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Archive for July 31st, 2011

Not a 5 star hotel–but decent enough at a good location Jul 31

IMG_9855When we started looking for a hotel in Washington DC it was as usually a bit tricky as we have never been to the city before and hence it was not that easy to understand where the best location would be.  We first started looking at Westin but the feedbacks were not that great and we also wanted something a bit cheaper as we were staying for 10 days. In the end we decided to go for Washington Plaza as it seemed to have a good location, because it had a pool and because the price was not bad. I booked the hotel on Expedia and it was 890 Norwegian kroner per night (which is about 165 USD these days) including all taxes but excluding breakfast.

IMG_9849We took a Supershuttle from the airport to the hotel and arrived late afternoon. The hotel is located at Thomas circle. The check in was fast and we got room 232 with a view towards the pool and Thomas circle. I think the hotel has been updated recently and they were still working on a room/suite on our floor. Our room was not very large but the layout was not bad. The bed was what might be called super king-size  as it seemed to be like 2 meters wide and hence it took up a fair bit of the room. In addition that this there was a chair and stool but we used this for storage space for all the fancy pillows from the bed that you don’t really need in the first place. Apart from that there was a desk area which included the desk, stand for the TV and space for keeping one suitecase as shown in one of my photos. When I checked out the room I thought here would be a small fridge under the TV but that was not the case – it was empty.  The walls were painted in light colors and there was a carpet in more or less the entire room.

IMG_9857Upon entering there was a door on the left hand side that led to a room that included the safe, a “wardrobe” (meaning a few hangers on a bar over the safe) and the sink with amenities. I always think it is a bit weird with a sink area with carpet underneath it. Another door led into the tiny bathroom which included the toilet and a bathtub with a shower option. The shower curtain was actually quite good as there were two layers and this seemed to prevent the water from splashing everywhere. It would have been great with better ventilation in the bathroom. There were some amenities but not very impressive in any way – I was glad I brought my own stuff. There was also an iron and an ironing board by the wardrobe and it is always good to have this in case you need to iron some shirts. The hotel also offers laundry service.

There was also a bit of turndown service in the evening and we got a couple of bottles of water – you can also drink the tap water but it does taste and smell a bit of chlorine.  It was also excellent that the hotel offers free wifi – we got a username and password when checking in and we could use this on our different devices.

IMG_9854There was a coffee maker in the bathroom (on the sink) and we tried it once but it took forever to make a cup – so it was easier to just enjoy coffee in some of the nearby coffee shops. The aircon in the room could be controlled to keep the room at a certain temperature. But to do this it would turn on and off all the time and the draft from it was very noticeable. But I was glad that we had aircon as it was really hot in Washington during our stay there. The room also had a door leading out to a common balcony which had stairs leading down to the pool area. The pool area had quite a lot of sunbeds and in the afternoon it seemed to be a popular spot as you could also buy cold drinks from the bar there. And the small pool was quite crowded by kids and adults that wanted to cool down in the summer heat. There was a life guard on duty and the pool was actually 8 ft deep in one area.

IMG_9851Thomas circle is quite busy with traffic and at night it was easy to hear the traffic noise in the room. The regular traffic noise was not a problem but it seems like ambulances and firetrucks use the sirens in a very active way! The location of the hotel is not bad at all – from the hotel to the Mall it is about 1 mile (about 1,6 km) so we walked there several times. We also walked to McPherson metro station located about 500 meters from the hotel (it took about 10 minutes). But one of the best ways to get around might be taking the bus – there is a bus stop right by the hotel and you can e.g. take the Circulator bus to get around.  We did feel very safe in the area and we walked to U street, Dupont circle and the Mall at night. The hotel has a small kiosk in the lobby area where you can buy postcards and snack. In the same area you can also find an ATM which is handy. You don’t have to walk very far to find restaurants and cafes either – within a block or two you can find Starbuck’s, Au bon pain, the brown bag etc so it is not a problem finding a place to have breakfast.

Conclusion
This is not a fancy 5 star hotel but it was a pretty good hotel for our Washington DC vacation. The location is quite good and the area feels safe. The room was a bit on the small side and the amenities were not great. But it was great to have free wifi, access to pool on warm days and to have aircon to keep us cool at night. I would not mind staying at the hotel again and I would also recommended to friends and family.

Washington_plaza_pool

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