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Hotels on High

Like Meryl Streep, the DC skyline can pull off all kinds of looks. Take them all in at each of these hotel rooftops.

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Come for the cocktails, stay for the setting sun.

Attracting patrons for its bar (and bottle service), the Graham’s summit, The Observatory, has widespread views of the city—the only challenge is deciding where to direct your gaze. The bar yields classy cocktails and an assortment of cigars, which you can smoke on site. Stay until after the sun sets, when Georgetown and the shops along M Street take on a pleasant, picturesque glow.

P.O.V. Rooftop Lounge & Terrace at the W Hotel is the scene to see and be seen  - and a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike.

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If there’s one rooftop on everyone’s list, it’s the P.O.V. Lounge at the W – and for good reason.

Ride the elevator to the 11th floor of this nightlife hot spot and your jaw will drop with the close-up view of the White House. And that’s not all! The National Mall is also visible from this spot, including all the way to the Jefferson Memorial. Adding to the magic is an assortment of lusty cocktails and a sumptuous array of small plates. On weekends DJs add a lively soundtrack to the scene.

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The top-floor pool at this Kimpton Hotel is cozy: It features snug cabanas and a fireside bar.

The DNV Rooftop Lounge is an under-the-radar gem. Guests spend the daytime splashing around the 32-foot-long, 13-foot-wide pool at this space that looks out over Thomas Circle. But it’s also a superb setting after kicking it on the 14th Street corridor or for making a night of it with Asian-inspired fare from the lobby level restaurant, Zentan, cold drinks and good company.

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Guest taking the elevator all the way up are rewarded with sweeping views of DC and an infinity pool.

When privacy is your chief concern, Capella is the place for you. Lodgers really do get top-level treatment here with a comfy rooftop lounge and an endless pool that will keep you fit. After the workout, stick around for the views of the old C&O Canal and the silhouetted spire of Healy Hall at Georgetown University during sundown.

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The happy hour faithful know this is one of the best spots for sipping high above the city.

Unwind in the airy confines of the Beacon Rooftop Sky Bar, where on Thursdays and Sundays DJs ramp up the fun. Aside from being a well-documented happy hour hot spot, it’s also cherished for sweeping views of the city and a diverse crowd that features students, scenesters, tourists and others in pursuit of a worthy perch.

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Although it’s private, The Top of the Hay is open to the public on a couple occasions each year, like Thanksgiving.

The perspective from the Top of the Hay is purely presidential: It looks directly at the front of the White House. A view of the Washington Monument, directly behind the president’s home, isn’t too shabby either. The prime space is a favorite for visiting groups, but keep your eye out for the Top of the Hay’s holiday brunches, when the space opens up to the general public.

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Thanks to its crowning bar and lounge, this boutique Capitol Hill hotel feels more South Beach than Senate.

Noted for being the closest hotel to the U.S. Capitol Building, The Liaison offers a taste of the lush life, which even non-guests can pay to experience. Sure, its rooftop bar is noted for outstanding concoctions that will quench an undying thirst, but beyond that are masseuses on standby in sun-shielding cabanas and a pool that beckons with each glimmer of sunlight.