Residence Inn Washington, DC / Capitol Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Southwest, Washington, D.C., United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Large suite-style rooms with kitchens and pullout couches
  • Free hot breakfast buffet
  • Indoor pool and separate whirlpool area
  • Free "social hour" dinners Mondays through Wednesdays
  • Free, in-room Wi-Fi and hard-wired Internet
  • Environmentally conscious endeavors throughout hotel
  • Less than a 10-minute walk to the National Mall, Smithsonian museums, and L'Enfant Plaza Metro station (transfer point)

Cons

  • No full restaurant or room service
  • Late check-in and early checkout
  • Train noise audible in some rooms
  • Self parking in underground garage is costly per day
  • Surrounded by federal buildings, immediate neighborhood often feels deserted.

Bottom Line

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.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Big business during the week, pure pleasure on weekends

The Residence Inn Washington DC Capitol Hill
The Residence Inn Washington DC Capitol Hill

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.

On the 2nd floor, the fitness center feels somewhat outdated, but it's big, and the indoor pool, separate whirlpool area, and small outdoor sundeck are all pleasant surprises.

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).

 Service

Impressively competent with a few key offerings; free grocery shopping service

Staff members are warm, friendly, & welcoming
Staff members are warm, friendly, & welcoming

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.

  • Partnership with Enviroride Hybrid Sedan Services, which can take guests to Downtown DC, Ronald Reagan National Airport, and Dulles International Airport, reservations required
  • Gift shop and newsstand on lobby level stocks beer, wine, candy, ice cream, some fruit, and basic canned and processed foods.
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service, plus on-site coin-operated laundry machines across from fitness center accessible by room key
  • Front desk accommodates late checkout requests whenever possible.

 Location

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.

  • Two blocks to Federal Center Metro station (Blue and Orange Lines)
  • Less than a 10-minute walk to L'Enfant Plaza Metro station (transfer point, Blue, Orange, Yellow, and Green Lines)
  • 30-minute walk to the White House
  • 10-minute walk to the center of the National Mall
  • 15-minute walk to the U.S. Capitol
  • 10-minute cab ride to Union Station
  • 4.5-miles to Reagan National Airport, a 10- to 15-minute cab ride
  • 27 miles to Dulles Airport, a 35- to 45-minute cab ride

 Rooms

Big, open, and apartment-like with fully outfitted kitchens

A Studio Room
A Studio Room

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.

  • Huge, suite-style rooms (starting at 400 square feet) with outfitted kitchens: two-burner electric cooktop, full-size GE fridge with icemaker, built-in GE microwave, GE dishwasher, stainless steel sink with garbage disposal, cookware, wine glasses, dishware, silverware, a Black & Decker eight-cup coffeemaker, a kitchen table, chairs, coffee, tea, and microwave popcorn
  • Serta Perfect Sleeper Five-Star Queen mattress; no-name pillows and lightweight poly comforter; no-name sheets; linens changed twice weekly in extended-stay rooms.
  • New flat-screen TVs with HBO, Nintendo, and on-demand movies
  • Free W-Fi and hardwired Internet in rooms, Ethernet cable provided; Sunbeam radio/alarm clock
  • Narrow, wall-mounted safe in closet barely big enough for laptop

 Features

Solid list of amenities for a nonluxury hotel

The business center
The business center

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.

  • 2nd-floor fitness center with Star Trac cardio equipment and Hoist circuit-weight-training equipment, free weights, small towels, a water cooler, and some natural light
  • Indoor, saltwater pool (3' 1/2" to 4' 1/2" deep) and separate hot tub area adjacent to fitness center with a skylight, lounge chairs, and towels available with room key access
  • Small outdoor sundeck with tables, chairs, and umbrellas adjacent to pool
  • Free in-room W-Fi and hard-wired Internet; free Wi-Fi on lobby level
  • Free business center off lobby lounge is just two desktop PCs and two HP printers.
  • Casual lobby lounge has comfy couches, chairs, a gas fireplace, and a flat-screen TV.

 Pet Friendly

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.

 Eco Initiatives

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.

  • Solar panels on roof power hot water heaters.
  • Hotel partners with Enviroride Hybrid Sedan Services, with service available to downtown D.C., Ronald Reagan National Airport, and Dulles International Airport; reservations required.
  • Hotel buys 50 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources; guests who contribute nightly for renewable-energy “green tags" help neutralize carbon footprint of hotel stay.
  • Ecolab laundry chemicals save hot water and require fewer, smaller rinse cycles.
  • Digital motion-sensor energy-saving HVAC systems operate only when suites are occupied.
  • Quadruple-pane sound- and energy-efficient windows in three-quarters of hotel; remaining windows are double-pane glass (but Amtrak trains still audible through them)
  • Hybrid “flexcar” available on hourly basis for extended-stay guests as alternative to rental car
  • Hotel recycles batteries and fluorescent lights.
  • Hotel holds Marriott Green Hotel certification and Energy Star certification.

 Family

Big rooms, good location, smart family choice

A kitchen in a Studio Suite
A kitchen in a Studio Suite

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).

  • Spacious, studio-style rooms in studio, one-, and two-bedroom configurations (starting at 400 square feet) with fully equipped kitchens and pull-out sofa beds
  • No connecting rooms, but hotel can create four-bedroom suites linked by an entryway with private entrance
  • Indoor pool open throughout the day with room key access
  • No rollaways, but most rooms have pullout couches
  • Free cribs
  • A convenient and ideal base for exploring the Smithsonian Institution, museums, and the National Mall

 Cleanliness

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.

 Food

Cook in the room or eat out for most meals.

The breakfast room
The breakfast room

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.

  • Kitchens in every suite include a full-size GE fridge with icemaker, two-burner electric stove, GE microwave, GE dishwasher, stainless steel sink with garbage disposal, Black & Decker eight-cup coffeemaker, cookware, dishware, wine glasses, kitchen table, chairs, coffee, tea, and microwave popcorn.
  • Free, hot breakfast buffet every morning in lobby-level breakfast room
  • Free "social hour" dinners in rear of lobby Monday through Wednesday with set menus
  • Gift shop and newsstand on lobby level stocks beer, wine, candy, ice cream, some fruit, and basic canned and processed foods.
  • Free grocery shopping service including milk, eggs, bread, cereal, juice, soda, produce, meat, ice cream, and coffee, but no alcohol or cigarettes; hotel shops for and delivers items and bills them to room.

 Bottom Line

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.

Things You Should Know About Residence Inn Washington, DC / Capitol

Address

  • 333 E Street Southwest, Washington, DC 20024

Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As

  • Residence Inn Washington Dc
  • Residence Inn Washington, DC /Capitol
  • Washington Dc Residence Inn

Room Types

  • 1 Bedroom Suite 1 Queen Sofabed
  • 1 Bedroom Suite 2 Queen Sofabed
  • 2 Bedroom Suite
  • Studio Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 233
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Southwest, Washington, D.C.
Address: 333 E Street Southwest, Washington, DC 20024
(See Map)
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