In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act allowing for the construction of a new capital on the Potomac River. George Washington selected the exact location for this development and the government began to build the Capitol Building and the White House. In 1795 wealthy merchant Samuel Blodgett built Blodgett’s Hotel, the largest privately-owned building in Washington at the time. The hotel was purchased by the government in 1810 to house the Post Office Department and the City Post Office. Sadly the original Blodgett's building burned down in an accidental fire in 1836, at which point the government decided to construct the General Post Office. Designed by architect Robert Mills (think Washington Monument), the structure was influenced by the work of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and when the General Post Office opened in 1842, it was the first building in Washington to have a completely marble facade. After the General Post Office moved to a new location in 1897, the building assumed many residents including the General Land Office, the Bureau of Education, a central power plant, headquarters for the National Selective Service Board, and the United States International Trade Commission Building.
The 183 room, high-end boutique Kimpton Hotel Monaco occupies the former General Post Office. The hotel opened in June 2002 and deemed a major factor in the re-development of the downtown historic district. Maintaining the historical significance and architectural grandeur of the building was a top priority for Kimpton. The exterior saw full restoration, including replicas of previously removed skylights and restoration of the original wood and cast-iron windows. The original floor plans remained the same, as well as original marble, cast iron staircases, windows, and ceilings, ornamental plaster, and window frames. The hotel is centrally located in Penn Quarter, perfectly situated between old and new, and mere blocks away from the city's most distinguished sites. Their bar and restaurant, Dirty Habit, features a glass-walled atrium and dramatic urban patio. The Dirty Habit has made a name for itself with crafted cocktails, innovative social plates, and edgy design.
Post cover photo Creative Commons “Hotel Monaco” by NcinDC is licensed under CC2.0 CTA photo Creative Commons “Monaco Spiral Staircase” by Kimberly A. is licensed under CC2.0