iconic gleaming orb above the entrance, are meant to inspire guests to feel as though they are dining under the moon. 

The new location in D.C. offers The Bazaar’s signature dishes, with the addition of onsite-only items inspired by Americana and U.S. history. Examples include the Crab Louie Cone, “Philly Cheesesteak” Airbread, and the Norwegian Lobster “Newberg,” and the “Eisenhower Stew,” a beef cheeks stew and a tribute to President Eisenhower’s favorite dish while he was in office. Local ingredients from Chesapeake Bay, such as Maryland blue crab and Rappahannock oysters, are prevalent throughout the menu.

Inside the Presidential Ballroom.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

The restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as an all-day bar service. Breakfast and lunch will be served on the lower level, while dinner will be served on the upper mezzanine level to provide a variety of different dining experiences throughout The Bazaar. 

The spa has five specialty treatment suites, including the Himalayan salt therapy room.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

With 263 expansive guest rooms and suites—including some of the largest guest rooms in the city—rooms at Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C. feature elements of the building’s original décor, including stately solid wood doors, wainscoting, and soaring windows.

Inside the living room of one of the townhouse suites.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

And the fully renovated marble bathrooms feature 6-foot tubs, separate glass-enclosed showers, and bath amenities from Aesop. Additional guest room amenities include a Nespresso machine, Frette bathrobes, electric sheers and black-out drapes, a clothing steamer, an electronic safe, and high-speed Wi-Fi. 

Inside the Nancy Hanks suite bathroom, named for the D.C. art historian who led the fight to save the Old Post Office from demolition in the late 20th century.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

And while the guest suites are ideal for working remotely (either for a short business trip or digital nomads looking for a longer stay), the Waldorf D.C. is positioning itself as a major site for corporate events and receptions with 38,000 square-feet of event space, including an opulent 13,200-square-foot ballroom, which can accommodate up to 1,300 guests for a standing reception.

Currently, room rates at the Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C. start at $575 per night for a deluxe king guest room.

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