Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
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.
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.
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 has a kitchenette with high top dining table, and the Conference Suite has a small living area that fits up to five people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In-room massages, free wine, and bicycling
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.
Sexy elements, but not the complete package
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.
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.
More environmentally conscious than most hotels
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.
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.
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.
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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