The Carlyle Suites Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Three-and-a-half blocks from Dupont Circle
  • Large units, many with pullout couches
  • Free in-room Wi-Fi
  • Room service during restaurant hours
  • Free use of nearby Washington Sports Club
  • Free parking in rear lot based on availability

Cons

  • Room service is not 24 hours.
  • No fitness center (free access to nearby gym)
  • No business center
  • No spa or pool

Bottom Line

Located steps from Dupont Circle, the Carlyle Suites Hotel is set in a handsome Art Deco building with 170 large studio suites that include kitchenettes; what it lacks in features (no fitness center, business center, or 24-hour room service), it more than makes up for in charm and location -- it's a largely unknown D.C. jewel.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A low-key, all-suite hidden gem with large rooms (450 to 500 square feet), free Wi-Fi, and a coveted location steps from Dupont Circle

The Carlyle Suites Hotel
The Carlyle Suites Hotel

The scene at the Carlyle Suites Hotel is best described this way: There is none. This Art Deco former apartment building on a shady, residential stretch of New Hampshire Avenue was fully renovated within the last four years; today it remains a quiet respite from the vibrancy, traffic, and noise of Dupont Circle, which is less than a 10-minute walk, but feels a world away. Its glamorous lobby, foyer, and hallways are stunning surprises worthy of 1930s Hollywood, but the spacious studio suites with kitchenettes, while comfortable enough, unfortunately don't retain much of that fashionable flair beyond a few elegantly geometric accents on the dining table, chairs, vanity stool, desk, and armoire, plus cool elevators that pay homage to the Art Deco aesthetic. Standard Studio Suites with kitchenettes and pullout couches range from 450 to 500 square feet, and Grande Suites measure 600 square feet -- both are immense by D.C. standards.

The hotel's Twist restaurant and bar aren't local hot spots by any means -- they were virtually empty during my two-night stay; but with Dupont Circle's diverse restaurants, bars, nightlife, and Metro station just three blocks away, that wasn't a problem.

Guests include businesspeople, European and Japanese tourists in their 30s, and retired couples on vacation. One night during my stay, I watched a busload of Israeli teenagers on a school trip check in, but afterward, I never heard a peep from their group throughout the entire hotel.

Even though compared to nearby, tricked-out, and hipster-friendly Hotel Palomar and the Dupont Hotel, the no-nonsense Carlyle Suites lacks significant extras (no fitness center, business center, 24-hour room service, or valet parking), it's still a tasteful building in an enviable location on a lovely and safe block. And sizewise, its 450- to 500-square-foot standard Studio Suites with kitchenettes and pullout couches outclass nearby competitors including Hotel Palomar and the Dupont Hotel.

 Service

Limited service, but affable, friendly, and not intrusive

The front desk
The front desk

Front desk staffers are warm and accommodating (gave me mailing envelopes upon request; honored a late checkout without advance notice), but this is not the place for concierge requests, valet parking, or a cheeseburger at 3 a.m. For those and other services, head to nearby Hotel Palomar (with free nightly wine and champagne happy hour for guests) or newly opened Dupont Hotel, a chic 327-room boutique property right on the circle.

  • No concierge
  • Limited room service, open during restaurant hours
  • No valet parking; free parking in rear outdoor lot based on availability (17 spaces)
  • Extra toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, shaving cream, shower cap) provided upon request
  • Free laptop use (three PCs) upon request, based on availability
  • Same-day laundry and dry cleaning services; guest laundry machines in basement

 Location

Best of both worlds -- quiet and on a treelined block, yet near Dupont Circle

Set on an attractive, leafy stretch of New Hampshire Avenue, three-and-a-half blocks from the eponymous traffic circle in the neighborhood's center, the Carlyle Suites has location going for it. The diverse Dupont Circle neighborhood, named in honor of American naval officer Samuel Francis Dupont, is a longtime spirited gathering spot for progressive, socially-minded types: coffeehouses, bars, restaurants, and upscale retail shops abound. It's the place to head for a vegan dessert, a gay bar, or to buy fresh produce on Sundays at the farmers' market. Centrally located with numerous options for nightlife (and frequent crowds), Dupont Circle is ideal for travelers who want to get out of "old downtown" and stay in a neighborhood where locals actually live. It's also the historic center of the gay community and home to Embassy Row.

  • Dupont Circle Metro station on the Red Line is three-and-a-half blocks away, and offers direct access to downtown, the Mall, Smithsonian museums, and the National Zoo.
  • Hotel is steps away from the restaurants, shops, and nightlife of Dupont Circle.
  • Hotels can call or hail cabs anytime; taxis are easy to come by on weekend evenings.
  • Half a mile, or a 10-minute walk, to the White House
  • About two miles, or 10 minutes by taxi, to the U.S. Capitol
  • Five miles from Reagan National Airport
  • 25 miles from Dulles International Airport
  • Union Station, D.C.'s main train station served by Amtrak, MARC commuter rail, and the Metro subway and bus system, is five Metro stops away on the Red Line

 Rooms

Huge, quiet studio suites with kitchenettes, many with pullout couches

A Classic Suite
A Classic Suite

My Classic Double, Room 606, was the hotel's tiniest room at 250 square feet. But it faced leafy New Hampshire Avenue (with graceful townhomes across the street), and was mouse quiet my entire stay. (It's obvious the original apartment walls are thick; no sounds from hotel neighbors, either.) Standard Studio Suites with pullout couches are much roomier, averaging 450 to 500 square feet -- bigger than similar rooms at nearby Hotel Palomar or the Dupont Hotel. Aside from flat-screen TVs, room electronics are meager, and decor feels a bit standard issue, but refurbishments over the past four years have spruced up the property: Kitchenettes are new; suites have plenty of floor space for a table and chairs; bathrooms are bright and clean and connect to a dressing area; toilets are low-flow; memory foam mattresses are good quality; and the furniture, while not anything fancy, plays on the building's Art Deco history. Sure, Dupont Circle's Hotel Palomar and the Dupont Hotel offer more on the amenity front (fitness center, lively bar and restaurant, 24-hour room service), but the Carlyle Suites rivals them (especially for families) thanks to all-suite-style rooms, fully equipped kitchenettes, and real space in which to kick back.

  • Free in-room Wi-Fi
  • Fantastic Tempur-Pedic Memory Foam mattress; Preferred Comfort sheets; lightweight down comforter
  • 37-inch Samsung flat-screen TV with HBO, Food Network, and Bravo, but no on-demand movies; Sony Dream Machine alarm clock/radio; no minibar; electronic safe big enough for laptop
  • Kitchenette with Whirlpool two-burner electric stove, Avanti microwave, mini-fridge, and sink; Keurig coffeemaker with Newman's Own coffee and Green Mountain sugar and creamer; cookware, dishes, and flatware
  • Marble-topped Kohler bathroom sink and shower floor; low-flow Toto toilet; exposed, walk-in shower; Symmons shower fixture and showerhead with unremarkable water pressure
  • Eco-conscious Natura Green toiletries; Baltic Linen RSVP Collection towels
  • Universal access rooms for those with special needs or disabilities

 Features

Seriously light on extras

The laundry facilities
The laundry facilities

Be prepared for very modest features at this serene 170-suite hotel (which feels more like its discreet former apartment building self than a hotel). If you crave exercise, using a business center, or having your car parked for you, check out Hotel Palomar (it even has a pool) or Dupont Hotel in the neighborhood; both have fitness and business centers, plus valet attendants.

  • No business center
  • No fitness center, but guests have free access to swank Washington Sports Club on Connecticut Avenue, a pleasant 10-minute walk. (Cardio and circuit-weight-training equipment, free weights, and free classes; a nominal feee gets Carlyle guests into the coed spa with steam room, sauna, and Turkish hamam.)
  • On-site Twist restaurant is open for breakfast (buffet style), lunch, dinner and brunch.

 Pet-Friendly

Greetings, furry friends

Dogs and cats are welcome at no charge; the hotel assesses a fee only if there's significant damage to the room (which the front desk claims almost never happens), but the hotel doesn't provide bowls, food, or other pet amenities.

 Family

Good for families -- studio suites with kitchenettes, plus a superb location

Rooms feature a kitchenette
Rooms feature a kitchenette

Parents shouldn't be intimidated by its sleek Art Deco lobby and tranquil atmosphere: The Carlyle Suites can be a viable choice for families, particularly thanks to its spacious Classic and Grande Suites with pullout couches, fully stocked kitchenettes, on-site restaurant menu options for youngsters, and delightful location near Dupont Circle and the Metro. It's tough to find a better all-around deal for families in this immediate area.

  • On-site Twist restaurant is informal and serves menu items for kids: choice of entree (chicken tenders, burger, mac and cheese, pasta with butter), a drink, and dessert; tots under three eat free.
  • Fully outfitted kitchenettes are convenient and economical (hotel charges for breakfast).
  • No connecting rooms, but many have pullout couches
  • Free Pack 'n Play cribs; rollaway beds for a pricey nightly fee (book a suite with a pullout couch instead)
  • One stop on the Metro's (D.C's subway) Red Line from Dupont Circle to the National Zoo

 Cleanliness

Generally neat and tidy

Its Art Deco lobby positively gleams, and other public areas and guest rooms are borderline immaculate.

 Food

On-site restaurant, but lots of better alternatives nearby

Twist restaurant and bar
Twist restaurant and bar

Casual Twist restaurant and bar serves a breakfast buffet (not included in room rate), lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, and is separated into two spaces: The bar, which has tables and chairs, oversize black-and-white tile flooring, and incongruous pink neon lights, is not at all a happening place. (One reason for this might be that cocktails were watered down and virtually undrinkable on a recent Wednesday night.) On the opposite side of the lobby is an enclosed patio that, oddly, is dressed up to resemble an exterior street scene in a tiny European village. Foodwise, Twist is completely skippable, especially with the in-room kitchenettes, and the many restaurants, cafes, and pizzerias nearby; still it's a safe option for a cranky brood.

  • Breakfast (buffet style), lunch, and dinner served daily, as well as Sunday brunch
  • Dinner starters include calamari, mezze platter, grilled shrimp, and lamb sausage, and entrees such as roasted salmon, lamb shank, crab cakes, beef filet
  • Room service during restaurant hours
  • Kids' menu

 Bottom Line

Located steps from Dupont Circle, the Carlyle Suites Hotel is set in a handsome Art Deco building with 170 large studio suites that include kitchenettes; what it lacks in features (no fitness center, business center, or 24-hour room service), it more than makes up for in charm and location -- it's a largely unknown D.C. jewel.

Things You Should Know About The Carlyle Suites Hotel

Address

  • 1731 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Carlyle Hotel Washington Dc
  • The Carlyle Hotel
  • The Carlyle Suites

Room Types

  • Classic Suite
  • Classic Suite with Sleeper Sofa
  • Grande Suite
  • Grande Suite with Sleeper Sofa

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 170
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.
Address: 1731 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009
(See Map)
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