Grand Hyatt Washington and Marvin Restaurant Review

Apr 27, 2011

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I recently made a quick trip to DC and I was torn between staying at the Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt, but ultimately price won out. The Grand Hyatt had rock-bottom last minute rates of $99 v. my $260 corporate rate at the Park Hyatt. If it were a special occasion I might have opted for PH, but I knew it would be a whirlwind trip, so there was no point in splurging on hotel. In the end, I ended up staying at both because my flight Sunday night was canceled and I booked a last minute room at the Park Hyatt, which was a smart decision. That trip report and my dinner at the Blue Duck Tavern to come.

I arrived at the Grand Hyatt around 4pm and was immediately greeted and assigned a Club Floor King Room. The atrium of the Grand Hyatt is enormous with a tiled glass ceiling with huge American flag.

Lobby looking up on a sunny DC day
King room. Modern and comfortable

Basic bathroom - kind of small and small shower

The room was a typical, renovated Grand Hyatt. The bed was comfortable and the furnishings clean and modern. It certainly wasn’t the largest standard room I’ve had, but it wasn’t too cramped either. The most disappointing was probably the bathroom, which had a small tub and shower with lackluster water pressure (a hotel petpeeve of mine). Overall it was a perfectly comfortable room, especially at $99 a night.

The club lounge is also on the 12th floor and it was well staffed with at least 3 people cleaning/serving while we were there. The evening spread was impressive as well, with a nice assortment of vegetables, serrano ham, cheeses and breads. There were also plenty of Perrier and bottles of water, which is a big plus in my book. Cocktails were $4.

Lounge Spread
View of the flag from right outside the lounge

One of the most memorable aspects of my quick DC jaunt was a great dinner with close friends at Marvin Restaurant From the website:
“Inspired by the story of Marvin Gaye’s infamous two years in self-imposed exile in the small Belgian town of Ostend, the creators of Marvin have combined the cafe society of Belgium, with the proud soul of Shaw. Belgian moules-frites are served along side southern-style shrimp and grits. The classic steak-frites and fried chicken with Belgian waffles are just two of the many top dishes created by Chef James Claudio. Adding to the experience is a soundtrack of rare funk, soul, ska, and jazz created by Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton.”

An interesting concept indeed – soul food meets Belgium. And delicious it was. With such a whimsical restaurant theme, I personally thought the food would be an unnecessary attempt to “fancify” soul food, but all the dishes were executed really nicely. I ordered Chicken Fried Oysters with a Spicy Remoulade and the Lobster Waterzooi, which was stuffed with mussels, clams and shrimp. Others at the table got the pork belly, moules-frites in coconut curry sauce and frisee salad to start. Then spare ribs, coq au vin (no picture was taken for some reason) and fish of the day: Red Snapper.

My oysters.. a little too breaded- you could barely taste the oyster
Decadent pork belly
Mussels in a coconut curry sauce
Basic Frisee
Scrumptious lobster, shrimp and clams
Fresh Red Snapper
Melt in your mouth braised short ribs

Overall, it was a fantastic meal in a fun, loud and spacious setting. Service wasn’t legendary, but it wasn’t terrible either. The only real annoyance was that coffee was never brought when we ordered it and it was still included on the bill. It was promptly taken off, but a service flaw nonetheless. I’d highly recommend Marvin for a kickoff dinner to a fun night on the town – which is exactly what it was for me.

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