Oyster Hotel Photos
Oyster Hotel Review
An 888-room hotel in the Penn Quarter that feels vast and impersonal
The 888-room Grand Hyatt is one of the largest hotels in the city -- and feels every bit that big. The hotel is centered around a soaring 12-story atrium with five restaurants, six elevators, and a blue tiled lagoon with a piano propped on an island in the middle. Between the escalators ferrying guests to and from floors, the crowds spilling out of the Starbucks, and the lines that can form at peak hours around the check-in desk, the building feels more like a mall than a hotel.
With the elevators at the far end of the main entrance, it can feel like a short hike to get to a room near the middle of the atrium. Rooms themselves are ordinary in just about every way except for the 42-inch LG flat-screen TVs and the iHome iPod docks. The décor is dark and stale, the lighting oddly yellow, and and noise from the halls, other rooms, and the atrium can be a problem. Located six blocks from the White House and steps from three Metro lines, the hotel is convenient for getting around D.C. With more than 40,000 square feet of event space, the Grand Hyatt is a business hotel first and foremost, and it feels like one -- big, crowded, and impersonal, with a staff that's there to crank guests in and out.
Things are going to be changing, however, as the Grand Hyatt changed hands in summer 2012. Now owned by Host Hotels, the Grand Hyatt is in the process of updating all of its guestrooms, with work slated to be complete by March 2013.
Compared to its closest neighbor, the Marriott Metro around the corner, the Grand Hyatt's rooms are slightly larger and better equipped. But the Marriott has a nicer gym and pool. Plus they're both free, whereas the Grand Hyatt charges a fee to use the gym, and I found much of the cardio equipment to be in disrepair. The Hyatt has a more lively vibe than the Marriott, but it's also typically more expensive. Both hotels are equally convenient to the Metro Center subway stop, so unless you have to stay at the Grand Hyatt on business, it's worth price shopping.
With so many guests, service can be sluggish and elevator waits can be long.
With 888 rooms spread over 12 stories, the Grand Hyatt is one of the largest hotels in the city. It's so big that velvet ropes are set up at the front desk to keep waiting guests organized during peak hours. Though I had to wait only about five minutes to check in, another guest complained of waiting almost 15 minutes. With the staff cranking guests in and out, service can be impersonal and sluggish. The concierge was fairly knowledgeable -- he was quick to answer my questions about Metro stops and was able to point out several tapas restaurants within walking distance (and even boasted of being able to write upside down on the map since he marked up so many every day). But my request for toothpaste took half an hour.
- With so many guests, check-in and checkout can take a while; service requests can be sluggish.
- Turndown service upon request only
- Concierge available throughout the day
- Room service is not 24 hours
- Elevators can be slow, even with six elevators servicing 888 rooms on 12 floors.
- Parking (valet only) is available
Located in the Penn Quarter, steps from Metro Center stop, and within a 10- to 15-minute walk of the White House and the Washington Convention Center
Located in the compact section of the city called Penn Quarter, the Grand Hyatt 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 and monuments. In recent decades, this once-seedy section of town has been revamped -- the most notable addition is the Verizon Center sports arena, host to high-profile concerts, the Capitals, and the Wizzards (about a five- to 10-minute walk from the hotel). What makes the hotel especially convenient is its underground tunnel to the Metro Center subway station -- a stop for three of the city's five metro lines.
- Access to the Metro Center stop within the hotel, and thus access to three of the city's five metro lines; plentiful buses and cabs
- Within six blocks (five to 10-minute walking distance) of the White House, Verizon Center, and Walter E. Washington Convention Center
- Close to Spy Museum, Ford's Theatre, and Chinatown
- 10-minute walk to the nearest section of the Mall; 20-minute walk to the Washington Monument
- Urban neighborhood that's easily walkable and full of shops, services, and restaurants, but few of those are within the immediate blocks around the hotel
- Near stores like Macy's, H&M, and Barnes & Noble
With poor lighting, drab décor, and dark wood furniture, the rooms won't excite anyone. But, at 350 square feet, they are slightly larger than the rooms at the Marriott Metro around the corner (and the flat-screen TVs are bigger). Plus, the beds are comfortable and cleanliness isn't a problem. However, beware of the noise, a common complaint among guests. It can come from anywhere -- the halls, the room next door, the street, or the atrium, which half the rooms face.
All of this may change, however, as the hotel is in the process of completing a $23 million renovation to its guestrooms, slated to be complete by March 2013.
- Standard rooms are about 350 square feet, about average for D.C.
- Beds are comfortable with soft cotton sheets, synthetic pillows, pillow-top mattresses, and down duvets (the hotel offers queens, kings, or two doubles).
- Bathrooms are more spacious than those around the corner at the Marriott, water pressure is sufficient, and toiletries are Portico, but the lighting is poor.
- Tech amenities include a 42-inch LG flat-screen TV, and iHome iPod docking station.
- No in-room safe (guests can use the safe deposit boxes at the front desk for free).
- Comfortable Herman Miller desk chairs
- The lighting is strangely tinted yellow, which means a generally dark, dreary feel.
- In-room Wi-Fi (and throughout the hotel) requires a fee.
- Noise is a common complaint. Some of the din is masked by white noise from the air-conditioner, but some guests find the AC noisy as well.
Rooms and Rates
Expect to be nickel and dimed, from the gym to the Internet.
Guests pay a fee for nearly every extra at the Grand Hyatt, including the gym (daily fee, per room), which is spacious and packed with equipment, but budget extra time to find a machine that works. I struck out three times in a row.
- Daily gym entrance fee per room. Gym is large -- nearly 15 cardio machines and a wide selection of weight machines and free weights -- but the cardio equipment has seen much better days. Some machines had signs saying they were broken, but others I attempted to use were broken as well.
- Free access to the indoor pool right off the gym, but it's not an inviting setting
- Fee for Wi-Fi (both in-room and throughout the hotel).
- Business center consists of four PCs. Rates are expensive.
Not a bad option for kids, but there are better alternatives
Although the hotel doesn't have the most kid-friendly atmosphere, it's not a bad place to bring the family. With connecting rooms, children's menus, and rollaway beds charged per stay (not per day), it's a fairly economic option. However, between the escalators and the lagoon, plus the vastness of the hotel, you'll want to keep an eye on the little ones. A better option for families would be the nearby Embassy Suites Convention Center, which has much bigger rooms, plus free breakfast and free cocktails (for the parents, of course).
- Connecting rooms link kings to kings, queens to kings, a king with two doubles, but not two doubles with one another.
- Cribs are free; rollaways are charged per stay.
- Children can use the pool if accompanied by adult (and may not mind the dreary setting).
Multiple restaurants, including Starbucks
Guests will find some variety among the restaurants (plus a Starbucks) -- but in general most of the dining spots serve standard American fare for inflated hotel prices.
- Cure -- open daily; four levels, open fireplace
- Cure has an emphasis on salting and curing; nice selection of cheese; appetizers such as the (heirloom tomato salad ); mains include smoked Pennsylvania ham mac and cheese and an Angus beef flat iron steak.
- Cabinet -- casual restaurant for breakfast and lunch
- Zephyr Deli -- deli with reasonably priced soups, sandwiches and breakfast items
- Starbucks just off the lobby
Furnishings in the public areas are worn, but rooms are generally well maintained.
Some of the seating areas in the lobby are frayed and worn, but rooms are generally well kept up. Showers are beginning to show a bit of wear -- I found a few specks of mildew in the hard to reach corners -- but all in all, the rooms are clean and well cared for.
Transport to / from Hotel
Supervised Kids Activities
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Gameroom / Arcade
Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space
|Address||1000 H St. NW, Washington DC, District of Columbia 20001, United States|
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