Hotel Rouge, a Kimpton Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Downtown, Washington, D.C., United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Chic, contemporary design elements throughout the hotel
  • Select rooms offer Xbox 360 game consoles, bunk beds, and kitchenettes; most have pull-out couches
  • Free daily wine hours, and free pizza and Bloody Marys on weekends
  • In-room spa services available
  • Free day of bicycling using Capital Bikeshare system
  • Free Wi-Fi (with online Kimpton loyalty member sign-up)
  • Pet-friendly with free beds and bowls available
  • Within walking distance of the metro and attractions in Dupont Circle

Cons

  • Not within walking distance of the National Mall
  • No pool
  • Limited street parking; hotel valet is pricey

Bottom Line

This upper-middle-range property is a few blocks from Dupont Circle, one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. With edgy modern design throughout the property and rooms featuring bunk beds, Xboxes, and animal print bathrobes, Hotel Rouge is easily one of the more fun-spirited and family-friendly hotels in D.C. (though couples and business travelers are equally welcome here). Highlights include large, sexy rooms; in-room spa treatments, and nightly wine hours. There are slightly cheaper hotels in the heart of Dupont Circle, but the Rouge delivers more style and perks than most of its competitors. However, visitors interested in seeing Washington's major attractions may want to consider a hotel closer to the National Mall.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A boutique hotel with bold style

Hotel Rouge is one of the three Kimpton hotels in the Dupont Circle area. While they're all great picks for location and style, they all have different features and decor -- Hotel Madera's rooms are basically the same size as the Rouge's, but that hotel doesn't have a fitness center, and decor is more masculine and classic. Hotel Palomar DC has smaller rooms, but features a seasonal outdoor pool great for the warmer months, and a somewhat nicer gym than the Rouge. Like all other Kimpton Hotels, the Rouge has a daily happy hour in the lobby where guests can enjoy free wine and, occasionally, sangria and local beers. In keeping with the "rouge" theme, the hotel also serves free cold pizza and Bloody Marys on the weekends.

The hotel has become a local landmark thanks to 10 bare-chested statues of Venus lined up across the front lawn, which -- despite their artistic flavor -- have been known to offend more conservative guests.

Located a few blocks from the heart of Dupont Circle, the area immediately surrounding the hotel is relatively quiet. One of the few attractions on this sleepy stretch of 16th Street is Bar Rouge, which is known for its wine on tap, cocktails, and American cuisine.

 Location

A short walk from many of D.C.’s hippest restaurants, bars, and shops

The Rouge Hotel is located between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle -- two bohemian D.C. neighborhoods that are known for their restaurants, bars, music venues, coffee shops, and independent stores. The hotel’s website boasts that 75 restaurants are within walking distance -- a claim that doesn’t sound too far-fetched. Some locals refer to this part of town as the “gay-borhood,” due its numerous gay bars and annual parades. Washington’s “Embassy Row” begins near the hotel (the Australian Embassy is located directly across the street) and continues for three miles down Massachusetts Avenue heading towards Dupont Circle. Dupont is also home to a number of small art galleries, such as the Phillips Collection, and historic buildings like the Cathedral of St. Matthew. The closest well-known tourist attraction is The White House, which is about a 15-minute walk from the hotel.

  • 20-minute drive from Reagan National Airport
  • An hour from Dulles International Airport with normal traffic
  • 7- to 10-minute walk to the main Dupont Circle area
  • 10-minute walk to the closest metro stop in Dupont Circle (Red Line)
  • 5-minute drive or 19-minute walk to the White House
  • 8-minute drive to the National Mall (home to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, and the Smithsonian museums)
  • 10-minute drive to Union Station, which provides Amtrak, Metro, and commuter rail service
  • 10-minute drive from the National Zoo

 Rooms

Chic furnishing and decor with modest bathrooms

Each of Hotel Rouge’s 137 rooms and suites are decorated with bold mixed-media artworks, funky furniture, and bright red headboards that stretch up to the ceilings. The 2011 renovations brought new bedding, furniture, and lighting fixtures to every room. However, the bathrooms have remained generally small and unimpressive.

Before 2001 the 10-story building functioned as an apartment complex, so the rooms are quite spacious, ranging from 400 square feet (the Queen Queen Deluxe Room) to 550 square feet (the Rouge Suite). Most have king or queen beds, pull-out sofas, and wide work desks. Nearly all rooms can comfortably fit four to six people.

The King with Bunk Bed Suite and Queen Queen with Bunk Bed Suite both feature bunk beds, which can be separated from the rest of the room by a heavy curtain. These suites also contain Xbox 360 game consoles, board games, and other playful perks. The Studio Suite with Kitchenette Other has a kitchenette with high top dining table, and the Conference Suite has a small living area that fits up to five people.

  • Large beds with down comforters and European linens
  • Work desks with several power outlets
  • Free Wi-Fi for Kimpton InTouch guest loyalty members (online sign-up is fast and free)
  • Large flat-screen TVs
  • iPod docks
  • Well-stocked organic minibars
  • Essentiel Elements toiletries
  • Kimpton's famous animal print robes
  • In-room safes that fit laptop computers

 Fitness Center

A variety of exercise equipment is available 24 hours a day.

A 24-hour fitness center is located in the hotel basement. Many competing Dupont Circle hotels don’t have their own fitness center and direct guests to a local gym instead, making Hotel Rouge a good choice for exercise buffs. For more than a quick workout, the hotel also offers passes to a nearby YMCA gym for a small fee.

The gym contains a variety of modern fitness equipment, but the room itself feels somewhat cramped and cluttered.

  • Elliptical machine
  • Treadmill
  • Cycling machine
  • Weight training equipment, and free weights
  • Inflatable exercise balls and yoga mats
  • Free fruit and water
  • Flat-screen TV; no individual TVs

 Family

Kid-friendly perks, and bunk beds in some rooms -- plus, children 17 and under stay free

The Rouge’s cosmopolitan style and nude outdoor sculptures may not look kid-friendly, but the hotel actually has fun perks for children. Six Bunk Bed Rooms are available with Xbox 360 game consoles, family board games like Apples to Apples, and "mini-minibars" with kids’ snacks. Even the standard minibars include fun items, such as wax lips and jars of gummy bears. For those who need extra space, connected suites are available.

Booster seats and high-chairs are available at the hotel restaurant, Bar Rouge, although there is no kids’ menu available.

With major Washington tourist attractions such as the National Mall, Smithsonian museums, and National Zoo located less than a 10-minute drive from the hotel, there is plenty for families to enjoy nearby.

  • Free cribs and Playards
  • Fee for rollaway beds
  • In-room child safety kits that include outlet covers, toilet latches, and nightlights
  • Children 17 and under stay free
  • Child-size animal print robes are available for loan or purchase.
  • Hotel rents items such as strollers.
  • Some rooms have kitchenettes and pull-out couches.
  • Staff will help guests arrange local babysitting services.
  • No pool

 Food

Breakfast and dinner is served in the hotel’s trendy Bar Rouge restaurant.

Located next to the lobby, Bar Rouge serves continental breakfast every morning (not included in the room price), and finger foods and dinner in the evenings, but it's closed for lunch. The cuisine is primarily upscale American bar food, such as truffle French fries, cheese plates, and gourmet hamburgers. The entrees are mid-priced for D.C. The restaurant was renovated in 2011 and has a cozy, cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Room service is provided by Bar Rouge, and it's available for breakfast and dinner only.

 Drinks

Wine-lovers can get their fill at Hotel Rouge.

Aside from a menu offering 50 international wines, the hotel’s Bar Rouge is one of the few places in D.C. that serves wine on tap. Most glasses are reasonably priced, and house wines are reduced during happy hour. Half-price bottles are available every Tuesday.

  • Many of the bar’s signature cocktails feature a wine base and incorporate organic ingredients from an herb garden on the hotel’s rooftop.
  • Like all Kimpton Hotels, the Rouge has a Hosted Evening Wine Hour daily in the lobby, where guests can enjoy free wine and, occasionally, sangria and local beers. The hotel also serves free Bloody Marys and cold pizza in the lobby on weekend mornings.
  • A "Rouge VIP Room" is available in the bar for small, private parties.

 Services

In-room massages, free wine, and bicycling

  • In-room spa treatments, such as massages and facials
  • Free yoga basket and On-Demand TV devoted to yoga
  • One day of free bicycling through D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare system
  • Free Wi-Fi available both in-room and in public areas for Kimpton InTouch guest loyalty members (online sign-up is fast and free)
  • Valet parking available for a fee
  • Free morning coffee and tea in the lobby
  • Stroller rental available

 Business and Conventions

Plenty of options for small to mid-sized business meetings

The hotel offers 1,800 square feet of meeting space across four room types, plus catering services and free Wi-Fi. Meeting rooms range from 300 to 576 square feet, and two of them can be combined for a total of 600 square feet.

  • High-tech audiovisual equipment for presentations
  • On-site support staff
  • Wireless Internet available throughout
  • Full-service catering available from Bar Rouge
  • Coat check

 Romance and Honeymoons

Sexy elements, but not the complete package

Between the nude statues out front and the bold red decor, Hotel Rouge has an unmistakably sexy atmosphere. The minibars also contain "lovers’ intimacy kits" with lubricant, condoms, and vibrators.

But though couples may appreciate the sultry design and the in-room massages, they should note that the hotel has no full-service spa, and rooms lack jetted tubs, balconies, and views.

 Weddings

No space for larger ceremonies and receptions

The hotel has little space for ceremonies and large receptions. However, Bar Rouge is a popular venue for more intimate receptions and bachelorette parties. The entire bar can be reserved for up to 80 people, or the Rouge VIP Room is available for up to 15 guests.

The hotel has its own event planner, and catering is available through Bar Rouge.

 Eco-Friendly

More environmentally conscious than most hotels

  • Hybrid vehicles pay half-price for valet parking.
  • Rooms are cleaned with eco-friendly products.
  • Hotel materials are printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink.
  • Free morning coffee is organic and fair trade and/or shade grown.
  • Towels and linens are only washed upon request.
  • 60 percent of hotel waste is recycled.
  • Energy efficient appliances are used throughout the hotel.
  • Low-flow faucets, toilets, and showers
  • In-room recycling bins
  • Organic minibar snacks and beverages
  • Unused or partially used bathroom amenities are donated to charity.
  • In-room spa treatments use natural ingredients.

 Renovations and Upkeep

The hotel completed renovations in 2011.

The Hotel Rouge was transformed from an apartment complex into a hotel in 2001. In the spring of 2011 it underwent $3 million in renovations to all the rooms and public spaces. The overhaul included new bedding, furniture, lighting, and original artwork in the lobby.

 Handicap

Numerous handicap features are provided throughout the hotel.

The hotel offers a number of handicap-accessible King Deluxe Rooms, all of which come equipped with a roll-in shower instead of a tub, and special communication features.

  • Accessible bathrooms with modified bathtubs and roll-in showers
  • In-room communication features and TTY capabilities available
  • Accessible pathway to hotel entrance
  • Accessible registration desk
  • Valet parking available
  • Hotel restaurant, business center, meeting spaces and fitness center are all accessible
  • Closed captioning or decoders

 Pets

Pets of all shapes and sizes are welcome at the Rouge at no extra charge

The Rouge welcomes not only pooches, but pets of all kinds and sizes at no extra charge. However, allergic guests need not fret -- the hotel has a pet-free floor for them.

  • No pet fees
  • Two dog runs nearby
  • Pet-sitting, pet-walking and pet spa services available upon request
  • Free use of water and food bowls
  • Free dog treats

 Bottom Line

This upper-middle-range property is a few blocks from Dupont Circle, one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. With edgy modern design throughout the property and rooms featuring bunk beds, Xboxes, and animal print bathrobes, Hotel Rouge is easily one of the more fun-spirited and family-friendly hotels in D.C. (though couples and business travelers are equally welcome here). Highlights include large, sexy rooms; in-room spa treatments, and nightly wine hours. There are slightly cheaper hotels in the heart of Dupont Circle, but the Rouge delivers more style and perks than most of its competitors. However, visitors interested in seeing Washington's major attractions may want to consider a hotel closer to the National Mall.

Things You Should Know About Hotel Rouge, a Kimpton Hotel

Address

  • 1315 16th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20036

Room Types

  • Conference Suite
  • Executive King
  • King Deluxe
  • King Deluxe Accessible Room
  • King with Bunk Bed Suite
  • King with Day Bed Suite
  • Queen Deluxe
  • Queen Queen Deluxe Room
  • Queen Queen with Bunk Bed Suite
  • Rouge Suite
  • Studio Suite with Kitchenette

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 137
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Downtown, Washington, D.C.
Address: 1315 16th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20036
(See Map)
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