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REPORT: Washington DC Hotels Part 1

REPORT: Washington DC Hotels Part 1

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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:29 pm
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REPORT: Washington DC Hotels Part 1

Here are some observations of 3 Washington DC hotels I recently stayed at. The first is the Ritz Carlton Georgetown, the second is Mandarin Oriental and the third is Ritz Carlton Washington DC.

On my return I will try both Park Hyatt and Four Seasons. The others will be saved for a return visit.

EDITED on Wednesday 3 April 2013
Instead of starting a new thread on the remaining hotels, I will comment on them in separate posts in this thread.

Hotels reviewed in this thread:

Ritz Carlton Georgetown
Ritz Carlton Washington DC
Mandarin Oriental Washington DC
Park Hyatt Washington DC
Four Seasons Washington DC
Four Seasons Baltimore

Last edited by luxury; Apr 3, 13 at 10:38 am
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:43 pm
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Ritz Carlton Georgetown

This was the first hotel I stayed at. We were allocated a 1 BR suite on the first floor with STARS amenities which include: daily full breakfast to a value of $65 per room; upgrade if available upon arrival; $100 F&B credit; and 4pm late check-out if available.

This RC is in a former incinerator and is also the smallest with about 80 rooms or so, a high proportion of them suites. The decor is very contemporary and nothing like your traditional RC.

Our 1 BR suite was large (about 1000 sq ft) with a full bath (and ridiculously large walk in shower) and a powder room off the entrance. Due to the lay of the land, our first floor suite felt subterranean and definitely made the suite feel darker. Those on higher floors certainly appear more light; with the hotel being full we were unable to see any other rooms so I cannot confirm this. One thing I did not like was that if your room is in the West block, one must go down one level from the lobby and walk a not inconsiderable distance to the elevators to go up to the guest room floors. While the nature of the building causes limitations I think this could have been designed better.

On this stay, service was abysmal. From the doorman, check-in, front desk, housekeeping, and with one exception in the restaurant, the service was decidedly more W than RC. On several occasions it took a lot to bite my tongue and not say anything as some of the interactions were quite rude. This was a shame as this property does have so much potential. I truly hope that this is an aberration.

There is a house car available on a first come first served basis.

Some additional points:
-there is a car service available officially 7am to 9am and 6pm to 8pm but if you ask it can be made available outside of those hours.
-toiletries are Asprey
-F&B at Degree's Bistro is spotty and service is quite poor since there was only one hardworking server (Nick) and another person who would seat people but would disappear for long stretches of time.
-Internet is $9.95 per day but is complimentary if you are a Marriott Rewards member.
-the shower stall in our room became very slippery when wet to the point it was dangerous. I ended up putting a bath towel on the floor to prevent me from slipping
-at 6pm every evening there are complimentary S'mores in the Lobby Lounge.

Last edited by luxury; Mar 27, 13 at 8:52 am Reason: Some additional thoughts I forgot originally
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:44 pm
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Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC

We next stayed at the MODC. Located in SW near to the tidal basin and L'Enfant Plaza its location is a double edged sword. Extremely convenient to the monuments (the Jefferson is a 10-15 walk from the hotel), the Holocaust Museum, and the Mall the hotel is an urban resort. However, the area surrounding the hotel is dead after 5pm on weekdays and all weekend long. There are no alternative food choices on weekends nearby; if one does not want to eat at the hotel, there is no choice but to take a taxi and go elsewhere.

Booked a City View room at the Virtuoso rate (equal to BAR) and included the following Virtuoso amenities: upgrade upon arrival if available; $100 F&B credit once per stay; daily buffet breakfast in Sou'Wester or continental through In Room dining; and late check-out if available. We were upgraded to a Water-view Executive Suite with balcony. Again due to full occupancy, was not able to see any other room type.

The Executive suites are about 700 sq ft and have a nice layout. There is a powder room off the main entrance, a compact living room with sofa, arm chair, coffee table, and a 2 seater dining table. There is a center wall dividing the living room from the bedroom. This is where the LCDTV is for the LR and on the reverse side, the bedroom. On either side of this central wall is a door leading to the bedroom. The bedroom features a king bed, a work desk with a view towards the water, and the master bath with single vanity, separate WC, and a glassed in wet area featuring the tub and stand up shower. Off the living room is a nice sized furnished balcony.

Our water view was of a small marina and some highways -- certain of these rooms provide better views so if this is important it is best to have your TA make that request. Executive suites without balcony can connect to a double double room which is perfect for families.

Of note, rooms on the lower floors on the north end of the building are adjacent to railroad tracks so noise may be an issue. Soundproofing is quite good overall but this is something to keep in mind. Decor is classical with many asian accents, notably the curtains. Bath amenities are Gilchrist and Soames.

In room internet is $15 per day and is good for unlimited number of devices and the speed is quite good.

There are 3 dining venues at the hotel -- CityZen, Sou'Wester, and Empress Lounge. We were unable to try CityZen this time around but the Virtuoso credit can now be used there. The Bar offers a 3 course menu for $50 which is a great deal. Sou'Wester is the all day restaurant and Empress Lounge is the hotel's bar and all day lounge. Afternoon tea is buffet style and is very popular. The Lounge menu is compact but tasty, particularly the Thai curry. Food and Beverage is good overall but the service at both Sou'Wester and Empress Lounge was very poor. When they are busy there are not enough staff to provide adequate service levels. When they are quiet, the staff are not paying attention at all. No visible management presence either.

There is a House car which can take you to Union Station or to Georgetown. It is available 8:00am to 6:45pm M-F and 10am to 5:45pm Sa, Su and holidays. Service is first come first served and drop off only, officially. When enquiring about the car, the Front Desk and doormen will tell you to go to the Concierge. The Concierge will tell you to check with the door staff.

The door staff are pretty horrible. Only when we were departing did a doorman finally say something to us -- throughout the stay no doorman ever greeted us, open the door for us, or, offer any assistance at all. When we arrived we hauled our luggage into the hotel ourselves.

The fitness centre and pool are very nice.

Last edited by luxury; Mar 27, 13 at 8:48 am
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:45 pm
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Ritz Carlton Washington DC

The RCDC, for me, is in an odd location for tourists, but is in a great location for lobbyists, diplomats, lawyers, etc being located near Dupont Circle and just outside Georgetown.

We arrived by MO house car around 3:30pm and the driveway was chaotic with departures. Door staff were the best to date on this trip but still a far-cry from what it should be. Check-in was efficient and we were allocated a Deluxe room on the Club floor with full Club access.

While the Lobby area is still very traditional RC, the guestrooms are nicely modernized but still classical. Very tastefully done. The staff are very friendly and the Club Lounge staff are excellent. Food and Beverage presentations are substantial and generally of high quality. Along with deluxe Continental offerings, there are also scrambled eggs and bacon/sausage for breakfast. The eggs sit in a large warmer so this was a bit disgusting. The smoked salmon was particularly good. Evening options were varied and of high quality as were the lunch offerings. The Crab salad sandwich was particularly good.

This hotel has some double bedded rooms and even a couple 2 bedded suites which can connect to other rooms. This is very good for families requiring flexibility with their bedding. Internet access and access to Sports Club LA is complimentary for Club floor guests; nominal charge for all other guests.

Toiletries are by Asprey. Our welcome amenity was a box of RCDC Trail mix. House car service is a gong show with noone knowing when it operates. We were told 5 different things and when we went to ask if it was available we were told it was gone for the day. The hotel is aware of this and are trying to sort it out.

I think this is a strong option in DC if you opt for the Club level. For none Club, I prefer the Park Hyatt just around the corner.

Last edited by luxury; Mar 28, 13 at 9:45 pm
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Old Mar 27, 13, 8:38 am
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Sounds like the RC Georgetown isn't a terribly great option (though I have heard fairly positive reports in the past). We prefer to stay in that part of town.. Recently tried the PH; I wasn't impressed. I think that I will reserve my future stays at the FS.

FDW
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Old Mar 27, 13, 8:53 am
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I have now added the MO DC report as well as updated the RC Georgetown post with some additional thoughts I forgot to include originally.
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Old Mar 29, 13, 5:51 am
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Thanks for your patience - I have completed the review on RC DC.

One other note -- the beds at all 3 properties were comfortable, especially at RCGT as they just replaced the bedding in all rooms and suites a couple days before my arrival. RCGT is also supposed to be getting a soft goods renovation of all rooms and suites and the beds were the first.
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Old Mar 29, 13, 8:01 am
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Thank you for the updates in DC. Any chance you previewed the Capella?
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Old Mar 29, 13, 9:01 am
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I personally like the location of the RC. It is nicely wedged between Georgetown and DuPont Circle which I think is perfect. It is also usually much cheaper than the Four Seasons. Thanks for the reports. I think the location of the Mandarin is awful.
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Old Mar 29, 13, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
Thank you for the updates in DC. Any chance you previewed the Capella?
I tried to stay there but the hotel kept changing its opening date so in the end I had to stay elsewhere. However, I am hoping to see the hotel on Monday. If so, I will post impressions.
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Old Mar 29, 13, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by luxury View Post
I think this is a strong option in DC if you opt for the Club level. For none Club, I prefer the Park Hyatt
very interesting so far, look forward to other DC and baltimore

Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
Recently tried the PH; I wasn't impressed. I think that I will reserve my future stays at the FS.
when FS is at peak rates, current capella rates might not be much more

capella did end up opening last friday at 8AM

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Mar 29, 13 at 9:25 am
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Old Mar 31, 13, 8:41 am
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I've stayed at both of the MO and RCDC multiple times and had favorable experiences at both.

Locations are very different.

RC is classic hunt club...and I am a fan of the Kroll artwork in the lift lobby and on the lower level.

I had much more favorable experiences at the MO compared to you. I found the door and lobby staff to be very attentive. The MO has a particularly nice spa facility (for a city hotel).
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Old Apr 2, 13, 5:11 pm
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OP may have given the only negative review of the RC Georgetown I have seen.
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Old Apr 3, 13, 7:35 am
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After a recent experience in an Executive Suite at the Willard Intercontinental, I would have to put that hotel on any Luxury list for D.C. Especially due to its location across from Treasury and the White House, and its rich and long history. The Round Robin bar is full of D.C. power brokers at happy hour and each morning I went down for the excellent breakfast I saw senior Congresspeople and White House staff having their power breakfasts.

My suite was massive and very well appointed with a full parlour and mini-kitchen on the side. They also have several very high end suites. I was offered an upsell to the Lincoln suite, but declined. Every President-Elect used to spend a month or so at this hotel during the change-over up til more recent years when security probably prevented the custom from continuing. The health club facilities too were Luxury level.
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Old Apr 3, 13, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
After a recent experience in an Executive Suite at the Willard Intercontinental, I would have to put that hotel on any Luxury list for D.C. Especially due to its location across from Treasury and the White House, and its rich and long history. The Round Robin bar is full of D.C. power brokers at happy hour and each morning I went down for the excellent breakfast I saw senior Congresspeople and White House staff having their power breakfasts.

My suite was massive and very well appointed with a full parlour and mini-kitchen on the side. They also have several very high end suites. I was offered an upsell to the Lincoln suite, but declined. Every President-Elect used to spend a month or so at this hotel during the change-over up til more recent years when security probably prevented the custom from continuing. The health club facilities too were Luxury level.
I stayed at the Willard, too. We ha an Oval Suite. On one hand its a really nice historic hotel. Also I generelly perfered it over the RC DC, were we also stayed. But the Suite had some issues. Every "normal" person would name this hotel "Luxury", Im sure.
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