Free Wi-Fi if you sign up for Omni Select Guest (free loyalty program)
On-site rental car service
Some rooms have tiny bathrooms and tech hookups are disappointing
Some travelers find the decor to be stuffy and dated
Pricey valet parking only
No microwaves in rooms
The Omni Shoreham Hotel's bread and butter are its convention services, but it's still an appealing option for leisure travelers. It's a four-pearl historic property with 834 guest rooms and tons of meeting space -- making it one of the largest hotels in D.C. Just north of Dupont Circle, it's removed from most top attractions, but a nearby metro station makes it easy to get around. The National Zoo -- with its famed giant pandas -- is only a 15-minute walk away. There's a full-service restaurant, heated outdoor pool, large modern gym, and acres of landscaped gardens. Guest rooms are spacious, but aren't updated for tech-savvy travelers and most have small bathrooms. Alternatively, check out the nearby Washington Hilton -- it's equally large but has more modern appeal.
Large convention hotel with classic style, often busy hosting VIPs and major events
As one of the largest hotels in D.C., the Omni Shoreham constantly plays host to major meetings and events. As a matter of fact, Franklin D. Roosevelt and every U.S. President -- with the exception of Donald Trump -- has held an inaugural ball in one of its many ballrooms. The hotel makes a fine, and fittingly grand first impression. The lobby consists of handsome arches and vaulted ceilings, with gold details, Tiffany light fixtures, and ornate carpeting. It also serves as the crossroads -- and noise buffer -- between the lower-level meeting spaces and the upper-level guest rooms. There are a few nice spots for leisure travelers too. Robert's Restaurant gets lots of natural light from the windows overlooking the hotel's acres of backyard gardens and the adjacent Rock Creek Park. The gardens connect to the outdoor seasonal pool. As far as public spaces go, though, it's pretty much all about corporate visitors here, and -- when busy -- the sea of lanyard-wearing guests can be overwhelming. All in all, despite its many resort level offerings, this hotel is first and foremost a place of business.
In residential Woodly Park, near the metro and a 15-minute walk to the National Zoo
Sitting on 11 acres, the Omni Shoreham is located in Woodly Park, a quiet residential neighborhood. The back of the property borders Rock Creek Park, which provides beautiful natural scenery that can be seen from many of the guest rooms. Aside from the park, the only significant nearby attraction is the National Zoo and its famed giant pandas, a 15-minute walk away. Guests wishing to explore other parts of the city can easily walk just one block to the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metro station. A small strip of neighborhood restaurants offering a variety of ethnic cuisines reflective of the diversity of the surrounding community is also just a block away. Additional dining and nightlife options are plentiful in the nearby neighborhoods of Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, and Cleveland Park, each within a five- to 10-minute metro ride. Getting to the hotel by car or metro from National Airport will take between 20 and 45 minutes depending on the time of day. Travel to Amtrak's Union Station is a direct 15-minute connection on the metro's Red Line.
Spacious and classically styled, though tech-amenities underwhelm and bathrooms are often small
The rooms at the Omni Shoreham are classically designed with traditional dark wood pieces against soft colored walls. Ornate molding and framed photos of iconic D.C. landmarks complete the look. Plush patterned carpeting on the floors match the heavy fabric drapes that cover the large windows. With few exceptions, the size is on par with other comparable properties in the city. However, many of the bathrooms are tiny -- even in higher-category rooms -- though they do have beautiful travertine tile floors and marble sinks.
Standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, laptop safes, mini-fridges (stocked with complimentary bottled water), irons and ironing boards, and robes, but no microwaves. In addition, all rooms have workstations and complimentary Wi-Fi access for members of the Omni Select Guest loyalty program, which is free for any guest to join. While the hotel promotes its state-of-the-art audio-visual services for its meeting spaces, the in-room technology is lacking. There's no easy way to connect electronic devices to the TVs, plus outdated alarm clocks and noticeably retrofitted bedside electrical outlets that have no USB ports.
Rooms along the backside of the hotel have the best views. In addition, some rooms have balconies. Evening housekeeping and turn-down service is available upon request. If money is no object, the hotel has multiple Presidential Suites that are nearly 1,750 square feet (163 square meters) each. They feature bedrooms with king-size beds, full kitchens, dining rooms, separate living areas, fireplaces, oversized bathrooms, and balconies. One of the Presidential Suites is officially dubbed the Ghost Suite, said to be haunted by the spirits of a housekeeper and the daughter of one of the hotel's original investors -- both died in the suite. This room can only be reserved by contacting the Shoreham directly.
Resort style outdoor pool, modern 24-hour fitness center, business center, and acres of green space
There are a few breaks from the Omni Shoreham's classic design and corporate ethos. One of those is the free-form outdoor pool, which is surrounded by a large patio with lounge chairs, and has its own food and beverage outlet. Keep in mind that while it's heated, it's only open seasonally. There's also a 24-hour fitness center with a large selection of modern cardio machines and weight equipment. It connects to a dry sauna. Basic spa services are also available by appointment only.
Given the hotel's clientele, the sheer volume of meeting and event space isn't unexpected, but is still extensive -- with multiple ballrooms and smaller spaces, plus high-tech hookups available. An on-site UPS Store is available 24-hours and serves as the business center, though there's a small computer center in the lobby. It's free to print boarding passes, but other services cost a hefty fee.
In addition to 24-hour room service, on-site dining options include the full-service Robert's Restaurant, the grab-and-go Morsel's, and the evenings-only Marquee Lounge. Outdoor green space is hard to find at most D.C. hotels, but the Shoreham has acres of lawns and gardens. Combined with spacious patios extending from the hotel's many ballrooms, it's a top location for weddings and special parties.
Other highlights include Hertz car rental office on-site, rental bikes, a gift shop, and jewelry store inside the hotel. Shoe shine services and other business-ready perks are also available.
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