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Hotel Review: W Washington DC Wonderful Room

by on April 30, 2013 · 11 comments

in Hotel Reviews, Starwood

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This weekend while I was in the DC area to attend the Freddie Awards and present at Frequent Traveler University, I decided to stay at the W Washington DC. I was originally going to stay at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner like most attendees of the conference but I wanted to bring Miles along with me and unfortunately that Hilton is not pet-friendly.

The exterior of the W Washington DC.

The exterior of the W Washington DC.

I booked a Wonderful Room room at the W Washington DC about 3 weeks prior to my stay at a nightly rate of $377.10. There was also an additional $54.68 per night as an occupancy/tourism fee. Though steep, I decided to pay because an award night would have been 16,000 points, so just 2.7 cents per point, and I can usually do better with my Starpoints.

After booking the room I called to inquire about their pet policy and have Miles added to the reservation. I was told that the pet must be under 35 pounds and there would be a fee of $25 per night as well as a one time cleaning fee of $100. I thought that was pretty reasonable compared to some other hotels we’ve stayed at that charge over $100 per night.

Pet perks at the hotel.

Pet perks include treats, a toy, a W Pet Bed, and bowls.

When I checked out and later received my bill in an email I was surprised to see that all pet charges were missing. My guess is that they never had Miles listed in the system because I now see on their website that when you have a pet with you you’re supposed to receive a pet welcome kit with a toy, treat, pet bed, water and food bowls, and a special turn down treat and there was no mention of that when we checked in.

King

My Wonderful Room with king size bed.

The room I booked was just a standard Wonderful Room – no SPG Platinum upgrade for me this time since the hotel was fully booked. The room was pretty decent-sized though not large at only 250 square feet with a signature W king bed dressed with white-on-white linens and some silver and purple accent pillows and a throw. The room also had a leather chaise, a small work desk and mini bar, and a 37-inch flatscreen.

View of the Washington DC Treasury Department from my room.

View of the Washington DC Treasury Department from my room.

It overlooked 15th Street and I had a great view of the US Treasury Building – that’s one thing I loved about the location is it’s right near the White House and not a far walk from the Mall near a lot of DC’s main attractions so if you’re coming here just for fun, touristy reasons, it’s a good, convenient choice. The hotel is actually a historic property that was built in 1917 and used to be the Hotel Washington, so it’s got all kinds of little architectural touches which the W has maintained yet put their special, usually moodily lit, spin on.

Walkway to the bathroom

Walkway to the bathroom

The bathroom was separated from the main room by a frosted glass wall. It was stocked with the brand standard Bliss bath products and just had a WC and separate rainfall shower, no bath.

Miles pouting because there were no treats for him in the mini fridge.

Miles pouting because there were no treats for him in the mini fridge.

I recently stayed at the Westin Tampa Bay for one night and found a special surprise in my mini fridge – 3 hard boiled eggs. I thought it was pretty comical and wasn’t expecting anything in return for their mistake, but when I was on my way to the W in Washington I got a tweet from Starwood saying they’d specially stocked my minibar and that I could expect a treat. When I entered my room this weekend I saw that SPG had indeed left some snacks and drinks for me. It was a motley little assortment of things like pomegranate juice, some water, chocolate-covered fortune cookies, some nuts and a single beer. It was a cute gesture, but a little random.

I had also called the hotel on my way into the city because I was running late and the front desk knew exactly who I was and said they were waiting for me and asked if I’d like anything upon arrival so I ordered the hotel’s famous club sandwich, which has gotten all kinds of rave reviews and Adam Richman from Man Versus Food says it’s one of his favorites.

Their famous club sandwich.

Their famous club sandwich.

The sandwich was waiting for me in my room when I got there, which I really appreciated, but I think it was totally overhyped. It wasn’t very flavorful, and to be honest, the fries were the best part.

Miles and I took a stroll around on a sunny morning to check out some DC landmarks.

Miles and I took a stroll around on a sunny morning to check out some DC landmarks.

As I mentioned, the hotel is in a great location so when Miles and I woke up on a sunny Friday morning, we decided to take a stroll to the White House and then over to the Mall – it was Miles’s first time in DC and he wanted to see the sights!

Because of my packed schedule and having to get out to Tysons Corner for the events of the weekend, I didn’t get to spend too much time at the hotel but it does have a Bliss Spa if you have some time for a treatment and a small SWEAT workout center, plus several restaurants and bars including the J&G Steakhouse, the trendy Living Room Bar, the Wine Bar for drinks and tapas.

The hotel’s most talked-about venue is the POV Bar on the 11th floor, which has spectacular views of the city. I had wanted to bring some friends here one evening after dinner for a night cap so I asked about it at check in and was told to call the Whatever/Whenever line from my room. I did so and was redirected to the POV Bar hostess who said that to get a reservation I’d have to order bottle service, which is very expensive. I explained I was a hotel guest and should be able to get a reservation, so she told me to call back the following day since that was when I actually wanted to come in. However, when I did so the following day, I was told POV was closed for a private event that evening and I would not be able to come in.

I understand the space gets booked out a lot, but I didn’t appreciate the feeling that I had been given the runaround. Someone in the three levels of service I spoke to – reception, Whatever/Whenever, and POV’s staff – should have been able to tell me what I needed to know about getting a reservation or the fact that the bar would be closed the next night. Maybe I’ll get to hang out there next time. If you’re staying at the hotel, I’d recommend calling ahead for reservations since this is a really busy spot and happy hour gets especially crowded.

Though the room rates were expensive for the product, in my opinion, this is still a good choice for those who want a trendy hotel experience in sometimes staid DC, and a good home base to explore the city.

Pros: Great location, pet-friendly policy, on-property spa and dining outlets
Cons: High room rates, limited cash & points availability, rooms can be small

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  • DWT

    Thanks for the review! Looks like you actually got a pretty good room even though no upgrade– I believe some of the lower category rooms at this property actually look out onto an air shaft! (Okay, I am sure the hotel would call it a “courtyard”.)

  • Josh J

    Did you consider any of the Kimton hotels? They seem to have a pretty generous pet policy (http://www.kimptonhotels.com/services/pet-program.aspx) and will also match your SPG status. Members with InTouch status also get a free night new Kimpton properties. Donovan House in Thomas Park has a really nice rooftop pool.

  • Jerry

    huge fan of Miles :)

  • Andy P

    This was expensive and service spotty because of the White House Correspondents Dinner that weekend. Hotel was listed as sold out a week out when I checked.

  • question

    Are you Points?

  • SawatdeeRuck

    I second Andy’s comment. WHCD zeroed out a lot of bar and restaurant space on Friday night. Come back in the summer and you can watch the white tops landing on the South Lawn. But hold your bonnet ladies: the sidewalls are open weather permitting.

  • thepointsguy

    Me too!

  • thepointsguy

    I did consider but I’m stuck spinning in the Starwood elite hamster wheel! Though I requalify for platinum this week so will try out Kimpton soon. Hear great things

  • AKold

    The POV lounge wasn’t closed to the public on Saturday night, myself and 3 others who attended FTU were able to get to the rooftop bar and get vistas of the Dept of Treasury, White House, and Washington Monument.

  • Eric

    Brian, if you were just short of requalifying in April, why not Kimpton? Their property near Chinatown looks amazing (even if the area is rather touristy). Hilton and Westin just north of the W are not inconvenient nor terrible at half the price, so I’m surprised you spent so much on a mediocre room. Better luck next time!

  • Charlie

    When did you check-in? We were there Thursday and Friday nights and received an upgrade (not really much of one) to a Spectacular room instead (as a Gold). Also, we received e-mails from the manager before check-in apologizing that the POV would be unavailable on Friday night – surprised you didn’t get that. Anyway, too bad we didn’t run into while there!

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