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The Graham Georgetown, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2018, dates back to 1962.


A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2018, The Graham Georgetown is truly a place where timeless sophistication meets contemporary comfort. Indeed, the hotel has been one of the most beloved destinations in Washington’s upscale neighborhood of Georgetown. By the middle of the 20th century, Georgetown was rapidly cementing its status as the premier haunt for the city’s numerous dignitaries. Many local entrepreneurs subsequently sought to open their own hotels in Georgetown as a way to capitalize on the trend. They specifically hoped that their buildings would appeal to those politicians who were only visiting Washington on official business. Among the structures to emerge amid this wave of construction was the Hotel Monticello, which first debuted in 1962. Located off of Thomas Jefferson Avenue, the hotel was an homage to U.S. President and Founding Father Thomas Jefferson. The architectural team that worked on the building used a brilliant blend of Federalist-themed architecture for its façade, along with several unique Victorian-era finishes. Their design ultimately produced a beautiful structure that perfectly complemented Georgetown’s special historical character. The Hotel Monticello subsequently emerged as one of the most luxurious destinations in Georgetown, even as more competitors debuted nearby. Its unrivaled elegance and spectacular charm managed to elevate its stature, helping it outlast nearly all of its rivals!

Despite its success, the hotel nonetheless underwent a significant, multimillion-dollar renovation that saw the building reopened as “The Graham Georgetown” in 2013. Like the building’s previous title, the new name was inspired by another famous Georgetown resident, Alexander Graham Bell. Throughout his life, Bell had sought to help others—particularly the hearing and sight-impaired—as both an educator and inventor. As such, Bell created renowned inventions like the telephone. His work even led him to become one of the founders of the National Geographic Society. As such, the owners of The Graham Georgetown updated its identity to reflect his values of constant innovation, functional invention, and timeless intelligence. The renovations itself was just as transformative, as it expanded upon the hotel’s available amenities exponentially. It specifically installed a fitness center, two restaurants and a renowned open-air rooftop lounge that measured some 3,500 sq. ft. The work even constructed nearly two dozen additional guestrooms, while also transforming nearly 30 others into opulent one-bedrooms suites. Known as “The Graham Georgetown” this fantastic historic hotel continues to be one of Georgetown’s best hotels. It very much remains a popular place for both world leaders and proud parents of local university students of neighboring Georgetown University.

  • About the Location +

    The Graham Georgetown resides in the quaint neighborhood of Georgetown, which also happens to be one of the most historic in the District of Columbia. Indeed, the community actually predates Washington itself by about four decades! While Anacostia Native Americans had frequented the area for centuries, it was two European colonists named Niall Beall and George Gordon who created the first known permanent settlements. Beall originally arrived at the beginning of the 18th century, He had immigrated directly from Scotland and built a sprawling farmstead known as the “Rock of Dumbarton.” George Gordon then came four decades later to create his own estate, “Rock Creek Plantation.” Despite their presence, the colonial Maryland legislature eventually decided to construct an official town in the area. In 1751, the Maryland General Assembly enacted its plan and approved a commission to purchase some 60 acres from Beall and Gordon. The commissioners then spent the next several months parceling out the land into a street grid with 80 different lots. Settlers from across the Mid-Atlantic soon moved into the new community, which they called “Georgetown.” (No official record exists that explains the reason behind its name. Some scholars speculate that it was a homage to King George II of Great Britain, while others believe it honored George Gordon.) Driving the town’s growth was its proximity to the Potomac River and the maritime trade that it facilitated. Indeed, the town was soon filled with many wharves and warehouses that handled numerous agricultural goods from across the Mid-Atlantic region. Tobacco soon became the main crop ferried into Georgetown, which introduced unprecedented wealth into the community. As such, Georgetown was gradually home to many ornately crafted brick townhouses and storefronts.

    The Maryland General Assembly finally granted Georgetown its own communal charter in the wake of the American Revolution. But thanks to the efforts of President George Washington, the entire community was absorbed into the District of Columbia in 1791. (Washington had specifically engaged in numerous negotiations at a local haunt called “Suter’s Tavern.) Georgetown remained an autonomous jurisdiction within the territory for the next few decades, where it continued to be an important port. The debut of the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in the early 19th century helped preserve this status, as it further augmented the ability of riverboat captains to transport their goods into the community. The prosperity also inspired Washington’s nascent political class to move into the town, as well. Despite its prestigious influence, Georgetown nonetheless lost its remaining independence revoked by Congress in 1871. Streets throughout the erstwhile town were gradually renamed in order to accommodate the preexisting ones that already existed in Washington proper. The demise of the canal marked the beginning of Georgetown’s gradual decline as a commercial port as well, although some heavy industry remained active for years thereafter. But Georgetown was still very much a desirable place to live among Washingtonians, especially among the city’s black population. In fact, Georgetown saw the development of a thriving African American community that endured well into the 20th century.

    Today, the neighborhood continues to be an incredibly vibrant within greater Washington, D.C. Many politicians continue to choose the area as their primary residence in the city, as well as their favorite place to conduct business or just relax. Georgetown is also one of the most exciting places for tourists to visit, too, especially the country’s enthusiastic cultural heritage travelers. Not only is it listed as a U.S. National Historic Landmark District, but it is also home to a number of outstanding cultural institutions. Among the most noteworthy are Georgetown University, Georgetown Waterfront Park, the Old Stone House, the Dumbarton Oaks Museum, the Tudor Place Historic House & Garden, and the remnants of the once mighty Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Georgetown’s location within Washington also places it close to many other fascinating destinations. Just to the north of Georgetown is the renowned Embassy Row and the Washington National Cathedral. Over to the east across Rock Creek resides Dupont Circle and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Lincoln Memorial and the White House are only a few more minutes deeper into the city, as are the Pennsylvania Avenue Historic Site, the Washington Monument, the National Mall, and the United States Capitol. And just across the river resides Arlington National Cemetery and the upscale community of Alexandria, Virginia. Truly few places in the District of Columbia can rival Georgetown with its rich history and accessible location.

  • About the Architecture +

    The Graham Georgetown has displayed one prominent architectural style throughout its history: Federal—or at least a 20th-century recreation of it. Historically speaking, Federal architecture dominated American cities and towns during the nation’s formative years, which historians best identify as lasting from 1780 to 1840. The name itself is a tribute to that period, in which America’s first political leaders sought to establish the foundations of the current federal government. Fundamentally, the architectural form had evolved from the earlier Georgian design principles that had greatly influenced both British and American culture throughout most of the 18th century.  The similarities between the two art forms have even inspired some scholars to refer to Federalist architecture as a mere refinement of the earlier Georgian aesthetic. Oddly enough, though, the architect deemed responsible for popularizing Federal style in the United States, was in fact, not an American. Robert Adams was the United Kingdom’s most popular architect at the time, with his work largely involved providing his own spin on the infusion of neoclassical design principles with Georgian architecture. (This is also the reason why some refer to Federal architecture as “Adam-style architecture.”) As such, his new variation spread quickly across England, defining its civic landscape for much of the Napoleonic Era. Despite the bitter resentments that most Americans harbored toward Great Britain at the time, their cultural perceptions of the world were still largely influenced by the old mother country. Thus, Adams’ new take on Georgian architecture rapidly spread throughout the United States as it had previously across the Atlantic. 

    Unlike many other popular American architectural forms, Federal style is easily recognizable due to its unique symmetrical and geometric design elements. Most structures created with Federal architecture typically stand two to three stories in height and are rectangular (sometimes square) in their overall shape. While the buildings normally extended two rooms in width, larger structures would usually contain several more. In some cases, circular or oval-shaped rooms functioned as the center living space. The outside façade of a Federal-style building was simplistic in their appearance, although some detailed brass and iron decorations made their appearance, too. Perhaps the most common form that the ornamentations assumed were elliptical figures, as well as circular and fan-shaped motifs. Architects concentrated those features around the front entrance, where cornices, iron molding, and a beautifully sculpted fanlight resided. (Fanlights are a regular design element for Federalist buildings, appearing in other locations throughout the top of the structure, as well). The exterior walls themselves were primarily composed of clapboard out in the country but consisted of brick in urban areas. Palladian-themed windows also proliferated throughout the façade, installed in a way that conveyed a deep sense of balance. Roofing was also hipped and contained simple gables and dormers that allowed for natural light to more easily infiltrate the upper echelons of the structure.