Wow! I had passed by the Monaco and eaten in its restaurant on previous trips to DC, but have always stayed elsewhere, including sister Kimpton Hotel Rouge. I had been impressed with its stunning architecture and history as the Post Office, but would the rest of the hotel meet my expectations? By all accounts, YES!
It's a toss-up to me whether a hotel room or service is more important (is the food or waiter more important at a restaurant?) but in this case I didn't have to worry because both were amazing. First, the room: I took advantage of the hotel's standby upgrade program (why don't more hotels offer this?) and got the Robert Mills Suite for a fraction of what it's worth. I know I can't compare a regular room to this suite, but if you're looking for a really special experience, look no further. Two-room suite on the corner with lots of windows, amazingly high vaulted ceilings, and a bathtub deep enough to dive into (stand back when flushing the toilet, though - there's enough pressure to go to China). Loved the glass shower and Aveda products, street views out the windows, and the NY Times at the door every morning (including Sunday!) There's also a small business center with computers for a fee, but I simply used to check in and print my boarding pass (for free).
As for the service, it equaled or surpassed the room. EVERY single employee I encountered was at the least very pleasant and friendly with a big smile, with several going out of their way for that extra service. Example 1: Pam, the housekeeper who offered to open my room door when she saw me walking down the hallway (super long hallway, like in 'The Shining') with two cups of coffee in my hands. Example 2: the attendant at the evening happy hour (not only beer and wine, but also tasty mixed nuts and olives), who offered great conversation and had even looked up the origination of the term 'church key' for a bottle opener that I had mentioned the night before. Example 3: the front desk attendant who immediately provided two great nearby restaurant suggestions when I found out the hotel restaurant was closed for breakfast. (Slight quibble: why is a hotel restaurant closed at any time, with people coming in from different time zones and eating at different hours? Also, the hotel restaurant host was pleasant when telling me the restaurant was closed for an hour between breakfast and lunch, but couldn't come up with another restaurant suggestion - surely he's been asked this before.)
On top of all this is the GREAT location others have mentioned. Yes, it's near lots of attractions and the Mall, but also attended Sunday service at nearby St. Patrick's, went to the cupcake shop across the street, and there are five different subway lines within two blocks (caught one to Foggy Bottom and then a shuttle over to Kennedy Center all in 15 minutes, took another to Dupont Circle and back for dinner, and rode one in from Union Station and another out to the airport), each for only $1.35 a ride - you can't beat that!
Finally, there were two intangible assets that sealed the deal - first Juliette, the golden retriever belle of the ball from Philadelphia who made the evening happy hour that much more enjoyable, and second, spotting Tina Brown in the lobby - if the Monaco is good enough for Tina, then it's good enough for me!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The luxury Hotel Monaco Washington DC, centrally located in Penn Quarter, occupies the former General Post Office and is a National Historic Building. Built in 1839, this recently renovated beautiful marble building has a stately grace that is matched by the hotel’s exemplary service and luxurious amenities. From the comfort of elegant guestrooms, you are steps from the bustling Poste Moderne Brasserie, Verizon Center, the Smithsonian, National Mall and a plethora of museums. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Monaco Washington Dc
- Kimpton Washington Dc
- Monaco Hotel Washington Dc