Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Some slight kitschy appeal on the surface, but amenities are few, and the suites, although large, are in much need of renovation
Upon entering the St. Gregory, you might think you've accidentally stumbled into Madame Tussauds wax museum. In the center of the lobby there's a life-size statue of Marilyn Monroe in her notorious, dress-catching pose above the subway grate from the The Seven Year Itch. It's so accurate, right down to the veins on her ankles and the polish on her toes, that (it's rumored) a tipsy John Ritter once tried to make out with her.
Marilyn Monroe can also be found elsewhere in the hotel -- her pictures line the hallways and the 21M lounge -- but her likeness isn't the only kitschy element in the hotel. Its name comes from a quirky (and out-of-print) 1965 Arthur Hailey novel. Every Presidential election cycle, its M Street Bar & Grill has a "burger race" -- as of November 2008, guests can dig into the Obama Burger made with fresh mozzarella, julienne basil and marinara sauce (no clue where the Italian-Obama connection comes from).
But the boutique-y fun stops right about there. Mostly, the hotel caters to business travelers -- there are a number of media outlets on the block, like CBS, CBN and Japan Broadcasting. Lackluster wallpaper, lumpy foam pillows, vinyl-covered baseboards, and outdated cassette deck/CD-player radios give the guest rooms an institutional feel, more like a 1980s doctor's office than a funky hotel like the nearby Hotel Palomar. Making matters worse, the hotel leaves nit-picky notes in the rooms asking guests not to put luggage, shoes, or ink pens on the bed and requesting that they leave the windows shut (though, that's not bad advice given the mosquito situation in this former swamp).
So why stay at the St. Gregory? Value. The standard, "Deluxe" Rooms are a much bigger-than-average 370 square feet and 100 of the 154 guest rooms are huge, very affordable suites that include a pullout sofa bed and in some cases a full kitchen, including a fridge, stove, microwave, and dishwasher. However, it's well worth it to compare rates at the Embassy Suites Washington D.C., where you can get a better room with similar space and great perks, like a free hot breakfast and free beer and wine for happy hour.
Dupont Circle mixes residential, commercial and nocturnal entities in a homey neighborhood package that's not too far from the tourist attractions. Block by block, Dupont Circle encompasses a number of different things to do and see, such as Embassy Row, well-kept brick brownstones, art galleries (including the renowned Phillips Collection), and historic buildings such as the Cathedral of St. Matthew (where J.F.K.'s funeral was held) and the Woodrow Wilson House, the only presidential museum in the district.
But to most visitors, Dupont Circle also means nightlife. Unlike many parts of Washington, it's been a bohemian enclave for decades and is often considered the heart of gay life in Washington. There are watering holes of all kinds, from the divey Big Hunt to the upscale 18th Street Lounge, to Apex, a popular gay dance club for more than 25 years.
Its life-size Marilyn Monroe statue in the lobby is hot (the way some like it), but the 154 guest rooms in this Dupont Circle hotel feel more outdated business hotel than funky boutique. But as the rooms (two-room suites, mostly) are much bigger than average, it's a passable choice for longer stays.