Selecting the right part of town in which to stay can be tricky when it comes to Washington DC – head for the wrong area and you might find yourself in a commercial district (this is a working town after all) where little happens or appears to happen once office life has departed for the day.
The area around Dupont Circle is definitely a great choice. Buzzy without being busy, stylish without being pricey and inviting without being obstrusive, it has a lovely "neighbourhood" feel. There is a great selection of restaurants and bars, some good shops and a nice outdoor space within the "circle" itself.
The Palomar is a hotel situated just a couple of minutes walks from Dupont Cirlce and is possibly one of the best North American city hotels I've ever stayed in.
It is modern and stylish, the bedrooms are seriously comfortable, the restuarant is excellent and there is a lovely – and very classy – bar in which to enjoy a post-sightseeing or pre-dinner drink. The staff were just delightful. while the hotel has a gym and (seasonally-opened) pool. It is also just a short stroll to the city's excellent Metro system.
Rack rates can be pricey so check out an agency such as Trailfinders which was offering deals that made it much more of an affordable choice when I was shopping around.
Seriously recommended for any business or leisure traveller to DC.