Roomy spaces, dirty places: My stay at Embassy Suites Washington DC Georgetown
- The hotel's location is great for tourists and business travelers with convenient access to Georgetown, downtown and the Dupont Circle metro station.
- Spacious two-room suites offer guests additional privacy and comfort with a separate living room from the bedroom.
- All registered guests enjoy a complimentary daily made-to-order breakfast and evening reception.
Choosing a hotel with the best location for your trip to Washington, D.C., is no easy task.
Georgetown is one of D.C.'s most popular neighborhoods with its many clothing retail stores, brunch spots, cupcake shops and tourist attractions like the Georgetown Waterfront Park and the C&O Canal. However, its popularity means its narrow streets are often packed with tourists, and there are limited hotel options for travelers who want an affordable stay in the capital.
A mile east of the M Street Northwest and Wisconsin Avenue Northwest intersection — often regarded as the heart of Georgetown — the Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington, D.C. Georgetown offers visitors convenient access to some of the city's most popular attractions at a budget-friendly price point.
What is the Embassy Suites Georgetown?
Fully renovated from top to bottom in 2016, the Embassy Suites Georgetown is located four blocks southwest of Dupont Circle, which is a good location if you want to be between Georgetown and downtown. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Dupont Circle Metro Station, making it easy to hop on the red line and explore the city's iconic landmarks, such as the White House, the National Mall and the Smithsonian Institution.
Dupont Circle offers several worthwhile attractions, including The Phillips Collection, our nation's first modern art museum. Kramers is an indie bookstore full of political books, novels and travelogues. Dupont Circle also has several popular dining options like Mi Casa, a chic Tex-Mex joint, and Rasika, the Indian restaurant where President Obama celebrated his birthday in 2017.
The Embassy Suites Georgetown offers guests two-room suites standard, a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast daily and an evening reception with free snacks and drinks.
Like many similar buildings from the 1980s, its lobby is in a cavernous central atrium that spans its nine floors. A water feature runs alongside some greenery leading to District Tap, the hotel's restaurant.
The regular fitness center and pool were closed during my stay, so the hotel had created a makeshift cardio room by moving two treadmills, a spin bike and a yoga ball into a small, closet-like space right across from the lobby. The hotel was using the back of this room to store industrial materials like extra glass windows and wooden planks, so you'd be better off taking a stroll or jogging in the area if you're able.
Skip the District Tap restaurant
Although I didn't dine at the District Tap, one guest in the breakfast buffet told me to skip it. She had tried the Margherita flatbread and declared it tasted more like microwaveable pizza than restaurant cuisine. Some of the other options on the District Tap's all-day menu include chicken tacos with a choice of corn or flour tortillas for $17.95 or the jambalaya pasta for $23.95. For those prices, you'd be better off exploring some of the city's varied restaurant scene beyond the hotel walls.
All guest rooms have separate living rooms and bedrooms
All of the 318 suites at the Embassy Suites have living rooms separate from the bedrooms. Guests can choose between suites with one king or two queen beds. There are also a handful of boardroom and diplomat suites that have a choice of one king or two queen beds.
I was assigned a standard king suite, and upon entering, my attention was drawn to the well-lit desk that doubled as a table, and its three chairs, including a rolling work chair. The sofa seemed well worn and could fit up to three adults seated or two people when converted into a bed.
The magenta armchair didn't match the rest of the furniture but was comfortable. The living room could easily seat up to seven people by rearranging the furniture, and you could fit two more people by using the sofa's ottoman and bringing in the vanity stool from the bedroom. There was also a 42-inch TV in the living room.
Walking toward the back of the room, there was a small kitchenette that contained a sink, microwave, minifridge, ice bucket and Cuisinart coffee maker.
Adjacent to the kitchenette was the bathroom, which had a single sink, plenty of towels and a shower-tub combination. As is typical with select-service Hilton hotels, the bathroom provided single-use Neutrogena toiletries.
Turning right from the bathroom, another door led to the bedroom, with a king bed dressed in white linens, another 42-inch TV sitting on a set of drawers and a stool in front of a mirror, which could be used for makeup. My room had 23rd Street Northwest residential views.
The bed was uncomfortable due to the worn-out mattress causing it to tilt toward the left. I had to keep shifting my position throughout the night to try and stay on it.
You might find cleanliness issues
While checking out the living room, I removed the sofa cushions to see if there was a bed. I found crumbs, a red jelly bean and a goldfish cracker. I had assumed the sofa bed was clean since there was a top sheet, but pulling it out revealed cream-colored stains on the linens.
While this could have been a one-off experience where a previous guest stowed the sofa bed after use, this seems like something housekeeping should check before the next guest checks in.
The breakfast buffet is included
The hotel offers a complimentary buffet breakfast every morning in its designated buffet area off the lobby from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. It features sliced fruit, salad, two types of breakfast meats (bacon and sausage patties in this case), potatoes, French toast, scrambled eggs, a made-to-order omelet station and a continental bar with cereals, various bread options and oatmeal. The variety of options was fairly impressive and a good, free way to start the day in D.C.
It's not uncommon for the buffet at Embassy Suites to fill up with hungry diners, and that was certainly true here. There were plenty of options, and the staff regularly restocked the buffet. I invited my colleague, Emily Thompson, for breakfast one day and we managed to snag one of the last available tables. Emily, an avid coffee drinker, commented that the weak coffee left much to be desired, so we headed to a nearby cafe after breakfast to get her her caffeine fix.
Rates can vary and There's a pesky $25 destination fee
Since my stay fell during peak cherry blossom season, my average nightly rate was $305.55. Rates at this hotel generally range between $200 and $275 per night but can dip below $150 in the winter, which can be a downright bargain for a stay in the city.
On most nights, the hotel charges 80,000 points per night, the equivalent of $480 based on TPG valuations, so you might want to reserve your Hilton points for a stay elsewhere. For reference, 80,000 will also get you a standard room at the highly-regarded and much more luxurious Conrad Washington D.C. downtown.
The Embassy Suites Georgetown also tacks on a mandatory $25 per night destination fee to paid bookings. However, if you're staying entirely on points, your reservation is exempt from this fee, and you still receive the associated "benefits."
Those include premium Wi-Fi (which is also a benefit of Hilton Honors Diamond status), a 20% discount on overnight parking charges and a $25 credit per day at the grab-and-go Marketplace or District Tap restaurant. The $25 credit must be used daily and cannot be combined with $25 credits from other days to make a single $50 or $75 credit, for instance.
Consequently, I found myself loading up on granola bars at the Marketplace at the end of each day so that this credit wouldn't go to waste. The price of these items felt overinflated at $2.50 for small granola bars and $12 for beef jerky.
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Elite benefits are limited
At Marriott properties, hotels must provide a replacement benefit to mid- and upper-tier elite members when Wi-Fi is included in the resort or destination fee.
While I already receive premium Wi-Fi as a Hilton Honors Diamond member, Hilton doesn't offer a formal replacement benefit even though premium Wi-Fi is part of the destination fee. I did, however, receive a bag of popcorn and two Hershey's bars at check-in.
Outside of that, there was no acknowledgment of my status. There's also no executive lounge, and Hilton doesn't provide its daily food and beverage credit to Gold and Diamond members at Embassy Suites properties.
That said, I still received 100% elite bonus points on my stay.
The District Hilton Club
If you're convinced this isn't the hotel for you, there's another option in the same building.
The top three floors of the Embassy Suites are part of Hilton Club The District Washington, D.C. Measuring at least 506 square feet, the one- and two-bedroom suites in The District are larger than the Embassy Suites' standard accommodations and have upgraded furnishings like hardwood flooring and stainless steel appliances.
There's also a separate check-in area for the District on the 8th floor. Although it's marketed as an entirely different hotel (and there are no upgrades from the Embassy Suites to The District), The District guests have access to the Embassy Suites' daily breakfast.
Accessibility at the Embassy Suites Georgetown
The Embassy Suites Georgetown has a step-free entrance and spacious hallways that allow wheelchairs to pass without obstruction from housekeeping carts. The hotel provides mobility-access suites with a roll-in shower or an accessible tub with handles. The elevator buttons are also designed to be accessible for wheelchair users.
Reasons the Embassy Suites Georgetown might not be for you
- The Embassy Suites is functional, but don't come here with expectations of luxury. The furnishings in the accommodations, including the beds, are showing wear and tear.
- The on-property elite-status benefits are negligible.
- Getting your money's worth from the $25 mandatory destination fee is difficult.
- Recent customer reviews indicate the hotel has room to improve its housekeeping. My stay was consistent with these comments thanks to the detritus I found in the sofa bed.
- During peak breakfast hours, the buffet is full of hungry guests, so it can be difficult to find seating.
- Until the regular fitness center reopens, you might want to avoid the makeshift gym.
The Embassy Suites Georgetown can be a great option for travelers who need square footage in their accommodations, can appreciate a solid complimentary breakfast and want easy access to both Georgetown and downtown.
That said, the room cleanliness issue and slumped bed stand out when I look back at my stay. If I return, I'd want to try the Hilton Club The District, the hotel's upscale hotel-within-a-hotel for upgraded room amenities.
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