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REALLY need some expert hotel advice

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Denver, Colorado
posts: 14
REALLY need some expert hotel advice

Hi all,

My wife and I (late fifties) are planning a vaca next year to tour DC. I've been burning a lot of brain cells trying to figure out a hotel to stay at in Alexandria while trying to juggle cost, location, inclusives, parking, etc. Haven't had much success UNTIL I realized that we have some credit card points we could use to book at no cost, and therefore would be able to "afford" to upgrade.

Here are the choices we can book at by using our points:

1. Morrison House

2. Monaco Alexandria

3. Hampton Inn (King Street)

4. Holiday Inn (First Street)

For you Alexandria experts, can you tell me which would be the best choice and, more importantly, WHY. I'm kind of a detail guy, so as much info and advice about any/all of these options would be GREATLY appreciated. Also, any other suggestions would be great since they might be eligible as well.

Thanks so much!

NY
posts: 3
reviews: 2
1. Re: REALLY need some expert hotel advice

My husband and I, also in our fifties, loved our stay at the Hampton Inn King street last spring, and are actually headed there for a long weekend again next month.

- Parking right nearby, indoor garage

- Cleanliness and reliably comfortable king beds

- Many choices in breakfast buffet

- Short walk to King Street Metro station, which we made use of morning and evening

-Easy walk to historic area, Torpedo Factory, restaurants, and a place that had folk and bluegrass music one evening.

Enjoy your trip!

Alexandria, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Alexandria
posts: 382
reviews: 76
2. Re: REALLY need some expert hotel advice

Steve:

If you scroll this board you will see I am mostly a fan of Kimpton Hotels, specifically the Monaco! If you are not familiar with the Kimpton brand of hotels, they are distinctive where other hotels are...just a place to sleep!

Of the choices you list, I would stay at the Monaco for it's vicinity in the middle of the historic district on lower King St., its access to the waterfront (3 blocks), bars and restaurants (too many to mention), and for its quirkiness and charm! I would call it a 'fun' hotel especially for us folks of certain age! They have a pool (indoor) and have interesting and fun activities for guests.

If you are comparing rates, you will see the Morrison House is quite expensive by comparison. It resembles a stately mansion, and were I looking to splurge, I might stay just so you could say you did....assuming you can swing a good rate compared to Monaco. It is about 5 blocks further west towards the King St. Metro, about in the center of King between the waterfront and Metro which is about one mile from shore to metro (Note: The city has a shuttle bus that runs the length of King from around 10am-10pm.) All the Kimptons have distinctive restaurants associated with them and Morrisons's is particularly renown.

I posted a link earlier this week (see below) discussing each of the 3 Kimptons.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g30226-i572-k58523…

The Hampton is the closest to the Metro on upper King (about 2 blocks) and is a great location if you want to get into and out of the city via metro. I have not been in the Hampton, nor had any acquaintance stay, so cannot discuss it's advantages accommodations wise.

The Holiday Inn First Street is north of Old Town and about 10 blocks away from King. I want to say they are the only hotel with an outdoor pool. The hotel is across the street from a grocery, and suffers from the dearth of restaurant choices. The closest Metro is Braddock Road and is several blocks walk across constructions zones and busy traffic.

If I am assuming you are here to sight see, my biggest suggestion is to avoid the rental car. Parking rates will destroy any advantage between the hotels, and outside of a trip to Mt. Verrnon, which might be on the average tourist itinerary, a car is essentially useless. I always recommend a cab ride to Mt. V if that is your intent! You will still save over daily rates and parking!

If you go Kimpton, sign up for the InTouch program in advance to take advantage of wireless services and other advantages the program provides.

I would go for the Monaco, for location and style, and their amazing customer service.

If you have other questions...feel free to ask. I hope you find this helpful.

Denver, Colorado
posts: 14
3. Re: REALLY need some expert hotel advice

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the detailed info - it's going to be invaluable in helping to make my decision.

I have a few more questions for you (never been to the DC area, so please bear with me). If we stay at the Monaco, we're planning on taking the Metro from King Street into DC each day during our 3 day visit.

My questions:

1. Do we take the blue or yellow line (heading to the main attractions,

museums, etc.)?

2. Is this by bus or rail?

3. Approximately how much is a round trip fare, and for a three day visit,

are there multi-day passes which would be more cost effective?

Thanks once more...and these may not be my last questions!

Alexandria, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Alexandria
posts: 382
reviews: 76
4. Re: REALLY need some expert hotel advice

Steve:

Glad to help. As for which Metro...answer is..it depends. The Blue and Yellow lines depart King street and take you into the city in 15-20 minutes. The Blue Line is the easiest and I normally tell folks just to go simple and take the Smithsonian Metro exit, which is central to the Mall and all of the museums.

There is a quicker train Yellow across the Potomac depending on which venues. The Navy Memorial can be closer to Archives and the National Gallery; La Enfant Plaza can be closer to Air and Space and Native American Museums. It can save you extra time and save your aching feet...but frankly the Smithsonian drops you off in the middle of the Mall and you can spot nearly everything from that station!

I am not an expert at the passes, and suggest you post a separate question. I provide a link for your planning. Fare during rush hour is 3.65 one way. It's a little cheaper after rush hour. It's all rail to and from the city. The only bus you might consider is the open top buses to view the city's outdoor monuments, which is a fast way to get around and save your walking for the museums. You have to do the math with the special passes to see if it saves you cash.

wmata.com/rider_tools/…tripplanner.cfm

I hope this is helpful.

rural hinterland
posts: 160
reviews: 85
5. Re: REALLY need some expert hotel advice

Hello, I am also a Kimpton Fan and I also love the Monaco Hotel on King Street! I am 49 and enjoy the spa rooms, and I think your wife might love those as well.

They have specific suites with styles I have never seen elsewhere (and I am getting around!) - The 2-story Loft Suite and the Mediterranean Suite. Both have the famous Spa bathroom with Fuji tubs (spacious for 2 adults) and seperate shower stalls.

In fact, I am going back to that Med.Suite tomorrow morning. (I came to this forum with a breakfast question)

The membership in Kimpton's Loyalty program will give you a credit to "raid the minibar", as they call it, which is $15 in NYC and $10 elsewhere. You will also get free Internet access and if you agree to receive emails from them, they will send you special deals for members only.

Often they have special things going on like "secret words" at check in. During the summer, whenever we would say "Slip and Slide" at check in, we would get free parking or free breakfast or free wines or whatever. Sadly, that season is over since Labour Day, but I have heard rumours they bring a new secret word back for Christmas.

Pay attention to their promotions when you sign up, follow them on Twitter and facebook, so you won't miss anything. At least that is what I am doing, because I can't afford to miss any deals.

The pool in the Monaco has wonderful opening times (10-10) and is deep enough to swim. Just last week I was in a hotel in Rochester and was upset about a pool with 4 feet depth. I can't swim in that, and I am a short person. But the Monaco's pool is deep enough.

From the Monaco you have great access to many little shops and restaurants right there left and right from the entrance. You can ride the free trolley up and down the King Street. Yes, it is really free.

6. Re: REALLY need some expert hotel advice

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