Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
There are seven Kimpton-brand hotels in the District, but only two of them are housed in a National Historic Landmark building. The Greek Revival General Post Office, designed by Washington Monument architect Robert Mills and finished in 1839, was reborn as this 183-room hotel in 2002. The four-floor lodging takes up an entire city block on the eastern edge of the Penn Quarter neighborhood.
Bold colors and patterns mark the decor in both the rooms and the public spaces -- particularly the lobby; there's more flash here than at the Grand Hyatt Washington or the Renaissance Washington, D.C. The hotel's popular restaurant also has striking design, with a large open kitchen, high ceilings, a huge bar, and a garden terrace set in the building's courtyard. Even hallways are grand in scale, with pendant light fixtures and contemporary art on the walls. But because the building wasn't originally designed as a hotel, rooms -- and particularly bathrooms, added during the conversion from post office to hotel -- feel cramped despite the high ceilings and large windows.
Service isn't as polished as you'll find at other D.C.-area Kimptons like the Hotel Palomar or Hotel Madera, it's certainly adequate -- and the largely suit-sporting guests seem more interested in the free morning coffee service than what dinner or theater reservations the concierge can arrange regardless. Adding to the business flavor are the bustling meeting rooms, two of which can accommodate hundreds of guests.
Well situated near many attractions in the Penn Quarter neighborhood
Located in the compact section of the city called Penn Quarter, a safe, convenient option for both business and leisure travelers -- full of restaurants and shops (well-known franchises, mostly), but still close to the major sights and monuments. The once-seedy section of town has, in recent decades, been revamped by urban renewal projects -- the most recognizable of which is the Verizon Center sports arena, kitty-corner to the hotel. Other nearby attractions include the International Spy Museum, FBI headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Ford's Theatre, the National Archives, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Theatre. Skirting the neighborhood are Chinatown and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center; just south lies the National Mall and all its attractions, including numerous museums and memorials.
Strange layouts, owing to the building's former life as a post office, make them feel small
The hotel's guest rooms are carved out of the bones of the landmarked 1839 General Post Office building, which means soaring ceilings, large windows, and, unfortunately, aftermarket bathrooms that look out of place. While rooms have enough light, the bathrooms are on the dark side. Window seats, however, provide an added bit of style and comfort.
The Monaco offers many of the amenities you'd expect at this price, and, save the modest business center, they're of high quality. The hotel's free evening wine service, a standard feature of Kimpton-brand properties, is, unsurprisingly, very popular with guests.
Fine for families though standard rooms are small.
Hotel Monaco is a fine hotel for families, but with average-size standard rooms, multiple meeting rooms, and lots of business guests, it's not particularly geared to kids. The Embassy Suites Hotel Convention Center, also in the neighborhood, might be a better choice for its pool, free breakfast, free evening snacks, and on-demand video games in rooms. That said, the Monaco's Double Double Deluxe Rooms have enough room for four, and Mediterranean Suites have sleeper sofas.
Excellent on-site restaurant is popular with locals.
Poste Moderne Brasserie serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has won accolades from the D.C. media for its locally sourced, market-driven menu. (It even harvests some ingredients like herbs and produce from the hotel's courtyard garden.) But visitors with hectic schedules may find it hard to get a proper meal as the restaurant has limited hours throughout the day for each meal. Luckily, there's a limited bar menu starting at lunch.
With many bold decorative touches, most notably a dramatic setting in a landmarked Penn Quarter building, this is certainly a flashy Kimpton Hotels property, with a great location and a well-regarded restaurant. Too bad the service and rooms fall short.