This 82-room upscale boutique from the Kimpton brand may lack amenities -- there's no fitness center and not much of a business center -- but the can-do staff, modern guest rooms, jewel of a restaurant, and vibrant neighborhood location add up to a solid value in Dupont Circle. Boldly colored contemporary decor in guest rooms is accompanied by an array of modern amenities -- but bathrooms are tiny and cramped, and Wi-Fi incurs a fee (free for hotel's loyalty program members). Though features may be limited, the hotel piles on the freebies, including evening wine receptions, gourmet coffee/tea in the lobby, and late-night milk and cookies, plus pets stay for free and enjoy plenty of perks as well. Travelers seeking more amenities may want to check out the nearby Palomar, also a Kimpton property, which has a well-equipped fitness center, a pool, and a larger lobby.
Well-designed Dupont Circle boutique hotel from the Kimpton brand
Tucked away on a quiet, tree-lined residential street, this 82-room boutique is a good choice for affordable and hip accommodation in the heart of lively Dupont Circle. The hotel's lobby is not much else besides a reception counter and some seating courtesy of a large couch and a communal wooden table. Though small, it's a pleasant area with contemporary style -- but the on-site restaurant is a much more impressive space. The cozy room is chock-full of wood -- a nod to the hotel's name, which is Spanish for "wood" -- with birch trees lining the walls and a massive tree trunk commanding the center, imbuing the space with an enchanting sylvan vibe.
Overall, it's a well-priced, pet-friendly hotel with plenty of free perks -- daily wine reception, early morning coffee -- plus friendly service and large, sleek rooms. It bustles with business travelers, students, small groups in town for local events, and plenty of return guests -- though those looking for a wider array of amenities might want to look elsewhere.
Hotel Madera is located on New Hampshire Avenue, a tree-lined street that's a block away from Dupont Circle which presides over the neighborhood's center. It's a quiet block both day and night. The diverse neighborhood, named in honor of American naval officer Samuel Francis Dupont, is a longtime spirited gathering spot for progressive, socially minded types, and has plenty of coffeehouses, bars, restaurants, and upscale retail stores. It's the place to head for a vegan dessert, a gay bar, or fresh produce (on Sundays) at the farmer's market. Most of the top tourist sights, like the White House, the National Mall, and the Smithsonian Museums are not within walking distance, but can be easily reached by public transportation in 20 to 25 minutes -- the nearest metro station at Dupont Circle is just a three-minute walk away. Union Station, D.C.'s main train station served by Amtrak, commuter railroads, and the subway system, is about a 20-minute subway ride away. Ronald Reagan National Airport is about a 15- to 25-minute drive, depending on traffic, or around a half-hour by public transportation, while Dulles International Airport is 30 to 45 minutes away by car, or a bit over an hour by public transit.
Large, contemporary rooms with quirky Kimpton flair and modern amenities -- but bathrooms are tiny
The rooms at Hotel Madera are spacious (from 400 to 500 square feet or 37 to 46 square meters) compared to the average room in D.C., and are divided into a handful of categories, including Snack Rooms, which have mini-kitchenettes with microwaves, mini-fridges, and sinks, and Tranquility Rooms, which add relaxing extras like Japanese massage chairs and ambient noise machines. Contemporary decor with plenty of color and texture is awash in bold hues, combining charcoal shades with black, white, and vibrant reds. Large crimson headboards frame beds, which are topped with batik pillows and black-and-white patterned throws accenting the white linens. Colorful abstract art hangs on the gray and white walls, while sleek black furniture includes work desks with ergonomic chairs.
Families are catered to with Bunk Rooms, which have bunkbeds and pullout sofas, and sleep up to eight people. Some rooms also have separate sitting areas with pullout sofas, as well as private balconies (unfurnished), while Snack Rooms have dining areas in their mini-kitchenettes. Standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, well-stocked minibars, laptop safes, iHome docks, and trademark extras like animal print bathrobes, but there are no tea- and coffee-making facilities. Wi-Fi is free for Kimpton Karma Rewards members, but otherwise incurs a fee.
Bathrooms are tiny and cramped, equipped with shower/tub combos and Gilchrist & Soames Bath toiletries. Sleek black sink/vanity areas are separate and located just outside of the bath/toilet rooms. Note that light sleepers might want to avoid rooms that face the back of the building; truck deliveries and garbage pickups make an early-morning racket.
Restaurant serving American fare and plenty of free perks like evening wine receptions and gourmet coffee and tea in lobby
What the hotel lacks in size and amenities (no on-site gym; a business center consisting of a single desktop computer and a printer), it helps compensate for with free perks like a daily wine reception, yoga totes for in-room exercise, and cheap passes to an excellent local gym. Other free perks include gourmet coffee and tea served each morning in the lobby, as well as late-night milk and cookies. Though there's no spa, the hotel can arrange for in-room services, including massages, body treatments, facials, and mani/pedis.
The hotel's Firefly restaurant serves American fare using organic and local ingredients for breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner. The memorable menu and whimsical atmosphere make it popular among hotel guests and Dupont Circle residents. Room service is also available.
The hotel offers a few terrific and unexpected services, like the option to stow personal toiletry items until the next trip, making the experience easier for repeat visitors. The hotel does a great job at catering to families, with kid-oriented perks like welcome gifts, a children's menu at Firefly, kid-size animal print bathrobes, a kids' happy hour, and more. The property is also pet-friendly, with plenty of treats for four-legged friends, including doggie beds, litter boxes, a doggie bowl at the front entrance, and Milk-Bone treats at the front desk. Pets under 200 pounds can stay for free, and there is no limit on the number of animals allowed.
Other amenities include same-day laundry and dry-cleaning services, free overnight shoeshines, and free newspapers in the lobby. A meeting room is available for various functions. Valet parking incurs a fee, as does use of Wi-Fi -- though it's free for Kimpton Karma Rewards members, the hotel's free loyalty program.
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