Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
No surprises here: a midpriced, midsize, business-oriented chain hotel right downtown
Despite occupying an entire city block and boasting a past dating back to World War II ("Historic Hospitality since 1943," says the sign in the front), the Capital Hilton is nearly inconspicuous. One reason is that it is overshadowed by its much smaller but very high-profile neighbors along 16th Street near the White House. The Hay-Adams, St. Regis, and Jefferson are all within blocks. The other reason is that, with its cement-block structure and expansive layout -- 544 rooms on only seven floors -- the building resembles a hospital more than a hotel.
The comparison goes beyond mere appearances. Also like a hospital, the Hilton is more utilitarian than homey; it gets the job done without flourish or even, some would say, style. The front-desk staff will check you in efficiently and cordially, but don't expect anyone to open a door or help with your bags. In 2010, the Hilton completed a $26 million overhaul of the rooms, which are clean and comfortable, but they're generic, and their decor is uniform throughout the hotel. The food is tasty but unmemorable. A full 80 to 85 percent of the guests are in town on business, and most of those are conventioneers. Basically, the Hilton is like most other midpriced, midsize, business-oriented chain hotels.
The heart of downtown, a 10-minute walk to the White House; 15 to the Washington Monument and the Mall
The location could be very convenient or very dull, depending on your reasons for visiting the capital. The immediate area, in the middle of old downtown, bustles during the day with nine-to-fivers in power suits, but it's quiet on weekends and downright desolate at night. Your only dining and drinking options are on-site or at other hotels like the St. Regis or Jefferson. Overall, it's a fine hub for sightseeing and perfect if you're in town to do business near the White House or Treasury. Just don't count on any nightlife.
The Hilton boasts a central location two blocks from Lafayette Square (behind the White House) and some nice features -- spa, huge gym, 30,000 square feet of meeting space, and rooms that were renovated in 2010. In addition to the Statler Lounge, a restaurant serving contemporary American cuisine at lunch and dinner, in late 2011 the North Gate Grill opened, serving all-American fare with an emphasis on home-style and farm-fresh quality. The latter is open for brekkie, lunch and except Sundays, dinner.
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