Located uphill from Dupont Circle, farther from the monuments but closer to the D.C. nightlife, this massive, 1,070-room convention-focused Hilton became a great hotel -- outdoor pool, modern rooms, health club -- after it finished its $140 million renovation in 2010.
Made up of 1,070 guest rooms, the Hilton Washington is a massive convention hotel with a great location just north of Dupont Circle (a 10-minute walk to the Metro station). It's a short, 10- to 15-minute walk to Woodley Park (the zoo), the picturesque Kalorama Park, and the hip, club-and-restaurant-filled Adams Morgan neighborhood.
The hotel finished a far-reaching $140 million overhaul in 2010; the guest rooms were updated, and the hotel added a new business center, several restaurants, a health club, a pool, and an 110,000 square feet of function space (the most in D.C.). Unfortunately, the hotel does not own the health club, and guests must pay to use it. Access to the pool, however, is free.
While the guest rooms, (flat-screens and iPod-hookups) are certainly clean and have all the Hilton-brand comforts like top-notch bedding, Crabtree & Evelyn La Source toiletries, and great coffee -- you can get all this at many other D.C. hotels.
Alternatively, if you're fond of the neighborhood (and the Hilton chain), consider the Hilton Washington Embassy Row -- it's much smaller (231 rooms), has more attentive service, an international vibe, and a better location just a block from Dupont Circle. Or for comparable amenities, check out the Capital Hilton, which is also being rehabbed (ask for a big, new room) but features an on-site spa, a well-equipped fitness center, great showers, and a location in the heart of downtown, just two blocks from Lafayette Park and the White House. For now, the only real advantage (if you can even call it that) to this Hilton, is its notorious history -- it's where John Hinckley tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan.
On busy Connecticut Avenue -- just north of Dupont Circle; just south of the nightlife in Adams Morgan
Dupont Circle mixes residential, commercial and nocturnal entities in a homey neighborhood package that's not too far from the tourist attractions. Block by block, Dupont Circle encompasses a number of different things to do and see, such as Embassy Row, well-kept brick brownstones, art galleries (including the renowned Phillips Collection), and historic buildings such as the Cathedral of St. Matthew (where J.F.K.'s funeral was held) and the Woodrow Wilson House, the only presidential museum in the district.
But to most visitors, Dupont Circle also means nightlife. Unlike many parts of Washington, it's been a bohemian enclave for decades and is often considered the heart of gay life in Washington. There are watering holes of all kinds, from the divey Big Hunt to the upscale 18th Street Lounge, to Apex, a popular gay dance club for more than 25 years.
Though the Hilton is within walking distance of the restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops of Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, it is a bit too far removed from the great majority of downtown's tourist attractions to consider walking -- either take cabs or use the Metro's Red Line. Just remember that on the way back to the hotel, it's a 10-minute walk uphill from the Dupont Circle Metro station.
10-minute walk south to Dupont Circle Metro station (Red Line)
10- to 15-minute walk to Kalorama Park and the bars, restaurants, and clubs in the Adams Morgan neighborhood
15-minute walk to the clubs and nightlife in the U Street Corridor neighborhood
Five-minute cab ride to the National Zoo
Five-minute cab ride to the White House
10-minute cab ride to the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Institution, the Lincoln Memorial, and the National Mall
15-minute cab ride to Union Station, where Amtrak trains depart
20-minute cab ride to Reagan National Airport
45-minute cab ride to Dulles International Airport (could be more or less, depending on traffic)
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