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Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 148;
Hotel History: The Churchill (1906), Washington, District of Columbia*

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Originally built as a luxury apartment building in 1906, the developers promised "every convenience of a modern hotel with the restful quietude and exclusiveness of a private residence." When it opened it was known as the "Highlands" at its exclusive Connecticut Avenue address. Construction costs totaled more than $200,000, an incredible sum for the time. Its proximity to Embassy Row and the capitol attracted many diplomats, dignitaries and politicians when it was an apartment house.

The Churchill apartment building was designed by the architect Arthur B. Heaton (1875-1951). Heaton designed more than 1,000 structures that included lavish apartment buildings, theaters and private mansions in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. When he opened his own office in 1898, Heaton designed four important apartment houses in the first two years of his practice, an impressive accomplishment for any aspiring architect. They included the Augusta (1900), the Marlborough (1901), the Montgomery (1901), and the Highlands (1902).

In 1955, the Highlands was sold to a group of investors who redesigned and renovated it into a luxury hotel. The inside rooms were gutted, but the outside structure remained. The Churchill Hotel now stands as a technologically advanced modern hotel with its same pre-war elegance. The character and charm of this historic Washington hotel is self evident in its Beaux-Arts architecture. The eight-story structure is perfectly symmetrical and framed in stone. It has a unique frontcourt facing Connecticut Avenue and a circular driveway led up by a flight of stairs with a stone balustrade. These classic architectural elements are complemented inside the lobby by a host of modern amenities, creating one of the most unique hotels in America.

Guests and temporary residents have included diplomats, dignitaries, politicians, business travelers and prominent families. Visitors are attracted by the Churchill Hotel's location on Embassy Row and the nearby dining and cultural attractions. Not only is the hotel rich in heritage, but the Dupont Circle neighborhood itself is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. No matter how guests wish to spend their downtime, they will find a restaurant, café or club nearby at which to relax.

Convenient to three airports and blocks away from the Dupont Circle Metro, it's easy to get to the Churchill Hotel. With an upscale dining establishment, business center, fitness room and in-room spa services, the hard part is forcing yourself to leave. Churchill Hotel has just undergone renovations to maintain the beauty of its upscale, pristine design and gorgeous chandeliers. Now a full-service hotel, the property offers the comfort of a well-designed home and almost every service you can imagine.
*excerpted from my book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013)

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About Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Stanley_Turkel_3.jpgStanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely-published authors in the hospitality field. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by The New York Times. His fourth hotel book was described by The New York Times: "Nostalgia for the City's caravansaries will be kindled by Stanley Turkel's...fact-filled...Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf."


Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi is available for purchase from the publisher by visiting

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