Kid friendly (cribs, children's menus, high chairs, coin-operated laundry)
Concierge and room service (limited hours)
Decor throughout is generic
Pool is small and sometimes overrun with kids
Premium in-room Wi-Fi may cost an extra fee
On-site parking is valet-only and pricey
The 384-room Embassy Suites Hotel - Convention Center is an upper-middle-range option with amenities for both business travelers and families. While the vibe here is decidedly chain hotel, this one has plenty to offer with a restaurant and bar, fitness center, small indoor pool with a hot tub, gift shop, self-service laundry room, and business center. Freebies include an extensive breakfast and a two-hour nightly reception with free drinks. Wi-Fi isn't always free, though, and parking's pricey. All rooms are spacious suites with separate bedroom and living areas, and include pull-out sofas, mini-fridges, microwaves, and two flat-screen TVs. Travelers might want to compare rates with the Grand Hyatt Washington. And business travelers may prefer the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel, which is chicer but pricier.
All-suite chain hotel with business and family-friendly amenities
From Monday to Thursday, this high-volume Embassy Suites Hotel is filled with business guests and conventioneers, but when Friday rolls in, so do the minivans, full of tourists and families. It's easy to see why -- rooms are spacious (even entry-level rooms can easily sleep a family of four) and freebies like a breakfast buffet and nightly reception (which includes two hours of free drinks) mean that guests get a lot for their money. The hotel is tasteful throughout and packed with amenities, though nothing stands out as particularly stylish. While the hotel completed a nearly $8 million renovation in 2012, replacing lots of worn furnishings with new items, it's still a chain hotel through and through: Decor is decidedly generic. In the high-ceiling lobby, tiled floors pair with cream and light wood accent walls. Small swathes of carpet set off little sitting areas with red pleather couches and armchairs. The lobby bar steps things up a notch with blue upholstery and mosaic tiled columns, but basically it's the same fare throughout. Still, for business travelers, families, and tourists who aren't too picky on style and want a lot for their money in a prime location, this Embassy Suites delivers.
In Downtown DC, walking distance to the convention center, White House, and National Mall
Located on the border between downtown D.C. and a compact section of the city called Penn Quarter, the Embassy Suites Hotel is a safe, convenient option for both business and leisure travelers -- full of restaurants and shops (well-known franchises, mostly), but still close to the major sights. The White House is about a 15-minute walk, as is the north edge of the National Mall, and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is just a five-minute walk. The once-seedy section of town has, in recent decades, been revamped by urban renewal projects -- the most recognizable of which is the Verizon Center sports arena, a 12-minute walk from the hotel. For sights farther out, the nearest metro stop, Metro Center, is an eight-minute walk and comprises four metro lines (Blue, Orange, Red, and Silver). Both monuments on the southwest mall (Jefferson Monument, FDR Memorial) and west mall (Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial) will take about 30 minutes via public transit, but also require a bit of walking.
Seven-minute walk to Ford's Theatre
Eight-minute walk to the National Portrait Gallery
10-minute walk to the International Spy Museum
11-minute walk to FBI headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building
14-minute walk to the National Archives
18-minute walk to the Newseum
20-minute walk to the National Gallery of Art
15 minutes to Union Station via public transit
20 minutes to the Washington Monument via public transit (25-minute walk)
30 minutes by public transit to the US Capitol building
30 minutes to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport via public transit (10-minute drive without traffic)
One hour and 20 minutes to Dulles Airport via public transit (45-minute drive without traffic)
All suites with separate bedrooms and living areas with pull-out sofas
What's most impressive about rooms at the Embassy Suites are their size. Here, all rooms are suites with separate bedroom and living areas with small kitchenettes and pull-out sofas. Entry-level suites start at a roomy 436 square feet (a nice cut above the approximately 300-square-feet standard in this area). Upgraded Deluxe Suites are around 500 square feet, and Corner Suites start at around 550 square feet. Rooms are more built for function than style, though. Decor is more or less contemporary, but it feels like a chain hotel with a largely uninspired design -- beige carpeting, cream colored walls, light wood furniture, and rust-red upholstery.
An entry-level King Suite features a bedroom, plus a separate living room area with a pull-out couch, armchair, dining table, and a "kitchenette" with a sink, coffeemaker, microwave, and mini-fridge. Suites have at least two 37-inch flat-screen TVs, one in each room, plus irons and ironing boards, safes, and neutral bathrooms with granite vanities, white tiled floors, and combination showers and tubs. Bathrooms have hairdryers and free individual toiletries. Premium Suites add Keurig coffeemakers and free drinks and snacks.
While rooms have plenty of space, guests should note that the hotel doesn't rent rollaway beds (bringing an air mattress is one work around). Premium Wi-Fi doesn't come standard in entry-level rooms, and basic Wi-Fi is poor (though HiltonHonors members will get free premium Wi-Fi no matter the room).
Business and family-friendly amenities, including extensive free breakfast buffet
Like many large chain hotels in the area, Embassy Suites doesn't tailor itself to a particular customer but spreads its net wide with lots of amenities for everyone from families to business travelers. There's a restaurant and bar, pool, fitness room, and lots of event rooms -- though none of these spaces stand out as bastions of design and style, everything's functional and well maintained.
What sets Embassy apart is the freebies, which include a generous breakfast buffet for all guests. The buffet has everything from sausage and cereal to French toast, plus a waffle bar and cooked-to-order omelets. The only downside is that it can get busy, especially on the weekends when made-to-order lines are often long. Another perk is the hotel's nightly managers reception, a two-hour happy hour with free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and light snacks (pretzels, chips). The serviceable in-house Finn & Porter restaurant is open daily for lunch, dinner, and drinks, though there's probably better options outside the hotel. Room service is available during evening hours.
The hotel has a fitness center with modern cardio equipment, including treadmills and ellipticals with individual screens, weight-lifting equipment, and accoutrements like exercise mats and balls, free weights, and medicine balls. There's an indoor pool and hot tub in a room with a few loungers and chairs, but the room is a bit small considering the number of guests, and is frequently over-run with kids.
Family friendly amenities abound -- this is a plus for many, though some guests complain about noisy kids. In addition to the pool, there's a coin-operated laundry room with two washers and two driers, plus children's menus, cribs, and high-chairs.
A roomy 24-hour business center offers desktop computers, ergonomic chairs, and printers. The hotel also has 9,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, including a ballroom that can seat up to 400 guests. Other extras include a gift shop stocked full of souvenirs, an ATM, and foreign currency exchange. Guests often go out of their way to note the helpful and accommodating staff, and there is a separate concierge desk in the lobby. A few downsides: Valet parking, the only on-site option, is a pricey daily fee, and while basic Wi-Fi comes free, it's not that great, and upgrades to premium Wi-Fi cost an extra fee (except for HiltonHonors members, who can bag free premium Wi-Fi).
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