Overview: A strong, in-city luxury property
Strengths: Service, location, quality of F&B, quality of room furnishings, FSPP recognition
Drawbacks: Restaurant couldn’t accommodate me for dinner, unusual suite layout, front driveway often congested and queued onto the street
Notable: Hotel offers a program with a massage for two and a private rental of their pool after hours
Arrival and Check In
I arrived at around 7:30pm via a private car and found a queue of cars waiting to use the hotel’s entry driveway backed up onto the road. The queue cleared within a few minutes and the valets were hustling, but the arrival wasn’t what is typically expected at a Four Seasons. No one greeted me as I got out of the car, but a doorman did hold the door open for me (having held it open for the previous guests).
The front desk is on the street level, perhaps 30 yards straight in from the driveway. There was a slight wait to be helped with check in, but things moved quickly and the agent who helped me check in was very friendly. They explained the Four Seasons Preferred Partner (FSPP) benefits concisely (unlike the Rosewood London where I had to pry out info about the Virtuoso benefits) and had the duty manager come to say hello.
Of course, the duty manager was standing right next to the agent helping me. The agent helping me whispered in the duty manager’s ear that I was an FSPP guest – and he came around and shook my hand and welcomed me. Then he returned to standing next to the agent behind the desk. While thoughtful, it all played out a little oddly.
The agent let me know that they were able to upgrade me to a suite. I had booked a premier room, so I think this was a one category upgrade. The hotel is configured with several different wings (each with their own set of lifts) and the desk agent escorted me to the lifts for my room and wished me a pleasant stay.
The suite itself was very comfortable and the furnishings were of very high quality.
Immediately to the left of the entry foyer was a closet and luggage storage area, which then connected to the bathroom.
The luggage/closet area was well designed and spacious, though there wasn’t a way to close it off from the balance of the suite. So, if you had guests come in, they’d have to see your luggage.
The bathroom was very nicely appointed, with a separate tub and step-in shower, as well as a separate WC. The shower itself was a bit smaller than most hotel showers, but not too small. The shower head was very clean and the water control worked very well. The small stool in the corner of the shower would be an ideal step for someone shaving their legs.
The counter surrounding the sink was particularly attractive, though there was only one sink (despite there being sufficient counter space for two).
The WC, like many, was a bit too small and required an unnatural stance to open and close the door while in the room.
The end of the entry foyer brought you to the bedroom. While the room was nicely appointed, the bedroom didn’t have any windows, which I found to be odd.
The bed was very comfortable, as you’d expect at a Four Seasons. There were highly focused, overhead reading lights for each side of the bed. The room was silent.
Regular readers will recall my stay at the Waldorf Chicago (f/k/a Elysian), where there were no outlets anywhere near the bed. By contrast, there were two bedside outlets next to each side of the bed – and the outlets were designed to be able to take two oversized chargers in each simultaneously. This was very welcome. The outlets, however, were well integrated into the bedside tables to the point where I didn’t notice them at first; they were only really noticeable when I got into bed.
Beyond the bedroom was the living room. There were no doors separating the foyer from the bedroom from the living room, so while the suite had a divided feel to it, the rooms weren’t fully separated.
The living room was also very comfortable and well appointed, with a stylish sectional sofa and a desk. I bumped my head into the large arched lamp once. Perhaps it took up a little to much of the entry way to the living room?
There were a number of small touches throughout the suite, including a little doodle painted on the ceiling in a few corners.
A small welcome amenity was waiting for me, along with an oddly non-personalized hand written note.
The windows opened a few inches, which was nice as it was a beautiful spring day.
Food and Beverage Services
When I checked in, the agent showed me Bourbon Steak, their Michael Mina branded restaurant. I asked if I would have a problem getting in, and was told there wouldn’t be a problem. It looked crowded, so I found this a bit suspect, but didn’t push the issue.
After getting settled in my room and arranging for shirt pressing, I went down to the restaurant, identifying myself as a house guest and asked for a table. I was told there would be a wait of roughly 30 minutes to sit in the dining room or the outside area. I was offered a table in the lounge, where a special (read: reduced) menu would be available. Thankfully, I got one of the last lounge tables.
The good news is the restaurant is very good and attracts a lot of locals. The bad news is for hotel guests, you might easily not be able to get a table at all.
I had their Wagyu burger, which was reasonably good. They also offered duck fat fries “three ways,” which was exceptionally good. Mindful I had a $100 F&B credit, I had a glass of the Switchback Cabernet. This isn’t a wine you see by the glass too often. It was also very good….so much so that I had a second glass. 🙂
They also offered a very tasty popcorn table snack.
Service at the bar area tables was a little slower than I’d like. I suspect this being due to the full house. At the same time, I suspect they often have a full house and should staff accordingly.
Part of the value proposition of staying at an in-city Four Seasons is that you should be able to get a proper table at a restaurant and enjoy a meal without having to book days in advance. Don’t expect this here.
In the morning, I ordered room service. I forward ordered before my run, asking for the food at a specific time, which they delivered exactly at. The food was very good. Perhaps I ordered too much. Breakfast was complimentary with my FSPP booking.
Other Facilities and Services
I took advantage of the one-hour pressing service offered in the in-room materials to have my suit and shirt pressed. The person answering the phone at housekeeping when I called for the service was insistent that the pressing service was two-hour service. Since I had plenty of time, I didn’t debate the issue. My suit and shirt were returned in about 30 minutes.
I also had my shoes shined overnight.
Due to the short trip, I did not visit the gym or pool.
As I was heading out, the two front desk clerks were assisting other guests. I stopped at the concierge desk (but 20 feet away from the front desk) and gave the concierge on duty my whimsical key card and room number and asked for him to email the bill. I found the bill in my email account within 15 minutes.
My first meeting was walking distance from the hotel, so I headed out on foot. As I was leaving, there was another queue of cars waiting to enter the hotel driveway.
* * * * *
Overall, this is a very strong hotel. The only substantive drawback was the popularity of their restaurant. While it is great to have a good restaurant in a hotel, the cost of it being challenging for house guests to get a table isn’t trivial either. In light of the strong dining options in the immediate Georgetown neighborhood and DC more broadly – and room service as a back up – this isn’t a show stopper. I would encourage the hotel to set aside a few tables for house guests.
I will make this property part of my DC rotation going forward.
Four Seasons Washington DC
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20007
+1 202 340 0444