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Washington’s Wondrous Willard Intercontinental: An American Treasure

Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer

An appearance for both of us at the National Press Club Book Fair in Washington, D.C. to promote our books It Happened in Miami and When It Was Just a Game, Remembering the First Super Bowl.

A need for a place to stay. How fortunate could we be – right across the street from where we were to appear – the property of choice – the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel.

The Willard is a landmark hotel, a stately property rich in tradition, elegance and style, a place of calm with its ascendant columns and gilded ceilings. Its location is in the heart of downtown D.C. Two blocks from the White House, within walking distance of the National Mall and Smithsonian Museums, Theater District and much more.

The Willard is an award winner – Forbes Four Star, Travel & Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels, 2015, AAA Four Diamond Award, U.S. News & World Report’s Top Hotels, 2015 and more.

The Willard has a history that parallels and underscores so much of American history. It was built in 1901 and is often called the Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue, It has played hosted to virtually every

U.S. President since Franklin Pierce in 1853 earning it the title as the “Residence of the Presidents.”

It was at the Willard on August 28, 1963, that the Reverend Martin Luther King finished his famous “I Have A Dream” speech while a guest at the hotel. Final edits were made hours before he delivered the speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Willard has hosted luminaries, dignitaries and celebrities such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Samuel Morse, Harry Houdini, Gypsy Rose Lee, Gloria Swanson, Emily Dickinson, Buffalo Bill, David Lloyd George, P.T. Barnum, Lord and Lady Napier, Bob Fosse, U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,

History and tradition notwithstanding, being at the Willard Intercontinental is to feel and experience today – the ambience, the rhythm, the style, the flow of a truly great hotel.

As travel writers who have been to many outstandingly unique properties all over the globe, it was something special to be in the nation’s capitol and experience this gem on Pennsylvania Avenue

From the moment our car pulled up to the entranceway, to the swiftness and efficiency of those who greeted us, to the skillful staff behind the front desk who signed us in, the baggage person who unloaded our ample luggage – this was what we expected of a top of the hill property  - - and we received it.

The momentum of perfection and friendliness was evident in all aspects of our being there – service in the restaurant, make up of our suite, smiling employees who answered our questions on a variety of topics.

One of the true highlights of our stay was breakfast and dinner at Café du Parc. Comfortable, welcoming, with a pleasing style all its own, food and service was A plus.

Just a remarkable example of how a truly splendid and opulent hotel keeps its excellent consistency throughout all aspects of its operation. And the views inside of the hotel and outside looking out its windows was to feel the history and tradition, to marvel at the views of the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

There are many terrific hotels in our nation’s capitol. And we have been pampered guests in our share of them.

Pressed to rank them - WONDROUS WILLARD INTERCONTINENTAL: AN AMERICAN TREASURE – ranks at the very top of the list.

It is king of the hill.


Willard InterContinental
1401 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20004-1010

Phone: 202-628-9100 -- Toll Free:  800-827-1747


(Photographs credit Willard InterContinental)

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Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan and It Happened in Miami , they preach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

As travel writers and food critics, they have published hundreds of articles in newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet. Their interest in the intermingling of past and present in Jewish communities around the world has led to a body of work whose locales range from New Delhi to Istanbul to Sicily.

Accomplished and charismatic public speakers, the Frommers have appeared before live audiences and on the media throughout the United States lecturing on their books and travel experiences.

Harvey Frommer is an acclaimed sports journalist and historian, the author of 43 books on sports including the autobiographies of legends like Nolan Ryan, Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman. He also authored the highly notable sports oral histories Remembering Yankee Stadium, Remembering Fenway Park and When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl.

Myrna Katz Frommer is a poet and contributor to such publications as The Forward, Ha'aretz, The New York Times, and The Encyclopedia of Jewish Women.

You can contact the Frommers at:,

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2016 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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