We were recently in DC for the Nike Women's Half Marathon. We opted to stay at the Mandarin as we have stayed here in the past and have got to know the area fairly well.
I'll start with the Pro's since those far exceed the Con's.
First is the service at this hotel is like nothing I have ever received elsewhere. We have stayed at a fair share of high end properties over the years and not one compares. The staff are attentive, inviting and truly make you feel at home. They have a certain way of carrying themselves and in my opinion, are highly trained at how to deal with their guests. On several occasions we were in the process of having some form of service whether it be in the Empress Lounge, front entrance with the Doormen (if that is even an appropriate term for them anymore) or at the front desk and we were rudely interrupted by fellow guests. Each time the staff person professionally dealt with the high maintenance guest and continued on with us. I thought that was very classy and one of the few times I have ever seen this type of service and how well they dealt with it. Second is the property itself is beautiful. It looks out over the tidal basin with spectacular views of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial on the back side of the property and the Capitol Building on the front side. The location is very convenient to the Smithsonian and National Mall areas as well. The pool was very nice.
The Con's are few but they are there. Location is not terribly convenient to a Metro Station or other areas around DC. We spent a decent amount of time in cab's which is okay but can get costly pretty quick. Most of the cab drivers were pretty good about getting us where we needed to go without any chaos or getting lost. Cab fares were moderately reasonable but I can say this is the first time I have seen the cab fare rise while sitting in traffic. Most cities probably charge it and I just have never noticed. The other con are the rooms. They are nice but lack certain modern amenities such as charging stations for te myriad of gadgets that many of is travel and that you find in most Hilton and Marriott's these days, so I would suggest that management consider adding in some of these conveniences. Just an opinion. We looked at the Spa and went through the spa to get to the pool. Very nice space but spa services were way over priced and the staff I did not find to be overly gracious and inviting which was in stark contrast to the rest of the staff we dealt with.
Lastly the real fun part was simply hanging in the Empress Lounge and never knowing which celebrity would hop off the the elevator. Our 8 year old found that to be wicked cool as did we.
I would definitely stay here again and would recommend it to anyone who asked.