Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Big business during the week, pure pleasure on weekends
Set in D.C.'s compact southwest quadrant, this 13-story hotel with 233 suite-style rooms opened in 2005. Like the majority of D.C. hotels, it's consistently popular with businesspeople and lobbyists Monday through Friday (it's encircled by federal buildings), and families during weekends, who come for the spacious suites with full kitchens, free breakfasts, and indoor pool. The best part is the location; from the Residence Inn, it's an easy, 10-minute walk to the Smithsonian Institution and museums on the National Mall.
Interestingly, the Residence Inn is the only hotel in D.C., (and the only Marriott anywhere), that's owned by a Native American tribe -- actually, a coalition of four: Forest County Potawatomi Community, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. In the lobby, the hotel proudly displays historical information and exhibits about the tribes and their connection to the hotel, which serve as an unexpected American history lesson for kids.
Though guest rooms are far from fancy or luxe, size matters here: sprawling studio, one-, and two-bedroom suites (starting at 400 square feet) are all equipped with kitchens, and most have pullout couches -- meaning that there's plenty of space for families to spread out and stay awhile.
Disappointingly, there's no real restaurant on-site, but the hotel serves a free, hot breakfast buffet every morning, and hosts free, simple buffet dinners on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. (With very few eateries within walking distance, these are valuable perks.)
Even though the immediate neighborhood is often quiet, the hotel takes security seriously, which is comforting; guest elevators require room key card access, and every person who enters the premises must walk past the front desk.
Across the board, and especially for families, the Residence Inn by Marriott is a better choice than both the Holiday Inn - Washington Capitol (which has small rooms, overpriced food, and an unclean fitness center) and the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel (which has drab and dated rooms, few amenities, and convention hotel vibe).
Impressively competent with a few key offerings; free grocery shopping service
Staff members are warm, friendly, welcoming, and multilingual. The hotel staff will shop for groceries and deliver them to your room for free (the service is free -- you pay for the groceries). This is particularly useful because of the dearth of nearby retail.
Close to the Mall, but in the middle of a dormant zone
Right above outdoor Amtrak train tracks (rumbling can be an issue), the hotel is located in an essentially lifeless part of the city's southwest quadrant surrounded by federal buildings including FEMA, NASA, Social Security Administration, Department of Education, Department of State, and a shuttered police station that's slated to become a forensic lab. It's also a quick amble to L'Enfant Plaza, a drab, 1970s office park that's home to government agencies (HUD, Energy, NTSB) and one of the more outdated malls around. The good news is that L'Enfant Plaza Metro station is less than a 10-minute walk, and Federal Center SW Metro station is two blocks away. Plus, the Smithsonian Institution, the Mall, and its museums are an easy 10-minute walk. The L'Enfant Plaza Hotel is just as close, but not nearly as nice or as good a value.
Big, open, and apartment-like with fully outfitted kitchens
Accommodations at the Residence Inn are nothing fancy (no room service, high-tech electronics, or luxurious furnishings). But the basic suite-style rooms with kitchens in studio, one-, and two-bedroom configurations are new, clean, and significantly larger than those in comparable all-suite hotels around town. Nearby, the Holiday Inn - Washington Capitol has small, unmemorable rooms, while those in the conveniently located L'Enfant Plaza Hotel are drab and dated.
Solid list of amenities for a nonluxury hotel
With its indoor, saltwater swimming pool, separate whirlpool, and big fitness center (not to mention free, hot breakfasts), the Residence Inn by Marriott bests the nearby L'Enfant Plaza Hotel and the Holiday Inn - Washington Capitol in terms of on-site amenities.
Bring the animal kingdom, but for a regal sum
Pets are allowed for an astronomical nonrefundable fee per pet per stay, plus an extra daily service fee.
Admirable eco-conscious practices
In addition to using fluorescent bulbs, low-flow toilets, and eschewing Styrofoam, the Residence Inn takes a much more earnest approach to preserving the environment than you might expect from a chain hotel.
Big rooms, good location, smart family choice
Parents and kids flock here on weekends to take advantage of the big studio, one-, and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens, indoor saltwater pool, free breakfast buffets, and the hotel's proximity to the Mall and Smithsonian museums (less than a 10-minute walk).
In shipshape condition, yet always improving
The hotel still feels pretty new; public spaces and guest rooms are more than adequately neat, clean, and tidy. Soft goods (rugs, pillows, linens, bedspreads) were replaced in 2010.
Cook in the room or eat out for most meals.
The Marriott Residence Inn doesn't have a full-service on-site restaurant. But each suite has a kitchen (fridge, stove, microwave, dishwasher, sink with garbage disposal) stocked with cooking supplies, and the hotel offers a free grocery-shopping-and-delivery service (the service is free, you pay for the groceries). Downstairs, the hotel serves a free, hot daily breakfast buffet in the rear of the lobby, plus free, no-nonsense dinner buffets with set menus on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. The surrounding neighborhood is almost completely devoid of places to eat, so you'll likely want to take advantage of the hotel's offerings.
Located in D.C.'s compact southwest quadrant, this 13-story hotel with 233 large, suite-style rooms opened in 2005 and remains popular with businesspeople and lobbyists during the week (it's encircled by federal buildings) and families on weekends (spacious suites, free breakfasts and dinners, indoor pool). The Smithsonian Institution and museums on the National Mall are an easy, 10-minute walk.