|Located in Lafayette Square
across from the White House, The Hay-Adams is one of Washington D.C.'s
most revered landmarks. This classic hotel is named after the
distinguished residents who previously lived on its site: John Hay,
Private Assistant to President Abraham Lincoln and later Secretary of
State, and Henry Adams, an acclaimed author and descendant of U.S.
Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
The site where The Hay-Adams is now located has long been a favorite
gathering place in the nation's capital. In 1884, renowned architect
Henry Hobson Richardson designed elaborate, Romanesque homes at 16th and
H Streets that became Washington's leading salons for years. The
stimulating discussions of politics, literature, science and art
attracted the era's leading artists, writers and politicians, including
sculptor August Saint-Gaudens, Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt and Mark
Hay, Adams, their wives, Clara and Marian and geologist Clarence King
formed a close group of friends who dubbed themselves "The Five of
Hearts." They even had china and letterhead made that featured moniker.
Hay died in 1905, and after Clara died in 1914, ownership of the Hay
house passed to their daughter Alice Wadsworth and her husband, Senator
James Wadsworth. After Adams died in 1918, the Wadsworths bought his
house, which they leased to the Brazilian Embassy.
The Hay-Adams Hotel
Washington developer Harry Wardman bought and razed both homes in 1927.
In their place, he constructed an Italian Renaissance-style
apartment-hotel designed by architect Mirhan Mesrobian. The 138-room
Hay-Adams House cost $900,000. It featured a dazzling array of
architectural elements, many of which have been preserved to this day
including Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders, walnut wainscoting and
intricate ceiling treatments with Tudor, Elizabethan and Italian motifs.
Wood paneling from the Hay residence found a new home in the grand
public space now known as the John Hay Room.
The Hay-Adams House opened in 1928 and quickly attracted prominent
Washingtonians and elite travelers, including Ethel Barrymore, Amelia
Earhart, Sinclair Lewis and Charles Lindbergh. Guests were drawn to the
hotel by its unparalleled views of the White House, Lafayette Square and
St. John's Church, as well as such amenities as large suites, kitchens,
steam heat, elevators, circulating ice water, and, in 1930, Washington's
first air-conditioned dining room.
Rebirth of a Washington Classic
In 2001, the hotel closed its doors for a major renovation. In the
spring of 2002, the Hay-Adams re-emerged, stunningly restored with its
unique ambiance enhanced with distinctive luxury features orchestrated
by widely acclaimed Washington designer, Thomas Pheasant.
The spirit of hospitality originated by the John Hay and Henry Adams
households lives on at the Hay-Adams today. The stability and strength
of its management and staff combined with distinctive luxury features
create the residence of choice for discriminating visitors and an
elegant oasis for the citizens of Washington.
The Hay-Adams has maintained its reputation over the years due to the
dedication and sensitivities of its private owners and its dedicated