Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Built in 1921, the Crowne Plaza's Beaux Arts building was a hit through the '30s and '40s, and even hosted F.D.R.'s inaugural ball. In the later decades, the property changed hands once the neighborhood went into decline — at one time, the Salvation Army owned it and converted it into the Evangeline Home for Girls — but the Crown Plaza took over in 1996 and converted it back into a hotel. With its vaulted ceilings that mimic the octagonal design of the U.S. Capitol Building's rotunda, helpful concierges and desk staff, and an entire floor (the 11th) exclusive to female travelers, the hotel certainly feels classic and stately — more so than other nearby chains, like the Four Points by Sheraton or the Westin Washington. And room renovations in 2012 extended the classic sophistication to the accommodations. Rooms, now in silver and creme tones with the occassional red accent, are stylish and comfortable.
Despite the architecture, the hotel doesn't feel too different from a more conventional D.C. business hotel — laptops in the lobby; afterwork drinks at the 14K Lounge. While its location is great for business travelers — close to the think tanks and lobby groups — it's a bit farther from the sights and museums than other downtown hotels. For the price, it's a reasonable choice for the location, but the more modern Four Points by Sheraton and Westin have better features.
Enthusiastic and helpful
A long walk to the White House, but a Metro ride is the best bet to get anywhere else
The Crowne Plaza is located in D.C.'s busy downtown business district at 14th and K Streets. The area, known as the "K Street Corridor," is filled with some of the city's largest lobbying firms and most prominent think tanks. The neighborhood can be very quiet at night and on weekends, and on a Sunday, for example, you will likely have to walk a few blocks before you find a Starbucks that's open. Franklin Park, across the street, is a bit run-down and you'll typically see vagrants sleeping on the benches at night. While this is not the area for nightlife, there are a few options, such as DC Coast (a trendy bar and restaurant across the street from the hotel) and several nearby late-night dance clubs (Lima, Lotus, and the K Street Lounge).
While the Crowne Plaza is about a 15-minute walk from the White House, it's a very long hike to most of the city's attractions and the monuments on the National Mall, so it's best to take the Metro subway system, only one block away at McPherson Square (Orange and Blue Lines).
Small, but stylish, quiet and comfortable after a 2012 renovation
As the building is a bit older (built in 1921), the guest rooms all come in varying sizes, but most of the rooms are smaller than the typical hotel room in D.C. Still, while the Standard King is certainly tiny (about 250 square feet), and the closet is hardly big enough to stuff a suitcase inside, it is still very comfortable. Plus, after a 2012 renovation, the rooms feel stylish and modern, but still classic. A silver and creme palette, with the occassional red accent, is pleasant and the dark wood furniture is sturdy. But, as is common in older buildings, the toilets flush loudly and you're bound to hear the pipes groan when you turn on the shower.
Unique to this Crowne Plaza is its "business women's floor" — an entire, security-keyed floor (the 11th) just for female travelers from Sunday to Thursday (better security is the thinking). Special amenities include potpourri, bathrobes in women's sizes, slippers, magazines, and a diet/healthy room service menu. In addition, there's a special table at 14K dedicated to the female guests who stay on the 11th floor; supposedly provding them the opportunity to meet and socialize (in practice, this rarely happens).
A decent gym, but no pool or spa
Small rooms, no pool, and a general business-only atmosphere
Given the small rooms, business-focused location, and lack of features, the hotel is not ideal for families. For some better options, check out our list of the best kid-friendly hotels.
Pets welcome, but no special treats
Small dogs and cats, under 50 pounds, are welcome at the hotel. A refundable cleaning deposit is required.
Well taken care of
The hotel is very clean, but carpets and some details are showing their age.
Completely renovated in 2009, the dark, stylish 14K Restaurant and Lounge comes with a covered (and heated) sidewalk terrace so that you can dine streetside, even in the winter. Popular among locals who work in the area, the bar can be lively during happy hour or if the right game is on (there are several flat-screen TVs).
Housed in a unique, 318-room Beaux Arts building near the downtown lobbying firms and think tanks, the Hamilton offers historic class, at very reasonable rates. Rooms — completely renovated in 2012 — are small, but comfortable. But unlike at the nearby Four Points and Sofitel, there's no pool.