If you ever had the pleasure of visiting the historic Hotel Washington back in the day and thought it was grand, you should see it now. The Hotel Washington is now the W Washington DC, and like most W Hotels that I’ve had the pleasure to visit, very nicely done. I recently spent one night at the W DC to celebrate my 42nd birthday, complete with meat overload dinner at the nearby Fogo de Chao. I booked a “Cash and Points” stay for $90 dollars and 4,800 Starwood points. The going rate for rooms was $250 and up for my Saturday night stay.
Since this was a “staycation” of sorts, we just cabbed it from our home in northwest DC to the hotel. For out of towners, the closest Metro station is Metro Center which services the Blue, Orange, and Red lines. From Reagan National (DCA) just take the Yellow Line to Gallery Place, and switch to the Red Line for the short hop over to Metro Center. (Note: Reader John points out that if you board the Blue Line at DCA, you can take that to both McPherson Square and Metro Center without changing trains at Gallery Place. I concur. Judging by the map, it “looks” to be a bit out of the way to take the Blue Line. In reality, it’s 8 stops to McPherson Square and 9 to Metro Center vs 7 stops to Metro Center (including 1 train change) if you take my suggested route. I live here and am accustomed to the Gallery Place gauntlet. For someone with bags and lacking familiarity with the Metro system, it would probably be less of a hassle to take the Blue Line even if it is 1 or 2 more stops. YMMV.) I would plan on $15 dollars if you’re taking a cab from DCA.
We arrived at the hotel around 3pm on Saturday afternoon. The lobby area was very quiet at that time and we walked right up to the front desk where we were pleasantly assisted. Once seeing my DC driver’s license, the agent questioned “just here for a staycation?” To which I replied that we were celebrating my birthday. Hey…..it seemed slow, I thought I might score a nice suite upgrade for myself. 🙂 Alas, that was not to be, we were upgraded from a “Wonderful” room to a “Spectacular” room, but the desk agent did walk over to the lobby bar to bring us 2 glasses of champagne in honor of my big day. 🙂 And with that, we were off to our 9th floor room. One item of note, the original elevator shafts from the old Hotel Washington remain in use, so the elevators are quite small in comparison to your average hotel, but they have been equipped with modernized lifts that require you to tap your room key on a reader in order to select one of the floors to get to your room.
Our 9th floor Spectacular room was typical W trendy with modern furnishings, an LCD TV, desk, and pretty cool bathroom. The original “bones” of the Hotel Washington are obvious though, because the room itself was quite small. Not European Hostel small….but if you aren’t familiar with old hotels, you might be surprised by the size of the room. Other than that, the bed was uber-comfortable, the desk area was well lit, and both wired and wireless internet were available for a fee of $14.95 per 24 hours. Thankfully, the internet is free to SPG Platinum members. Additionally, 2 hours of complimentary access is available to all in the lobby area. All in all, the room, while smallish, was very comfortable and certainly suitable for a short stay. Frankly, the hotel has a unique character coupled with the W cool factor. I snapped a few photos.
That last shot is on the window side of the bed looking towards the closet and chaise lounge. On the other side of that frosted glass is the shower. Be advised that if you are going to have friends over while one of you showers and gets ready, your guests could be in for a show. Since the room isn’t big enough for more than 2 people, that probably won’t be an issue, but consider yourself advised.
Around the Hotel
There are numerous great restaurants near the hotel including the ever popular Old Ebbitt Grill, the Occidental (at The Willard), and Bobby Van’s Steakhouse. Old Ebbitt is the most reasonably priced of those 3, but be warned it is VERY popular. If you want to dine their, make a reservation using Open Table or be prepared to wait on popular nights. The hotel’s on J&G Steakhouse receives good reviews but I have yet to dine there. Mrs MJ on Travel and I went for meat overload at Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian Churrascaria near the hotel. I hadn’t been in a while…as in years, and suffice it to say dinner was really good!
No piece on the W DC would be complete without mentioning its fabulous rooftop bar, P.O.V. The views of the sights in DC are just awesome. The White House seems close enough to almost touch! There is both an indoor and outdoor lounge on the roof. Frankly, the indoor lounge features some nice views of its own. Sorry for the poor iPhone image at night, but you get the idea.
The Bottom Line
A W with a more unique flavor than most, thanks to being converted from the old Hotel Washington, the W Washington DC gets the MJ on Travel seal of approval. If business or pleasure bring you to DC, consider the W. You won’t be disappointed.