Hotel Monaco Washington D.C. Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Penn Quarter, Washington, D.C., United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Popular Poste Moderne restaurant
  • Short walk to several museums
  • Free wine at daily lobby happy hour
  • In-room spa services available
  • Free morning coffee in the lobby
  • Free Wi-Fi for loyalty program members
  • Pet-friendly

Cons

  • Poorly lit bathrooms
  • Limited hours at Poste restaurant
  • Pricey valet parking

Bottom Line

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.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A stylish hotel set in a historic building, the 183-room Monaco has a popular restaurant and an enviable location, but rooms are smaller than average for D.C. and service could be better.

The lobby
The lobby

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.

 Location

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.

  • Three Metro lines (D.C.'s subway) within one block; two more within six blocks
  • One-mile, or six-minute, drive to Union Station, D.C.'s main train station serviced by Amtrak, commuter rail lines, and the Metro
  • 60-minute cab ride to Dulles International Airport
  • 10-minute cab ride to Reagan National Airport, which is also served by the Yellow and Blue Metro lines
  • Two-mile, five-minute drive from the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam memorial, WW II memorial, and other sites on the western end of the National Mall
  • 10-minute, five-block walk from the National Gallery of Art, National Air and Space Museum, U.S. Botanic Garden, and the eastern end of the Mall.
  • A walkable one mile from both the U.S. Capitol and the White House

 Rooms

Strange layouts, owing to the building's former life as a post office, make them feel small

Queen Deluxe room
Queen Deluxe room

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.

  • A comfortable Sealy Posturepedic Dynasty Plush mattress, custom made for Kimpton, with 300-thread-count Frette linens, four down pillows, and an accent pillow
  • 32-inch, flat-panel LG TVs with 32 channels, including pay-per-view movies
  • Panasonic five-disc CD player with radio; Sony Dream Machine alarm clock radio; iPod dock
  • Well-stocked minibar with soft drinks, beer, wine, liquor, snacks, and toiletries
  • Work desk with corded phone, useful surge-suppressing power strip and Wi-Fi, which is free for members of Kimpton's free-to-join InTouch loyalty program; daily fee for Wi-Fi otherwise
  • Laptop-size safe
  • Bathrooms have standup showers, hair dryers, and Aveda toiletries.
  • Rooms are quiet, despite busy street below.

 Features

Many typical amenities, including a well-regarded restaurant and a modern fitness center.

The fitness center
The fitness center

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.

  • Free, 24-hour modern fitness center has cardio equipment (a bike, a recumbent bike, a stair-stepper, two treadmills, three ellipticals), many with private TV screens, along with weight machines, free weights, yoga mats, and stability balls. Headsets are provided.
  • 24-hour business center has two computers, a Lexmark laser printer, and a paper shredder.
  • In-room spa services, including massages and body wraps, can be arranged.
  • Two meeting rooms accommodate hundreds of guests; a third, smaller, meeting space is also available.
  • A popular on-site restaurant and bar, Poste
  • Free nightly wine reception and free morning coffee service in the lobby
  • Pets of any size are welcome with no fee; food and water dishes are left out in the lobby.

 Family

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.

  • Free cribs; rollaway beds are charged per night
  • Poste restaurant has booster seats, high chairs, and a kids' menu with choices like mini burgers, pasta, and salads.
  • Outlet covers, toilet latches, and night lights are available on request.
  • Kid-size animal print robes on request
  • Babysitting can be arranged; pediatrician is on 24-hour call.
  • 24-hour room service

 Food

Excellent on-site restaurant is popular with locals.

Poste
Poste

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.

  • Breakfast is served Monday through Friday.
  • Lunch served Monday through Friday; a three-course "Poste Power Lunch" is available.
  • Brunch available on weekends
  • Dinner is served daily. A six-course tasting menu is available.
  • Kids' menu with choices like mini burgers, pastas, and salads.
  • Room service available 24 hours, with limited selections in the evening.

 Cleanliness

Perfectly polished

Room and bathrooms are just as clean as the spotless public spaces.

 Bottom Line

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.

Things You Should Know About Hotel Monaco Washington D.C.

Address

  • 700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Hotel Monaco Washington DC - a Kimpton Hotel
  • Kimpton Washington Dc
  • Monaco Hotel Washington Dc

Room Types

  • Double Deluxe Room
  • King Deluxe Room
  • Mediterranean Suite
  • Monte Carlo Guestroom
  • Queen Deluxe Room
  • Robert Mills Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 183
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Penn Quarter, Washington, D.C.
Address: 700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
(See Map)
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