Overlooking the scenic Tidal Basin, and a 15-minute walk from the National Mall
Beautiful rooms with elegant decor, high-end amenities, and marble bathrooms
Some rooms have Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin views
Solid all-day restaurant with a seasonal menu and waterfront views
Top-notch spa complete with hydrotherapy areas and signature treatments
50-foot heated indoor pool connected to a quiet sundeck
Excellent 24-hour fitness center, and private yoga classes (for a fee)
Hopping Empress Lounge with excellent afternoon service and a cocktail menu
Kid-friendly amenities include stuffed animals, babysitting services, and children’s menus
Pets are welcome for a fee
Free Wi-Fi throughout (when creating a personal profile on the MO website)
Isolated location; limited dining options within walking distance
No overnight room service
Pricey valet-only parking
Known for its gorgeous interior design, top-notch spa, and classy afternoon tea service, the Mandarin Oriental is one of the most luxurious hotels in town. Rooms are elegant and stylish, with beautiful East-meets-West decor in soothing tones, upscale amenities, and marble bathrooms with separate showers and deep soaking tubs. The hotel’s lovely 50-foot indoor pool is one of the D.C.'s best, as is its fitness center, equipped with a wide range of cardio and strength-training machines. Muze serves an excellent American menu in a gorgeous dining room with waterfront views and patio seating. The location overlooking the Tidal Basin is convenient for visitors looking to explore the main attractions on foot, but business travelers may want to compare rates at the historic Hay-Adams.
High-end hotel with top-notch amenities and a sophisticated design
Opened in 2004, the 400-room Mandarin Oriental Washington DC ticks all the boxes for a luxurious stay. Its interior design is one of the most sophisticated in town, with the brand’s renowned East-meets-West aesthetic and a subtle theme around five elements: fire, water, metal, wood, and earth. Throughout, elegant hardwood floors, marble accents, and thick carpets combine with curated artwork and rich fabrics to create gorgeous spaces designed following the principles of feng shui. The atmosphere is decidedly classy but laid-back, and while the Empress Lounge and Muze Restaurant draw plenty of professionals and locals, the hotel’s many kid-friendly amenities make it a popular pick among families on weekends.
The Mandarin’s location in a somewhat isolated part of town is its main drawback, but this doesn’t seem to deter the international elite -- past guests of the hotel include, among others, Beyonce, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Barbra Streisand, the president of South Africa, and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Those looking to stay closer to dining and shopping may want to consider the Four Seasons Washington D.C., which features similar amenities and stylish rooms.
Scenic but isolated location in a quiet part of the Southwest's waterfront
Located at the far end of a cul-de-sac adjacent to the outdoor Amtrak train tracks, the Mandarin Oriental occupies an essentially lifeless part of Southwest's waterfront overlooking the scenic Tidal Basin, Potomac River, I-395, and the bridges to Northern Virginia. Although convenient for springtime cherry-blossom gazing, this location is out of the way for business travelers, and there are no dining options within easy walking distance. The Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza Metro stations are each about an 10-minute walk away, while the National Mall can be reached in about 15 minutes on foot. The Downtown area is a 10-minute drive away, as is Georgetown and its many dining and shopping options. Ronald Reagan National Airport is a five- to 10-minute drive (or 20-minute Metro ride) away, while Dulles International Airport is about 45 minutes by car from here.
Large, elegant rooms with sophisticated design and upscale amenities
Rooms at the Mandarin Oriental used to be the hotel’s only disappointment, but its $20-million renovations (completed in late 2016) gave all rooms and suites a much-needed fresher, more luxurious look. All rooms feature tasteful, sophisticated decor that pairs elegant Asian-inspired touches such as red dressers and round pillows with delicate flower designs, with off-white wing chairs, dark wood furniture, and metal details. The neutral palette with dashes of oceana blue is stylish and soothing, while paintings of cherry blossoms (a popular attraction both in Washington and many parts of Asia) round out the East-meets-West aesthetic. Starting at 395 square feet, rooms are spacious and full of light, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering city, water, or Jefferson Memorial views.
Even standard rooms (known as Deluxe here) are equipped with a wide array of upscale amenities, including minibars stocked with Dean & Deluca snacks and top-shelf drinks, huge smart TVs, and digital music players. Wi-Fi is available free of charge for guests who create a profile on the hotel’s official website. Twice-daily housekeeping is also a standard service, as is turndown, complete with free water, soft music, and dim lighting. Marble-clad bathrooms are spacious and luxurious, with glass showers, deep soaking tubs, and double sinks. Toiletries by Atelier Cologne, professional hairdryers, magnifying mirrors, terry robes, and slippers are also provided.
Top-notch spa, excellent gym, heated indoor pool, and solid dining options
Clad in marble and wood, the Mandarin Oriental’s spa is one of the best spas in town. The hydrotherapy area is small but relaxing, with dim lights, underwater loungers with jets, a sauna, and a steam room. Eight massage cabins offer a wide array of signature treatments, all grounded in Asian philosophies. Located within the spa, the 1,400-square-foot fitness center is open 24 hours a day, and features an excellent range of TechnoGym cardio and strength-training machines with personal TVs. Personal trainers and private yoga classes are also available for a fee. The heated 50-foot, indoor lap pool has a number of circular cushioned loungers and large windows opening onto an outdoor sundeck.
Muze is the hotel’s only restaurant, serving tasty American cuisine with an Asian twist in a beautiful dining room with waterfront views and outdoor seating. The sophisticated Empress Lounge is a popular spot for afternoon service, as well as for pre-dinner cocktails and nightcaps. Club guests get access to a private lounge with free continental breakfast, snacks, and daily cocktail hours, along with other perks such as concierge services and private check-in and out.
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