Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
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.
Upbeat, personable staff
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.
In Dupont Circle, tucked away on a quiet street
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.
Large and modern, with quirky Kimpton flare
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.
Free perks make up for the lack of some on-site amenities.
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.
It wouldn't be a Kimpton if it wasn't super friendly to pets.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.