Overview: A comfortable in-city option in Washington DC
Strengths: Dining, service
Drawbacks: Aggressive housekeepers, room and corridor finishes are a mix of “Hyatt” and actually what you’d expect from a luxury property
A quick business trip brought me to Washington DC for the night. While I have typically stayed at either the Ritz-Carlton, Mandarin or the Capella, I decided to give the Park Hyatt a try this time.
I booked my stay via a Virtuoso agent and reserved a junior suite category.
I arrived at the hotel around 8pm via a private driver (arranged independently of the hotel). Doormen were standing by, but didn’t come over to assist me with my luggage. They did hold open the door to the hotel at least.
The lobby has a clean and modern feel to it. Though generally quite modern, the decor at the property included a number of colonial-era touches. Both the public areas and my room shared this unique juxtaposition. (For example, see the mix of smooth stone steps and wide-planked wood floors.)
Unfortunately for me, when I arrived, there was only one desk clerk working. He was assisting a man from overseas who was speaking to someone in a mix of English and another language on the speakerphone of his mobile phone. It wasn’t clear if this loud, speakerphone conversation was related to the gentleman’s room booking or some other matter. Regardless of the topic, this speakerphone conversation created a loud and unpleasant noise in the hard-surfaced lobby. Off to the side were several children who began throwing paper airplanes around the lobby as well.
In addition, there was a loud event going on in one of the hotel’s event rooms. The noise (loud, thumping music) from that event also filled the lobby.
While the hotel has little control over its guests, this wasn’t the way I was hoping my stay would start. The lobby, with both the commotion and noise coming from the event room, had a feel of sheer and utter chaos. Frankly, I don’t recall a less pleasant start to a hotel stay in some time.
A bellman was standing behind the front desk, separate from the desk clerk. The bellman asked if he could be of assistance, and I asked to be checked in. He said he’d need to get someone and he turned and left to find someone.
Before the bellman returned, the speakerphone guest resolved his matter and walked away and the agent who had been working with him turned to help me. I was checked in very quickly and politely.
The Virtuoso benefits were fully explained, which I appreciate. Beyond including breakfast, this hotel offers a $100 credit towards anything else other than room and taxes. This is the best “extra amenity” out there, as you can use it as you’d like. Far better than just a spa credit which so often goes unused on business trips. I was pro-actively offered a 4pm late check out. I was given my room key and thanked. I needed to ask which way to the elevators.
Once I exited the elevator on the sixth floor, a very welcome feeling of calm began to take over (though it was clear I was in a Hyatt property). Why can’t they present the guest floors more nicely in Park Hyatts?
It turns out I was upgraded to a fairly spacious one bedroom suite. (This wasn’t mentioned at check in.) While there are small areas of finish, etc., which remind you this is a Hyatt at heart, overall the suite had a very comfortable and nearly residential feel to it.
The living room had a particularly long sofa and several innovative lighting features.
There was also a half bath off to the side of the living room.
The small dining area was comfortable.
A small welcome gift of water and nuts was waiting for me.
The mini-bar and coffee credenzas both had a very non-hotel feel to them as well, though the wood/stone/white pairing was odd.
Blue(ish) ducks even in the rooms!
The bedroom was very nice, though perhaps a bit more ordinary. I did not stub my toe or shin on the bench at the foot of the bed, but I imagine many guests before me have. The bedroom was very quiet and I don’t recall any external noises.
The bathroom was also well sized. The combined shower and tub area is becoming a bit more common, and I’ve seen it at places like the Aria and St Regis Bahia. I suspect this hotel may have been one of the first to embrace the concept.
The toilet could have easily been walled off into its own small room, allowing for greater functionality.
There was a yoga mat provided for anyone so inclined. This was a welcome touch, though it was not clear what sort of cleaning arrangements are made for the mats between guests.
Arriving fairly late, I met a business associate for a drink and a quick bite in the lounge area of the Blue Duck Tavern. I had the bone marrow plate and he had a burger. We split a bottle of Rioja. Both dishes were very good and the wine went too fast. The service was of the standard I’d expect for the lounge area of a restaurant like this. The noise level was a bit high, but not such that our conversations were inhibited.
I ordered breakfast in my room the following morning. The quality and preparation of the food was very good and indeed the eggs were still hot when delivered. This can be tough for eggs ordered over easy.
Their room service delivery cart was significant, not like one I’d seen before. Though it wasn’t Boos, it looked and felt like a Boos trolley that you would have in your home.
Though I went for a run outside in the morning (I love running through the mall in DC at sunrise), I did stop by the gym to check it out. While not at the level of the Breakers from last week, it was well equipped by in-city hotel standards. At 7:30am, the gym was completely unused.
The hotel also has a small pool and hot tub area. I did not go in, but the water was comfortable – more suited for relaxing or frolicking than swimming. The pool would have been frustratingly short for lap swimmers, but a welcome respite for families and those seeking just to relax in the water.
Before heading to the pool and gym, I called the operator to ask what floor the facilities were on. The way I was sent to get to the facilities required taking the emergency stairs! It was clearly signed, which makes me think this may be the only way to get to the pool and gym. Hopefully there is a way to get there without going through the emergency stairs.
At a little after 8am on the day I was to check out, housekeeping knocked on the door and while knocking began opening the door to my room! There weren’t even a few seconds to holler that I was inside before the door started to open. The hotel knew I was checking out this day. How does housekeeping get assigned to a room where the guest is departing that day but hasn’t checked out? Certainly not at 8am! I was disappointed that this happen at a purportedly luxury hotel.
Upon check out, the desk clerk told me he would process all of the Virtuoso credits and email my bill to me. While the bill came quickly via email, charges remained that should have been credited due to the Virtuoso package. A reply email from me back to the hotel went unanswered for about a day. I followed up via Twitter to Hyatt which got attention and a revised and corrected bill was ultimately sent.
Of course, a few hours after I received the revised bill via email, I received an email saying my revised bill would come within 3 to 5 days. Also not this property’s finest moment.
* * * * *
Re-reading this review, perhaps it is a bit focused more on the negative than is warranted. Overall, I was reasonably pleased with my stay at this property and would consider staying here again. The property has a different position than my usual hotels in DC, but was overall of sufficient quality that I’d be open to returning.
Park Hyatt Washington DC
1201 24th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
+1 202 789 1234