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“Stylish but annoyingly impractical.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of W Washington DC

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W Washington DC
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   515 15th Street NW, Washington DC, DC 20004 (Downtown / Chinatown)   |  
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Ranked #71 of 135 Hotels in Washington DC
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
32 hotel reviews
140 helpful votes 140 helpful votes
“Stylish but annoyingly impractical.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2009

Our first impression of the hotel lobby and room was WOW! The location is fantastic, right near the White House and near 2 Metro stations. The hotel itself is ultra modern and very trendy. However, when we were in our room and started unpacking and tried to find places to put our clothes, it started to not be so great!

The room was a 'wonderful' level room, and had the bathroom layout that others have mentioned - no actual bathroom, but a sink in the bedroom, a shower next to the bed, and a toilet with a door that left an inch gap that you could see straight through! This was even more of a pain at night as if you need to use the bathroom your partner will be woken by the lights as well as the noise from using the sink right near the bed.

There was also not enough storage. There were two sets of three drawers, but both of them were very narrow in depth, so narrow that you couldn't fit clothes in them without folding them in four! They were shallow too, so you couldn't fit much in each one. The wardrobe was tiny, and had one of the sets of drawers inside it, with a safe on top and an ironing board in it. This meant there was enough room left for about four items to hang properly, anything else had to hang over the safe and drawers. We only stayed two nights and had to leave some of our clothes in the suitcase as we couldn't find anywhere to put them! There were only two drawers that were a decent depth, and we filled those with a few t'shirts as they were so shallow.

There is also a Chaise Longue in the room, but this is built into the furniture and wasn't big enough for an adult to stretch out on as your feet would have hit the TV! It would have been great if they'd have put a proper set of drawers in place of this instead. The bedside tables are hollow square shapes too which again means no storage space.

Our room was also located near an electrical cupboard with an air conditioning unit whirring away, which went all night and could easily be heard in our room. We were on the 3rd floor, and like other reviewers have mentioned you can hear the base tones from the music played in the Lounge area. The soundproofing isn't good between rooms either - we could easily hear TV's, conversations and people in their bathrooms through the walls too. All in all a noisy room!

Getting to the room was another annoyance. There are 3 lifts serving the hotel, and when the roof terrace is opened, one is set aside to serve this only. The terrace is open from 11am till late each day. When events were on, which they hold in the basement, they then set aside a second lift for event guests only. This leaves one lift for all remaining guests, and it meant lots of frustrated people queueing to get to their rooms! We ended up taking the stairs throughout our stay as the wait was around 10 mins which is a long time when you're waiting!

To get to the roof terrace, hotel guests need to go down to the lobby (the lifts don't allow you to reach the roof terrace directly from the floor you are staying on) and queue to get to the roof terrace. This was really annoying as the queues were huge in the evenings (we were there over a weekend) and no preferential treatment was given for guests. During a wedding that was on while we were there the roof terrace was closed to everyone except wedding guests, but no-one mentioned this while we queued to go up, only to be told it was closed and we should try again later!

The restaurant (J&G Steakhouse) was fab though - food was a good price considering it was a hotel, and the food itself was fantastic. Breakfast was great too. The menu was brilliant, with a great choice of both healthy and more indulgent breakfasts. The waiting staff were fab, friendly and extremely professional. For us the restaurant and it's staff were the highlight of our stay. You'll definitely need to reserve a table in advance, and if just two of you are dining, request a square table. There is a bank of four tables for two people to the right of the entrance which are small and are tightly packed in. The meals come with side dishes, and if you order 2 or more you'll have trouble fitting it all on the table. The square tables have more room and are not set up close to other tables, but are dotted around the restaurant so you get more privacy too.

Overall stay here if you like a trendy hotel with convenient nightlife that you don't mind queueing for, in a great location with an outstanding restaurant. To get around the impracticality of the room, upgrade to a larger room, as other guests mentioned that the larger ones do have proper bathrooms. Choose a high floor away from lifts, stairs and electrical cupboards and you'll probably have a great stay!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,446 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Richmond, VA
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
20 hotel reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2009

The W has a lot of great things going for it, but ultimately, we can't get over the ridiculously loud music blaring late into the night and bathrooms that assume you don't want privacy. I wouldn't recommend this funky hotel unless you were club-hopping and didn't want to go to bed before 1 AM.

The good: The location is perfect - right next to the Treasury Building and one block from the White House. The service was terrific - everyone was very friendly and very attentive to any request we had (although they did nothing about my room complaint - see below).

The bad: The Music. Get this: we check into the hotel with a 4 year old child that the clerk very nicely greets. Since I am a gold member with Starwood, they upgrade us to a higher level room. The room is on the third floor facing 15th Street - directly over the two-story lobby. However, the lobby is also half of a nightclub (the other half is on the roof) and they are blaring dance music until at least midnight. The music can clearly be heard in our room and even if you couldn't hear it, the bass reverberated through our pillows. All we could think of was - they need to decide whether they want to be a nightclub or a hotel. The bathroom was a joke. There is a sliding door that leaves a 3 inch crack and the shower is not only translucent, but you can't turn the light on without it glowing through the room. Whoever designed these rooms doesn't have children, because I do not like to go to the bathroom with an audience, and I normally wake up before my wife and daughter but could not use the bathroom without waking up the whole room. Finally, we had to pay $45 for parking per day - the garage they were keeping the car in told us they charge $35 overnight and there were several options with a short walk for a lot less. Not too surprising for a hotel, but disappointing nonetheless.

In summary, this is a great hotel for a young, hip crowd (and I really mean that - i would recommend this to a single 20-something) but not for families or non-hippie baby boomers. Are there enough travelers that meet that description to keep W afloat?

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
22 hotel reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2009

We stayed at the W in August on a Sunday evening after attending a memorial service and being from DC we decided to stay over to show my daughter the DC sights.

Parking is $45 per night - Being from DC I was comfortable with the area and confident that I could get street parking on a Sunday night so we parked on the street and my husband got up at 7am and fed the meter until we were ready to leave. The hotel staff were all very friendly, rooms were small but it is an old hotel so that is to be expected. The design of the room was very smart to accomadate the size. The shower was really cool, beds comfy and our room quiet.

We couldn't go up to the rooftoop lounge because our daughter was with us so we didn't check it out in the evening but there was a line of people to get up there. The next day we went up just to check out the sites and the views were really nice and the set up was really nice up there. I think that you could have lunch up there as well.

The only challenge we had was that the hotel isn't really kid friendly - there were no snack or soda machines in the hotel. So when my 6 year old decided at 10pm she was hungry we walked to a local restaurant to get her something to eat and drink. There were snacks and a mini bar in the room but the prices were ridiculous. I guess I should have expected all of that but wanted to experience the W since I had never stayed in one before.

Don't get me wrong, the hotel was great and my daughter was comfortable and loved it- just not necessarily a place for people with kids or someone who doesn't have money to throw around. I would totally recommend this hotel to anyone that wasn't traveling with young children. I think we are more Sheraton/Westin people.

This hotel would be great for a couples weekend, girls weekend, business etc.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Long Island, NY
Top Contributor
337 reviews 337 reviews
11 hotel reviews
318 helpful votes 318 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2009

This is a great hotel to go to off season. They offer great rates. Keep in mind, this is more of a business hotel so tourists like me often received strange looks from guests in business suits. I actually felt self consious in the lobby especially when we helped ourselves to that really refreshing strawberry flavored water they offer. It was weird being the only ones walking out of the lobby not wearing a suit. The rooms were awesome, large, amazingly comfortable bed and, oh yes, the complimentary bath robe. Just forget about sleeping on Friday and Saturday night when the club on the terrace gets going. Best to join the party yourself. The pool was very small and the attendant was really nasty, especially around closing time.

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2009

We stayed 3 days at the W. During that time never did I feel like a customer, I will never stay here again. I have stayed at hundreds of hotels in my career, this is by far the worst experience, If you would like more details, let me know.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Frederick, MD
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2009

Overall the service was very good from all the staff. I agree with most of the comments made about the roof top terrace. No problem getting up there at 6pm on a Friday night but numerous tables had reserved tables. We talked to a doorman and he led us to a table and told us to sit there until it was needed. As soon as we sat down a hostess came over and led us into the POV to sit at a table and said the views would be fine. Well, the view is not the same since it is in a different direction. We went back into the bar area about 15 minutes later and still numerous tables empty. If you want to go up and see the views go ahead but take the bar business elsewhere ($11 for a basic cocktail and $15 for upscale compared to $7 at some top restaurants a few blocks away).
Location is pretty good and the rooms are small but you don't spend a lot of time in your room in D.C. We were treated very well from the front desk staff and received a phone call shortly after getting to the room to make sure everything was okay. This used to be common place in top notch hotels but I have found this to go away in the last few years. I can't speak to the pricing that much since mine was a comp from an SPG reward.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2009

We took our kids to DC this summer for our family vacation and our local friend recommended the new W for it's unbelievable location and it's amazing terrace bar. The views from the terrace bar of the White House and Arlington Cemetery were incredible. We were treated like royalty from the minute we pulled up to the front door. The staff was sooo accommodating. Our first rooms were well appointed, well priced and a little snug. When we came back from our first trip to one of the museums, I asked the front desk a question about our room. It took a little while for him to get the answer, so he apologized profusely and upgraded our family to a suite. Des made our family trip off the charts cool and comfortable with that upgrade! I must also say I feel like I made a friend for life with our concierge Jon. We loved this hotel and it's location and truly believe that the W means what it says when they say "Whatever, Whenever, what is your wish."

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about W Washington DC

Address: 515 15th Street NW, Washington DC, DC 20004
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Downtown / Chinatown , Penn Quarter , Upper Northwest
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Washington DC
#29 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#49 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#75 Family Hotel in Washington DC
#76 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — W Washington DC 4*
Number of rooms: 317
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to W Washington DC, a hotel beyond expectations. Next to the White House, the most powerful suits - pinstripes and black lace-rendezvous at W Washington DC, where Italian Renaissance meets modern cool. With commanding rooftop views of major landmarks, W-Gate is all about stately indulgence. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
w Washington Dc Hotel Washington Dc
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