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The Hotel Madera
Tucked away on a quiet, treelined residential street, this 82-room boutique is a good choice for affordable and hip accommodations in the heart of lively Dupont Circle. A well-priced, pet-friendly hotel with plenty of free perks -- daily wine reception, early morning coffee -- plus friendly service and large, sleek rooms, it bustles with business travelers, students, small groups in town for local events, and plenty of return guests.
The hotel's lobby was renovated in 2012, adding space and seating to the once-tiny check-in and reception area. As with every Kimpton brand hotel, Madera hosts a free, nightly wine reception in the lobby and guests seem to enjoy the no-longer cramped confines. There's also free organic, gourmet coffee and tea each morning and late-night milk and Oreo cookies. There's also the expected open-arm policy toward pets, including bowls of water and biscuits just for them.
Aside from the popular, next-door restaurant, Firefly, and the minimally equipped business center (just a single Mac and a printer in a cubby-like space), there aren't many features or services here -- no fitness center, no concierge, and limited room service. But given the size of the rooms, personable staff, location, and free perks, this is one of D.C.'s better deals. If you need more amenities, but still want that Kimpton style, there's always the nearby Palomar. It has a well-equipped fitness center, a pool, and a lobby you'll want to spend time in.
The Madera has a personable staff that does a great job remembering guests' names. One staffer even recalled which museum I visited one day and, in the evening, asked how I liked it. Though this isn't a luxury hotel by any stretch of the imagination, it does offer a few terrific, and unexpected, services, like the option to stow personal toiletry items with the hotel until the next trip, making it easier for repeat visitors here to take a suitcase aboard a flight.
- No concierge; 24-hour front desk staff is generously helpful with directions, restaurant suggestions, and local information
- Same-day laundry and dry-cleaning service
- Room service available throughout the day, but not 24 hours
- Free overnight shoeshine
- Newspapers provided for guests in lobby
- Hotel will keep guest's bag of personal toiletry items for the next visit.
Hotel Madera is located on New Hampshire Avenue, a treelined street that's a block away from the eponymous traffic circle in the neighborhood's center. It's a quiet block both day and night. The diverse neighborhood, named in honor of an American naval officer, Samuel Francis Dupont, is a longtime spirited gathering spot for progressive, socially-minded types, and has plenty of coffeehouses, bars, restaurants, and upscale retail stores. It's the place to head for a vegan dessert, a gay bar, or to buy fresh produce (on Sundays) at the farmers' market.
- Union Station, D.C.'s main train station served by Amtrak, commuter railroads, and the Metro subway system, is about a 10 minute taxi ride away (depending on traffic), or five stops on the Metro
- Two blocks from Dupont Circle Metro station (the Red Line), which offers direct access to Downtown D.C., the Mall, the Smithsonian, Capitol Hill, and the zoo
- 10-minute walk to the White House
- 10-minute drive to the U.S. Capitol
- 15 to 20 minutes by foot to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and other monuments on the western end of the Mall
- The zoo is located a mile-and-half away (just one stop on the Metro).
- Hotels staffers can call or hail a cab anytime of the day; taxis are easy to come by on weekend evenings.
- Hotel is steps away from the Dupont Circle restaurants, shops, and nightlife.
- Five miles from Reagan National Airport
- 25 miles from Dulles International Airport
Large and modern, with quirky Kimpton flare
Rooms have animal-print camis, robes, and socks
The rooms at Hotel Madera are spacious (from 400 to 500 square feet) compared to the average in D.C., and you can choose from one of three, unexpected varieties: Deluxe Standards, Cardio Rooms, which are outfitted with a cardio machine, and Snack Rooms, which throw in a mini-fridge, sink, and microwave. All rooms have modern decor, with plenty of color and texture -- grass-cloth wallpaper, Japanese-print-inspired carpet, sculptural lamps, and sturdy wooden headboards with a pop of color. The size of the rooms -- they're even larger than those at Kimpton's luxury property, Hotel George -- makes them a great value.
- All rooms are spacious for D.C., measuring around 400 to 500 square feet.
- Standard rooms all have king-size beds.
- Cardio Rooms have king- or queen-size bed, and either a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary bike.
- Snack Rooms have two queen-size beds, a mini-fridge, sink, microwave, and breakfast-in-bed tray.
- All rooms include a large wooden work desk with an ergonomic chair.
- Bathrooms have separate marble-topped sink/vanity area; the bathtub and toilet, in a separate room in the bathroom, feel cramped.
- Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, but unfortunately, you can't take the bottles home
- Kimpton trademark animal print robes, sexy leopard print cami and shorts, and fuzzy socks (all available for purchase), are in the closet.
- All rooms have up-to-date electronics: 42-inch, flat-screen TVs with basic cable, HBO, and movies-on-demand, iPod Home docks, power strip to charge electronics, and Wi-Fi (free for members of Kimpton InTouch, a free rewards program)
- Light-sleepers should avoid rooms that face the back of the building; truck deliveries and garbage pickups make an early-morning racket.
Free perks make up for the lack of some on-site amenities.
The Madera's "business center" cubby
What the hotel lacks in size and amenities (no on-site gym, a "business center" consisting of a single desktop computer), it makes up for with free perks like a daily wine reception, yoga totes for in-room exercise, and cheap passes to an excellent local gym. If you're willing to spend a few extra bucks for more on-site features, however, head to nearby Hotel Palomar instead. They have the Kimpton perks -- like a nightly wine reception -- but also great extras like a pool and a fitness center.
- No on-site fitness center, but guests can purchase a pass to nearby Gold's Gym (just around the corner), and they can book a Cardio Room which comes with a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary bike
- No on-site spa, but the hotel can arrange for in-room services, including massages, body treatments, facials, and manis/pedis
- A single Mac desktop computer and printer serves as the hotel's business center
- Fee for Wi-Fi; if you join the Kimptons In-Touch Loyalty Program, however, it's free.
- Free gourmet coffee and tea served each morning in the lobby
- Nightly wine reception with a monthly changing wine selection chosen by the Kimpton sommelier
- Late-night milk and cookies in the lobby
- "Strike a Pose" yoga basket with free tote and exercise accoutrements can be requested.
- Fee for valet parking
It wouldn't be a Kimpton if it wasn't super friendly to pets.
Bowl of biscuits for four-legged guests
The moment you enter the Hotel Madera, it's evident that staffers are eager to please the four-leggers as much as the paying humans. There's a doggie bowl at the front entrance and Milk-Bone treats at the front desk, for starters.
- No fee as long as your pet is under 200 pounds, but pet owners must sign a waiver at check-in
- No limit on the number of pets allowed
- Individualized welcome sign with pooch's name on guest door
- Free amenities include treats, food and water bowls, a mat, bottled water, pickup bags, plus a list of local area pet services.
- Dog beds (for guests to keep), kitty litter boxes, and fancier dog and cat toys are available for an additional charge.
A good choice for families
The Hotel Madera has all the ingredients for a great family vacation: on a quiet street and in a quaint neighborhood, hospitable staffers, good-size room, and a casual kid-friendly on-site restaurant. If you still want a Kimpton and a little something extra for the kids, consider the Hotel Palomar, just two blocks away. It offers the same perks with a large-screen Nintendo Wii, which they break out each night during the wine reception.
- Free cribs; rollaway beds are charged per night
- Snack Rooms, one of the guest room categories, include a mini-fridge and microwave; hotel staffers will do the shopping or there's a huge Whole Foods market six blocks away on P Street.
- Firefly restaurant offers a kids' menu.
- Late night milk and Oreo cookies are free each evening
- Kid-size animal print robes available
- Immediate neighborhood has plenty of great spots for a quick bite.
- Mitchell Park, which has two playgrounds, is just six blocks away.
- Dupont Circle stop on the Metro (D.C.'s subway) is two blocks away; it's one stop to the zoo.
Super clean, inside and out
There are no cleanliness issues in rooms or public spaces, all of which are well maintained.
On-site neighborhood bistro; lots of choices in the area
Seafood with flare at on-site Firefly
The hotel's Firefly restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner, and handles the hotel's room service orders. The memorable menu and whimsical atmosphere make it popular among hotel guests and Dupont Circle residents.
- Firefly serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week, plus brunch on weekends; reservations for dinner are recommended; offers tradition American fare using organic and local ingredients.
- Room service available throughout the day, but is not 24 hours
- Snack Rooms, one of the guest room categories, include a mini-fridge and microwave; hotel staffers will do the shopping or there's a huge Whole Foods market six blocks away on P Street; head to the Dupont Circle Sunday farmers' market for local goods.
- Steps away from dozens of restaurants, cafes, and spots for a quick bite; within a few blocks are Afterwords Cafe at Kramerbooks, Zorba's Cafe, and Tabard Inn.
THIS HOTEL HAS UNDERGONE RENOVATIONS SINCE OUR VISIT. WE WILL UPDATE OUR REVIEW AS SOON AS WE CAN. This 82-room boutique may lack amenities -- there's no on-site fitness center and not much of a business center-- but the can-do staff, up-to-date guest quarters, jewel of a restaurant, and vibrant neighborhood location add up to a solid value in Dupont Circle.
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Things You Should Know About Hotel Madera
- 1310 New Hampshire Ave Nw, Washington, DC 20036
Hotel Is Also Known As...
- Hotel Madera - a Kimpton Hotel
- Hotel Madera Kimpton
- Kimpton Washington Dc
- Balcony Room
- Cardio Room
- Deluxe Room
- Snack Room
- Tranquility Room