The Ritz-Carlton Washington Rating: 4.5 Pearls
West End, Washington, D.C., United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Foggy Bottom neighborhood is far from most sightseeing spots and fairly empty at night.
  • Fee for W-Fi after the first day
  • Small business center; extra fees for computer use and printing
  • Daily fee to access the gym and spa
  • Pricey (valet only) parking

Bottom Line

The larger of Washington's two Ritz-Carltons, this 300-room Foggy Bottom outpost offers the whole Ritz-Carlton package: stellar service, big and comfortable rooms, access to one of the city's best gyms (Sports Club/L.A.), and on-site Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. And yet, a sleepy location and fairly generic design make it a less-than-enthralling choice.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Luxury with all the requisite perks, but nothing especially breathtaking

Dessert at Eric Ripert's Westend Bistro
Dessert at Eric Ripert's Westend Bistro

It's reliable, it's luxury, but it's just ... a little boring. The 300-room Ritz-Carlton Washington adheres to all the tenets of a Ritz: service so good it's practically the industry gold standard, spacious rooms with all the hallmarks of comfort and luxury, and just enough standout hotel amenities that guests will feel spoiled. But in design and substance both, there are no surprises, nothing exciting, nothing to inspire "oohs" and "aahs." Ritz loyalists will be happy. Anybody looking to be dazzled -- and why not, at this price point? -- risks a bit of disappointment.

While the standard guest rooms are perfectly comfortable, and a good 200 square feet larger than the average Washington D.C. hotel room, they don't have nearly as much character as the rooms at the Park Hyatt Hotel or Dupont Circle's Jefferson Hotel.

And then there's the other Ritz, the smaller, 87-room The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown. Though the two hotels have virtually identical rooms and the same service standards, the Georgetown Ritz is a bit more unique, thanks to its unconventional setting in a restored industrial trash incinerator, and charming lobby design.

Still, given that the Ritz Washington has the popular Westend Bistro and access to the 100,000-square-foot Sports Club/L.A., it's hard not to affirm it as one of the most luxurious hotels in D.C.

 Service

As if the entire staff went through a Ritz-Carlton service boot camp, the service here is flawless.

Service is where the Ritz consistently excels and often beats the competition. From the time you pull up in the driveway, the staff is on top of everything. As the bellman pulled my luggage onto a cart, he asked my name, spoke it again into an earphone, and apparently this heralded my arrival to the staff; I walked into the hotel, towards the front desk, and they greeted me with a "Welcome to the Ritz, Ms. R____!"

  • Concierge desk open throughout the day
  • Twice-daily housekeeping, including automatic, free turndown service
  • Complimentary morning newspaper delivery
  • 24-hour room service
  • Valet parking

 Location

Located in the West End, a sleepy part of town, but within walking distance of Georgetown and Dupont Circle

The Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. has a convenient, if sleepy, location within the West End. It's decidedly sleepier than Georgetown, its wealthier, more historic neighbor (a 10- to 15-minute walk west). The downside to the vicinity is that there aren't many restaurants, cafes, or nightlife -- for those you'll need to head to Dupont Circle, a 15- to 20-minute walk (or quick taxi), or to nearby Georgetown.

  • 5-minute walk to the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop (three stops on the Blue or Orange Line to downtown's Metro Center; five stops to Smithsonian museums)
  • 10- to 20-minute walk to the heart of Georgetown and some of the city's best shopping and restaurants
  • 10- to 15-minute walk to the Potomac River waterfront
  • Five-minute walk to George Washington University
  • 20- to 25-minute walk (or five to 10 minutes by taxi) to the White House and the Lincoln Memorial
  • 15- to 20-minute walk, or two Metro stops to Dupont Circle

 Rooms

Big and comfortable rooms, with luxury details like 400-thread-count linens and separate bathtubs, but a bit formulaic and flat in their design

The Club Level King Deluxe Room
The Club Level King Deluxe Room

Ritz-Carlton rooms are tried and true -- a good thing, if you know what you like and what you like is the Ritz. And they're great: lots of space, king-size featherbeds, 400-thread-count linens, and big marble bathrooms with separate bathtubs and stand-up showers, and Bvlgari toiletries. On the other hand, a room at the Ritz can be a bit formulaic: Decor is reliably traditional, with understated modern accents to keep it from looking dated (in this case, white beds, beige walls, and dark wood with gold trim gets a facelift from upholstered chairs in seafoam and brown). The rooms are just as nice as the ones at any Ritz we've ever visited (including the nearby Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, which is usually more expensive). You can't go wrong staying here, but there are other luxury hotels in D.C. that simply feel more ... special. Check out the The Jefferson or the Park Hyatt, for example (though both have slightly less square footage in their smallest rooms).

  • Standard rooms are a large 550 square feet, with the option of one king bed or two double beds, and suites range from 900 to 2,200 square feet. (Club-level rooms are slightly smaller, at 450 square feet.)
  • Rooms have either courtyard views or city views; neither are jaw-dropping, but for D.C. they're perfectly fine (building codes restrict height).
  • Large marble bathrooms all have separate bathtubs and large standing showers, with full sets of Bvlgari toiletries.
  • Comfortable beds: feathertops; 400-thread-count linens; down comforters
  • Large, 42-inch flat-screen TVs and iHome iPod-docking alarm clock radios
  • Rooms are notably fragrant on entry, but the spice-candle smell is subtle enough that it doesn't cause headaches.
  • Stocked minibar
  • Wi-Fi or high-speed Internet is available for an additional fee (free for the first day).

 Features

Access to Sports Club/L.A. plus a few other standards, but all cost extra

The Sports Club/L.A.
The Sports Club/L.A.

Beyond the rooms and service, access to the Sports Club/L.A. is by far the best perk of staying here. The multistory fitness complex, which sells memberships as a private club, has a lap pool, basketball court, four squash courts, cycling and aerobics studios, and two stories of cardio and weight equipment. Locals will tell you it's the best gym in Washington, and whether or not that's true, it stands head and shoulders above any other hotel gym in the city.

Otherwise, there aren't many notable features at this Ritz, and just about everything costs extra. You have to pay for use of the fitness center, for Wi-Fi after the first day, to use anything in the basement business center, and for access to the Club Level Lounge, a lounge only open to guests who either prebook 9th-floor rooms or choose to pay for lounge access.

  • Per person daily fee to access the on-site, 100,000 square-foot Sports Club/L.A., a huge private membership gym that includes a pool, basketball court, and squash courts, along with two stories of cardio and weight machines
  • Services at The Spa at the Sports Club/L.A. can be billed to the hotel; they do facials, massage, waxing, and manicure/pedicure services
  • The Club Level Lounge on the 9th floor offers free continental breakfast, light lunch, cocktails and hors d'oevres, and after-dinner cordials and dessert, plus its own computer stations for free use. Access costs extra per night, depending on the time of the week and occupancy.
  • Wi-Fi or high-speed Internet is available for a fee, but it's free the first day.
  • Free coffee and tea near the elevators in the morning; free cookies in the afternoon

 Family

Not much beyond a free toy on arrival, but rooms are big and quiet

Quiet, comfortable rooms, 24-hour room service, and an on-site restaurant make this an easy enough place for families to stay (though the restaurant's fancy twists on American food might prove hard for the 10-and-under set). But there's nothing particularly special for kids here. The hotel keeps a "toy wagon" behind the front desk to offer kids a small gift on arrival, but otherwise they don't do much to entertain.

  • 24-hour room service (with a kids' menu) and on-site Westend Bistro
  • Cribs are free.
  • Rollaway beds are charged per night and can fit into all rooms, except those with two double beds.
  • Far (at least a 15- to 20-minute walk) from the Washington Mall and kid-friendly museums like the Air and Space Museum

 Cleanliness

Immaculate

Twice-daily housekeeping and a $12 million renovation in 2008 have kept the hotel squeaky clean.

 Food

Celebrity chef Eric Ripert's Westend Bistro

Salad at Westend Bistro
Salad at Westend Bistro

Run by Eric Ripert, the Michelin-star celebrity chef who runs New York's acclaimed Le Bernardin, the Westend Bistro is a popular spot among locals, but it's nowhere near as special as Le Bernardin. It's overseen by Ripert, but the Franco-American menu is really little more than bar food with a twist. That said, the bar was almost always full, and their wine and cocktail menus are enough to keep guests and locals happy all night. The hotel also serves breakfast and lunch in its Lobby Lounge, and offers 24-hour room service.

  • Westend Bistro, from chef Eric Ripert, open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday; dinner only on weekends
  • Lobby Lounge serves breakfast daily; light fare and drinks in the evenings; on weekends, they serve lunch
  • 24-hour room service serves traditional American dishes like club sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, and chicken pot pie; breakfast a la carte

 Bottom Line

The larger of Washington's two Ritz-Carltons, this 300-room Foggy Bottom outpost offers the whole Ritz-Carlton package: stellar service, big and comfortable rooms, access to one of the city's best gyms (Sports Club/L.A.), and on-site Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. And yet, a sleepy location and fairly generic design make it a less-than-enthralling choice.

Things You Should Know About The Ritz-Carlton Washington

Address

  • 1150 22nd Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20037

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Ritz Carlton Washington Dc
  • Ritz Washington Dc
  • Ritz-Carlton Washington Dc
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC
  • Washington Dc Ritz
  • Washington Dc Ritz Carlton
  • Washington Dc Ritz-Carlton

Room Types

  • Club Deluxe Room
  • Club One Bedroom Suite
  • Club Presidential Suite
  • Deluxe Room
  • One Bedroom Suite
  • Presidential Suite
  • Ritz-Carlton Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 267
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Some
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Hotel Information

Location: West End, Washington, D.C.
Address: 1150 22nd Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20037
(See Map)
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