Let former Neoclassical church the Line DC make you a believer with its modern interiors, four restaurants and beats-pumping independent radio station. Now a temple to the arts, this hip hub welcoming worshippers of the hotel holy trinity – design, food and music – into its hallowed halls. Just outside, the millennial-friendly Adams Morgan district tempts with pop-up restaurants, just-opened bars and well-loved flea markets. Now to that, we’ll say amen…
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A welcome bouquet of blooms from the Little Shop of Flowers
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. If you arrive early, the hotel’s happy to store your luggage while you take advantage of the restaurant, bar, or gym.
Double rooms from £127.44 ($171), including tax at 14.95 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $26.48 per room per night on check-in.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast ($25 a person a day) or the resort fee ($21 a room a day), which covers a workout class a stay, access to the wellness centre, priority reservations at the hotel’s eateries and more.
The Line has, believe it or not, its own radio station – Full Service Radio – broadcast live from a glass-windowed booth in the lobby. It’s run by Heritage Radio alumnus Jack Inslee, and guests can tune into the stream of playlists, podcasts and talk shows from their rooms. There’s also a super-sleek fitness centre – kitted out with all the latest treadmills, elliptical trainers and weights – open 24-hours-a-day.
At the hotel
A 24-hour gym, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: 55” TV, minibar, Nespresso coffee-making kit, radio, Line Hotel toiletries, air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
It’s hard to pick just one room as our favourite: each has been meticulously curated, furnished with Persian rugs, burnished brass light-fittings and vintage furniture lovingly sourced from local flea markets. Every room has a miniature library stocked with hand-picked tomes, plus up to 14 pieces of original artwork, from paintings to old-school photographs. If we had to choose (go on, you’ve twisted our arm), we’d favour any of the higher-floor rooms for their Instagram-worthy views, or the Monument View Master Suite for its private, panoramic terrace.
Pack a pair of headphones for tuning in to Full Service Radio, and something suitably regal for lobby-lounging – this is a Neoclassical church, after all.
Please note that the hotel’s common areas are wheelchair-accessible, but the rooms aren’t.
Little ones are welcome, but there’s not much to entertain children – this hotel’s best suited to you and your beloved. The hotel can provide baby cots, changing mats, highchairs and socket covers on request.
Well there are quite a few to pick from… We’d go for the one-table, 10-seater Spoken English for a more special evening.
Match the menus in understated American style (blue jeans and blazers) with a soupçon of Asian flair through monochrome and minimal lines.
Gourmandes, listen up: the Line has a staggering four restaurants to choose from. North meets south at A Rake’s Progress, where chef Spike Gjerde uses locally-sourced ingredients to recreate the tastes of Virginia. At the intimate stand-up Spoken English restaurant (the Line’s interpretation of a tasting-menu experience), the chefs whip up an Asian-street-food-inspired menu. American classics are on the menu at all-day joint Brothers and Sisters, where a raw bar, pastries and fresh sandwiches are our top picks. Finally, there’s the Cup We All Race 4 (open daily until 8pm), a coffee bar dishing up Counter Culture Coffee, wholegrain bakes and house-pressed juices. For breakfast, feast on a spread of eggs, bacon, buttermilk biscuits, fresh yoghurt and the wickedly indulgent crab Benedict.
A Rake’s Bar (run by Corey Polyoka) celebrates local distillers, ingredients and the easy traditionalism of the deep south. Try a Maryland cider or regionally brewed farm beer. Brothers and Sisters also acts as the lobby bar and serves up American-inspired cocktails with a hint of Japanese flavour – ask for one of their long, fruity numbers. Both are open all week, and later at the weekend.
A Rake’s Progress serves dinner daily until 11pm (later, plus lunch, at the weekend). Brothers and Sisters is open daily 6.30am–midnight. Spoken English is open daily 5pm–midnight. The late-night lobby menu starts at midnight and ends in the early hours.
The 24/7 room service menu features tempting treats including avocado toast, burgers, and bowls of hot congee.
Situated in the buzzing Adams Morgan neighbourhood, the Line DC takes pole position on leafy Euclid Street, a half-hour stroll from the White House.
The nearest airport is Ronald Reagan National, six miles (20 minutes’ drive) from the hotel. The airport operates flights to New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Dulles International Airport is an hour away by car; flights arrive here from major destinations around the world. The hotel can organise transfers from both for around US$143 one-way from Ronald Reagan National and US$198 from Dulles International. Flights to both airports can be organised by the Smith24 Travel team.
Union Station (a 15-minute drive from the hotel) is a major rail hub along the Eastern Seaboard for Amtrak. It is also a stop on Maryland’s regional MARC train, which travels to Baltimore.
You’ll need to get an International Driver’s Permit to hire a car in the US, but driving in Washington DC is notoriously difficult in any case, due to the city’s complicated grid of one-way streets. You’re better off hailing cabs, taking public transport, walking or cycling. If you do arrive by car, valet parking is available onsite for $54 a day.
You’ll feel you know Washington’s Metro well by the time you check out; not least because the the Line’s room decor – in red, blue, yellow and green – corresponds with the route map’s colours. Aside from trendsetting, the Metro is also a zippy and generally reliable way of getting around the city.
Worth getting out of bed for
As its capital city, Washington DC is the home of American democracy: spend a few politically-minded hours examining the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other historic documents at the National Archives, go for a tour of the Capitol and act out your favourite scenes from Homeland with the White House as a backdrop. The Washington Monument is a must-see (well, the city is named after this most famous of presidents, after all), as are the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Pop into the various Smithsonian museums to see treasures such as the Hope Diamond, the Spirit of Saint Louis and Julia Child’s kitchen. Closer to the hotel, take a turn around the Phillips Collection for an impressive array of Impressionist art – including Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party – in a converted Dupont Circle mansion. Be sure to visit the Collection’s Rothko Room, a tiny space lined with the painter’s works. If you’ve been seduced by the views from your hotel room, visit the main event: the 18th-century Washington National Cathedral is the second-largest in the US, and well worth a trip for its magnificent stained-glass windows. While you’re in the Adams Morgan neighbourhood, swing by local institution Idle Time Books, which is full of second-hand and out-of-print reads. Browse the knick-knack and vintage shops on the surrounding streets; Urban Dwell is a particular favourite on the Columbia Road, and sells home decor, clothes and kitsch accessories.
You’re spoilt for choice at the Line, but it would be criminal not to sample some of the local eateries: try Mintwood Place just down the road, a French-American, farmhouse-style tavern serving on-point roasted duck, hangar steak and a divinely creamy mushroom risotto. A hip bistro with a Caribbean influence, Tail Up Goat on Adams Mill Road is a joyful joint with an adventurous menu of salt-roasted beets, whey-braised goat and lamb ribs. Nose around the Dupont Circle for more great restaurants, including Komi, a seriously slick hub that’s in-demand for good reason: have the 12-dish tasting menu, which includes their many famous seafood creations.
If you’re into simple, well-made coffee without the pompous extras, you’ll find yourself in heaven at Tryst, a city-centre coffee bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Curl up on a printed chesterfield with a steaming hot latte, and stay here from brunch (the buttermilk waffles are write-home-about good) until happy hour (anyone for a ‘painkiller’ cocktail?).
Whisky (and whiskey) fans should head straight to the Jack Rose Dining Saloon, where the walls are lined with more than 2,000 bottles of the amber distillate. They serve food too, so you could hole up here long enough to sample every vintage (well, nearly).
We're flummoxed. We're in Adams Morgan, the much-talked Washington neighbourhood, but Mrs Smith and I can't fathom out where the Line is.
Where's this supposedly slick hotel, we ask ourselves as we scan the streets (admittedly from the back of a taxi). It takes a good few minutes before it dawns on us that this exemplary neoclassical church standing before us (and which we've been loitering outside of for a while) is the Line. Before can we say hallelujah, we've carried our suitcases up the grand steps and pulled open the heavy doors to be transported into a seriously hip hotel.
It's only 3pm but there's a lot grabbing our attention in this eclectic establishment. In the lobby smartly suited professionals hold meetings next to tourists checking in for the night, whilst freelancers are hunkering down over their Macs on long wooden tables with dimly-lit desk lights.
As soon as we spy its cool buzzy bar, we concur that ordering a cocktail is almost as big a priority as visiting the White House. There's certainly no abstinence here. But while the Line is very design-led and looks effortlessly cool, it hasn't forgotten the higher powers that be – with a spiky chandelier feature made out of salvaged church organ pipes hanging above the lobby and upholstered pews dotted around the hotel, there's plenty of nods to the building's history.
Our bedroom equally fills us with delight: the contemporary space is ample size, what with two double brass-framed queen beds (no duvet fights for us), an oak desk and a leather armchair. But it's the black-framed windows serving up views of the Adams Morgan neighbourhood and, more significantly, the landmark that is Washington Monument, that makes us giddy. After a four-hour plus journey from New York – and with a short spell of just two days in Washington – we know we should probably start touring the political powerhouse's triumphant list of memorials and historic buildings.
But it's raining, and we're hungry so instead we make a beeline to Baked & Wired, a cute coffee shop and bakery with a tantalising section of cupcakes and pastries that a friend has recommended. The next few hours we meander around Georgetown, a charming neighbourhood filled with cool shops like Reformation and Rent the Runway.
We return to the hotel to freshen up (aka style hair, throw on heels and take a couple of selfies whilst prancing around to Eighties tunes) before heading downstairs to sip fancy cocktails at the end of the buzzy Brothers and Sisters bar. When our reservation at A Rake's Progress – one of the Line's three restaurants – is ready, we head upstairs to find that despite the restaurant being full, they've managed to position us at one of the best tables, overlooking the lobby downstairs and close to beautiful cathedral-sized glass windows.
We share delicious portions of gnocchi, rigatoni, and butternut squash, and the devilish gluttons that we are, we of course order a s'more each for dessert (our aching bellies don't thank us for it later). Service is a knock-out, and we're the last to leave. As it's actually the night of the mid-term elections, I suggest we should definitely try our luck at bagging an invite to one of the parties we can hear in the hotel, but the more sensible one rolls her eyes and instead we watch the events of the night unfold on the TV screen in the comfort of our own room.
Although the night's sleep is patchy as I'm a bit too hot in the room (I later discover the air con is broken when I call up a member of staff to fix it the next evening), my mood improves when a very nutritious breakfast in bed (kale, carrot and ginger smoothie followed by egg and avocado on sourdough) arrives and we swing open the curtains to take in the Washington Monument.
After that restful half hour, we're ready set go. We spend the day taking in the beautiful memorials devoted to past presidents and men and women who lost their lives during Vietnam and Korean Wars. Along the mall, we become engrossed in its brilliant museums; stopping by the Holocaust Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Museum of American History, each of which we could have easily doubled the amount of time we spent in them.
By the time we wrap up for the day Mrs Smith has to sneak back to New York so I stop off for a build-your-own falafel wrap at Amsterdam Falafelshop and jump under my duvet to watch the new series of House of Cards. Well, when in Washington...
After a much improved night's snooze, I head to the hotel's spacious gym to lift weights before once again ordering breakfast in bed. It's the perk of staying in a hotel, no? With a late bus back to New York, I spend the day hunkering down to work in the lobby, before polishing off a cocktail at the bar. You might as well leave Washington a bit tipsy, right?
Word of warning, though: Washington traffic proves hellish and it's a long and nerve-wracking 50-minute drive from the hotel to the bus station (don't opt for an Uber pool, natch); I wonder if it wouldn't be the worse idea if I'm forced to retreat back to the hotel and spend an extra night at a hotel as sumptuous as the Line. As luck (or is that misfortune?) would have it, my bus is half an hour late and so it's farewell to Washington and the Line. But hey, next time Washington, please can you just make sure there's a more humane president elected to that White House?