Small and crowded Executive Lounge, closed on weekends and holidays
Must be a Marriott Rewards member for free Wi-Fi
Surprising lack of an on-site fine-dining destination
A hotel built for business travelers, the four-pearl JW Marriott Hotel Washington, DC is a tempered upscale property with easy access to the city's power hubs and top tourist attractions. In fact, the hotel's location just three blocks from the White House and the city's major museums is a huge selling point. Its 777 rooms were fully renovated in 2015 and have modern furniture and modern business amenities, though Wi-Fi is only free for Marriott Rewards members. Dining options feature a full-service restaurant, evening cocktail lounge, and 24-hour room service, though there's no on-site fine dining. Other highlights include a fitness center, indoor pool, business center, and extensive meeting spaces. Travelers seeking a more stately hotel should consider The Willard Intercontinental instead, though trend-seekers might opt for the slightly cheaper W Washington DC.
A practical upscale hotel with a contemporary look that caters to business travelers
Built is 1984 to honor Marriott's founder -- J. Willard Marriott -- the JW Marriott Washington DC was the first JW Marriott branded property in the world. However, it's not exactly infused with history, like some nearby competitors. In fact, unlike many of DC's upscale properties, travelers do not pick the JW Marriott Washington, DC to see and be seen. Instead, this is a hotel that's almost all business. From the outside, it would be easy to mistake the property for any one of the surrounding office buildings, and its cavernous lobby is rather impersonal. Even so, there's enough here to like, and the fresh style in the rooms certainly helps set this apart from some of the other big chains in the immediate area. It's all about practicality here, and guests are primarily traveling on business. Service is reliable -- not a surprise given the brand -- and the hotel's location in the heart of the nation's capital is hard to beat. Guests seeking to let their hair down can hit the hotel's evening cocktail lounge, but otherwise will need to make plans to visit one of the many nearby hot spots in the Penn Quarter neighborhood.
Neighboring the White House, within walking distance of other major business and tourist destinations
Location is certainly one of this hotel's strongest suits, as it sits right on Pennsylvania Avenue, just three blocks from the White House. In addition to being a neighbor to nation's highest office, the hotel is located directly across the street from DC's City Hall, next door to the historic National Theatre, and less than a 10-minute walk from the National Mall when heading south. Additionally, the K Street business corridor is less than a 10-minute walk north. The hotel also borders the Penn Quarter neighborhood, which is a major dining and entertainment hub. Metro Center, where four of the city's six metro lines converge (including the Blue Line to Reagan National Airport and the Red Line to Union Station) is just two blocks from the hotel. Otherwise, it's a 25-minute cab ride to National Airport and about 40 minutes by car to Dulles Airport. BWI is a little over 50 minutes away by car.
Sharp, modern rooms with sophisticated design plus amenities like free Wi-Fi and coffeemakers
The JW Marriott's 777 rooms were completely renovated in 2015, and everything still looks fresh and modern. The style is relaxing, with comfortable beds featuring high-quality white linens set against various gray tones and textures on the walls. The plush carpeting adds to the upscale-home effect. Splashes of color in the artwork and accent pillows give everything just a touch of much-needed whimsy. Standard amenities include air-conditioning, coffeemakers, mini-fridges, iron and ironing boards, laptop safes, and 48-inch flat-screen TVs with HMDI connections. Microwaves are not available. Free bottled water is provided and restocked daily. There is also designated ergonomic workspaces and desk chairs -- unsurprising in this business-ready brand outpost. The bathrooms are small, but sliding doors help maximize the space. They feature illuminated designer mirrors, custom Aromatherapy Associates products, a good amount of counter space, bathrobes, and hairdryers. The majority of the bathrooms have walk-in showers, but a few rooms include bathtubs. Wi-Fi is free for Marriott Reward members, and there are plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports for charging various computers, mobile phones and other devices. No guest room is smaller than 300 square feet (28 square meters), so space isn't an issue. Scoring a nice view of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument will require an upgrade, which we think is worth it.
Pool and fitness center, business center, and multiple dining options
Features are on par with those found in other outposts within the JW Marriott brand. The indoor heated pool and large whirlpool are a nice escape from the more business-focused atmosphere here. They're located on the first floor. The space connects to a large interior courtyard patio with lounge chairs. On the same floor is the spacious fitness center with state-of-the-art cardio- and weight-training equipment and free access to cold towels, earphones, filtered water, and fresh fruit.
While most upscale hotels in DC have a fine-dining option, the JW Marriott does not. Its main restaurant is the casual Avenue Grill, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the evenings, the slightly more swanky 1331 Lounge opens for cocktails and small plates. Guest also have access to a full-service Starbuck's, located in the hotel's lobby, and a food court at National Place that's connected to -- but not affiliated with -- the hotel. For room service, the hotel has a program called Chef's Market. The menu consist mostly of pre-prepared casual food items such as sandwiches and salads. This allows for faster delivery and lower prices. The sacrifice is that it forgoes the formal dining cart with plates and silverware and instead provides delivery bags along with plastic containers and utensils.
For guests and users of the hotel's nearly 35,000 square feet of meeting space, there's an on-site FedEx outlet to assist with any major printing, shipping, and computer needs. Free printing of boarding passes is available in the lobby. Other featured amenities included a sundries store, gift shop, and shoeshine station. Wi-Fi is only free for Marriott Rewards program members. While the hotel does have an Executive Lounge, it's small and cramped -- disappointing for a hotel of this caliber. It's also closed on weekends and holidays. Only valet parking is available (for a fee).
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