Many cheap hotels in Washington, D.C. are grungy affairs far from the action and from public transportation. But there’s a respectable crop of budget hotels that offer very good value.
The Best Cheap Hotels in Washington, D.C.
Whether it’s affordable English Manor-inspired lodging or sleek national chains, it is possible to stay in D.C. without breaking the bank. And if you have “French priorities”—the old artful way of suggesting that you’d happily skimp on hotel amenities to save money for food, wine, and more hedonistic pursuits—the following 10 budget hotels in Washington, D.C. will help you meet your goals.
If you’re looking for the English country inn experience in D.C., the Tabard Inn is your ticket. It may be a little quirky—its own website concedes that “not everyone is going to like it”—but it’s a local institution. It’s also one of best cheap hotels in Washington, D.C. The Tabard, whose name was inspired by The Canterbury Tales, is comprises several townhomes that have been joined together. There’s no elevator, many rooms have shared bathrooms, and rooms do not have TVs (they do have Wi-Fi, however). Despite—or because of—this, the Tabard has a cozy feel and a devoted following, plus a creditable restaurant and a comfortable, parlor-style bar.
Amenities: Guest passes to the nearby Washington Sports Center; $15 food and beverage credit at the restaurant and bar.
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At first blush, the micro-hotel known as Hotel Hive might sound like a glorified hostel: It’s composed of 125- to 250-square-foot “hives,” some of which the hotel warns are best suited “for those who go to bed late or can sleep through anything.” Yet since its opening in 2016, the Hotel Hive has been winning plaudits among travelers for its hip sensibility. Located in an atmospheric flatiron in Foggy Bottom, Hotel Hive is close to the Metro, the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House.
Amenities: Rooftop bar, smart TV, free stays for pets, and mini-fridge on request.
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You need to know what you’re getting into at Pod DC, a micro-hotel where rooms are a mere 150 square feet—they’ve been delicately referred to as “snug”—and have been ruthlessly stripped of amenities like fridges and microwaves. But thinking small can yield big rewards if you’re looking for cheap hotels in Washington, D.C. Pod DC, launched in 2017, is Penn Quarter’s hands-down budget star. It sits squarely in the heart of Chinatown, within walking distance of the National Portrait Gallery, the National Building Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the Smithsonian museums on the Mall. It doesn’t hurt that Pod DC has close access to a Metro stop—and a rooftop bar.
Amenities: 50-inch flat-screen TV, rooftop bar, and complimentary access to partner fitness facilities.
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The Donovan Hotel is a hidden wonder of downtown D.C. that, despite being well rated by its guests, inexplicably fails to make most top 10 lists. A scant three blocks from the Metro, it’s within walking distance of the White House, the Mall, and the Smithsonian Museums. It’s also close to the convention center and—perhaps most important of all—well positioned to take advantage of the 14th Street Corridor’s hopping restaurant scene.
Amenities: Rooftop bar and pool (seasonal), fitness center, marble bathroom with cocoon spiral shower, and Atelier Bloem bath amenities.
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Another less celebrated contender among cheap hotels in Washington, D.C., the Lombardy has a lot going for it. Located in Foggy Bottom, it’s within walking distance of the White House, the National Mall, and a pair of Metro stops. The Hotel Lombardy is also surrounded by good restaurants, including the acclaimed—though not universally loved—Founding Farmers.
Amenities: 32-inch HDTV, fitness center, and (seasonal) passes to a nearby pool.
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Avenue Suites Georgetown
Despite the name, this hotel is only aspirationally in Georgetown, but it’s still pretty close. With small kitchens and a Trader Joe’s across the street, this all-suites property makes a good, budget base camp for a visit to D.C. Avenue Suites Georgetown is close to running and biking in Rock Creek park, as well as Georgetown’s cobblestone streets and boutique shopping opportunities. The hotel will even stock your fridge with Trader Joe’s grocery items.
Amenities: Fully equipped kitchens, two 42-inch flat-screen TVs in each room, Keurig coffeemaker, complimentary access to classes at Georgetown Yoga, and fitness center.
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The River Inn
Located in D.C.’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood, “where downtown meets Georgetown,” The River Inn offers a great location. Run by Modus, the same company that operates Avenue Suites Georgetown (just a couple of blocks north), the all-suites River Inn has gained a reputation among value-conscious travelers looking to stretch their money. Georgetown is a relatively short walk away, and The River Inn is also close to a Metro stop.
Amenities: Fully equipped kitchens, two 42-inch flat-screen TVs in each room, Keurig coffeemaker, babysitting service, complimentary access to classes at Georgetown Yoga, and fitness center.
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One Washington Circle Hotel
Offering a mix of rooms and suites—all with kitchenettes or kitchens—this well-regarded Modus property has a room to fit virtually any budget-conscious taste. Though in a slightly less convenient location than its sisters, The River Inn and Avenue Suites Georgetown, this West End location isn’t a bad starting point for trips to the White House, Mall, and other D.C. attractions.
Amenities: Outdoor seasonal pool, kitchen or kitchenette in every room, LCD TVs, babysitting service, complimentary access to classes at Georgetown Yoga, and fitness center.
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Georgetown Inn West End
This 76-unit West End favorite has a reputation for clean and spacious suites. The Georgetown Inn West End offers easy walking access to Dupont Circle’s vibrant restaurant, bar, and shopping scenes, as well as the numerous embassies and think tanks located in historic residences on Embassy Row.
Amenities: Flat-screen TV, refrigerator, microwave, and complimentary passes to L.A. Fitness
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Holiday Inn Washington DC – Central/White House
In a city full of boutique hotels of myriad persuasions, this hotel offers the no-nonsense dependability of the Holiday Inn brand plus plenty of amenities, just a half-dozen blocks from the White House. It’s close to the restaurants of the 14th Street Corridor, and two Metro stops are within easy walking distance. A rooftop pool, open between Memorial Day and Labor Day, provides respite from hot summer days.
Amenities: Seasonal rooftop pool, 37-inch HDTV, mini-fridges, fitness center, and complimentary self-service laundry.
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—Original reporting by Matt Jenkins