L'Enfant Plaza Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Southwest, Washington, D.C., United States

This hotel is currently closed for renovations.

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Short walk from most major attractions and museums
  • Direct access to four of the five Metro lines
  • Heated dome over the outdoor pool for year-round usage
  • A serviceable restaurant, pub, lounge, and Starbucks coffee shop, all on-site
  • 24-hour fitness center
  • Pets welcome, up to 75 pounds, for a per night fee and a refundable deposit

Cons

  • Worn, outdated guest rooms
  • Limited off-site dining at night
  • No in-room coffeemaker
  • Fee for Wi-Fi
  • Pricey valet parking, with in-out privileges

Bottom Line

Within walking distance of the monuments at the Mall and the Smithsonian, and just steps from four of the five Metro subway lines, the 370-room, convention-focused L'Enfant Plaza Hotel has an ideal location. But despite its year-round pool, the worn, outdated guest rooms are not ideal.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

The entire L'Enfant Plaza is trapped in the Watergate era, and the 370-room hotel is no exception. If the hotel gets up to date, it's got decent amenities, and a superb location for sightseeing and getting around Washington D.C.

A Deluxe Double Room
A Deluxe Double Room

In the late sixties, a huge office complex with an underground mall opened in Southwest D.C., L'Enfant Plaza. Festooned in gold plating, neon, rows of glaring light bulbs and an array of colorful flags that wouldn't look out of place in an Up with People routine, the mall feels stuck in a disco era time warp. It has all the charm of Leonid Brezhnev, all the grandeur of iron-curtain public housing, and all the economic vitality of Jimmy Carter's days of malaise. Inside the mall, in addition to the shops and the Metro Station (and its four subway lines), there is the 370-room L'Enfant Plaza Hotel (opened in 1973).

Buzzing with all things political, L'Enfant Plaza feels like a Washington D.C. hotel -- not just a hotel that happens to be in the nation's capital. Its expansive marble lobby has numerous seating areas for lobbyists to ply their trade, and there's more than 21,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space (accounting for 45-percent of the the hotel's business). Catering to its international clientele, employees proudly list their home countries on their nametags, and the hotel brags that over 20 languages are spoken by its staff, including Farsi, Tagalog, and Romanian.

But like a polyester leisure suit, the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel is more fun as an idea than as a practicality. Though its guest rooms are a roomy 320 square feet -- about 20-percent larger than the D.C. standard (one advantage of its construction date) -- they are showing their age. In my room, for example, the faucet and bathtub stopper were corroded, the furniture was banged up, the cushion on the bench was faded and stained, the paint was chipped, the balcony looked dingy, and, demonstrating a subpar attention to detail, there were half-stuck label-maker instructions next to the toilet. And while most other hotels in D.C. have upgraded to flat-screens and iPod-docks in the guest rooms, all you get here is a cheap plastic AM/FM clock radio and an old tube set.

The rooms are looking a little tired, but the hotel does not plan to renovate anytime soon. In the meantime, families or groups should look into other downtown options like the Embassy Suites Convention Center or the Marriott Residence Inn Capitol. But if L'Enfant's location is essential, it might be your only choice -- the only other nearby is the considerably more expensive Mandarin Oriental.

 Location

Extremely convenient; an ideal location for D.C. sightseeing

The hotel is located in L'Enfant Plaza, a drab 1970s office plaza that's home to government agencies (HUD, Energy, NTSB) and one of the more outdated malls around. It's convenient though, four of the five Metro lines stop at the Plaza (there's an entrance through the hotel) and the Smithsonian Institution is only a couple of blocks away.

  • Gray Line tour buses come right to the front door, frequent taxis
  • 1.5-miles to Union Station (the Amtrak train hub), a 10-minute cab ride away
  • 10- to 15-minute drive from Reagan National Airport, or a 15-minute Metro trip on the Metro
  • 27 miles to Dulles Airport, about a 35- to 45-minute cab ride
  • One-mile, 12-minute walk to the White House
  • Half-mile, 10-minute walk to the center of the Mall, including the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial, a 12-minute walk to the Jefferson Memorial, and a 15-minute walk to the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Three-block, five-minute walk to the Smithsonian Institution
  • 15-minute walk to the U.S. Capitol Building

 Bottom Line

Within walking distance of the monuments at the Mall and the Smithsonian, and just steps from four of the five Metro subway lines, the 370-room, convention-focused L'Enfant Plaza Hotel has an ideal location. But despite its year-round pool, the worn, outdated guest rooms are not ideal.

Things You Should Know About L'Enfant Plaza Hotel

Address

  • 480 L Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024

Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As

  • Hotel l Enfant Plaza
  • l Enfant Plaza Hotel
  • Lenfant Plaza Hotel

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • Executive King Room
  • Parlor Room Suite
  • Superior View Double Room
  • Superior View King Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 370
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Southwest, Washington, D.C.
Address: 480 L Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024
(See Map)
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