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“Doesn't Live up to Brand” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.

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Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC, DC 20024   |  
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Ranked #27 of 133 Hotels in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence 2014
New York City, New York
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Doesn't Live up to Brand”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

The Mandarin brand usually does live up to the hype, but in this case, not so much. The property is on the Potomac, and the view (especially if you get the Waterfront room) kind of is nice (if you don't mind the disheveled marina, parking lot, and train tracks below). The lobby and Empress Lounge (with Fri and Sat jazz) are quite lovely. But considering you have some powerhouse properties in the area, such as The Jefferson, Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Park Hyatt, why isn't there a sense of competitiveness to be the best? The room was fine, but the bathroom was great. The spa and gym were very nice. The real failure was in the training for their staff. No one goes the extra mile: when we asked the concierge to make a reservation, the most she did was go on Opentable, which was what I was doing before I asked her to make a reservation. What I expected was a call to the Restaurant to say 'Im calling from the Mandarin, can you accommodate us.' At the Empress Lounge, the service was a hot mess. Un-bussed tables, confused waitstaff was the norm. And that's on two separate occasions. 'Yeah sit wherever it's open; we'll just clean the table when you sit.' Does it take much more effort to say 'Let us clear a table for you.' Again, not rocket science. And knowing the there are extensive street closures for the holidays, why wouldn't they alert their guests and/or have contingency plans for transportation? For the price you pay per night (which, btw is more than the Ritz, Four Seasons and the Jefferson), they need to take a hard look at how to attract repeat customers when there are so many better choices in the area.

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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927 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Poughkeepsie, New York
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
248 helpful votes 248 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

I reviewed the Mandarin Oriental a year ago and was somewhat disappointed with room quality for the price, and that was after I paid an event rate that was half the normal night's charge. This time, I have to give an upgrade to very good, based on an improved room and impeccable service.

I was somewhat concerned entering the hotel when two women saw me getting out of a taxi and told me, "This is a horrible hotel with bad service, especially in the restaurant." The hotel was sold out with at least three large groups staying there and perhaps they had issues. Yet, I experienced excellent service, from check-in to room service to dining to check-out. I received a better room on this visit, overlooking the local marina. The bed was comfy and the bathroom large with a great shower providing excellent water pressure. I called to have my shoes shined. They were returned in 30-minutes with a shine that reminded me of my time in the air force.

I had a problem with the TV, but figured out how to correct it myself, though I was disappointed with the limited channel selection. Food at the black tie event I attended was excellent, as was the service. The breakfast buffet the following morning in Sou'Wester was very good and I appreciated the table by the window overlooking manicured lawns and the marina.

After filling out the post-stay survey expressing concerns with the TV and hotel location, I was pleasantly surprised that I received a personal and detailed response from the hotel management, explaining that an upgrade in TV service is in the works and development plans for the area around the hotel would make it less isolated, a common complaint of those who stay there. It is a convenient location for the Smithsonian museums, the Holocaust Memorial, and quick transit to Reagan National. A four block walk to the Metro is not bad for me, but for those with mobility issues, it is too far and you have to know where to turn to find the hotel.

Because of the high price point for this property, I would only stay here for an event that offers a steep discount. Otherwise, I would pick a hotel more centrally located to the areas I frequent for work or touring that would be several hundred dollars less than the Mandarin Oriental's regular rate.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brattleboro, Vermont
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013 via mobile

Family visit for graduation more expensive than I can afford but it is my brother's favorite DC spot and he travels a lot. Ideally located within blocks of the mall and the various Smithsonian galleries. Our room had a great view of the Washington monument. The restaurant was solid with very good service. We had dinner on the patio and families were able to let their well behaved kids play in the garden--nice for tired parents and kids with extra energy. Beware-the Starbucks across the street is closed on Sunday. My luggage was temporarily misplaced but that was because I have a different last name than the reservation was in--satisfactorily resolved. Room was over train tracks-noise not a problem at all and I am a sucker for the sound of a train when it isn't too loud. Room service for two was $98.

Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Indianapolis, In
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2013

Attended a women's philanthropy circle summit here and the hotel was perfect blend of elegance and luxury, without being over the top. It struck just the right vibe for this gathering. The club level lounge on the 8th floor was nice, but scaled down from what you would find at the Ritz or Four Seasons. The bed linens were soft and the towels were top quality. We received a group rate (so I am not sure how that compares to the normal rate), but the price was less than half what I would have expected based on the luxurious quality of this hotel. It is also green as it is totally powered by wind energy.

Room Tip: My room did not have much of a view, so if that is important to you, request it when booking.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Kyoto, Japan
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

I've stayed here over a half dozen times on various DC visits for business and pleasure, so these are general impressions gathered over time.

The building design provides for some odd room layouts. Generally price maps well to room quality (duh). For instance, lower priced junior suites are smaller and some are located over the main entry. These tend to be smaller, gloomy and within earshot of regular freight trains. More expensive ones face the Potomac and are a bit more spacious (2d bathroom, etc) and quieter.

Positives: Perhaps the best location in town for the Smithsonian mall. All major sites are within walking distance and there is a subway stop about 4 blocks away. Cityzen restaurant is excellent (pre-arrival reservations are a good idea).
Negatives: Breakfast quality has fallen and the restaurant now offers a very conventional buffet with no daily variety. This is a conference hotel and can be overrun with groups at times. The spa is small and can only accommodate a few guests per day. Pre-arrival reservations are essential. The lobby lounge often fills with conventioneers and can be quite loud and overflowing. Staff are hit-or-miss. That applies to upgrade availability if you book on a credit card program that offers when-available upgrades (it may, or may not, be offered at the time of registration, even if the hotel isn't full).

All things considered, I tend to prefer to stay here although it isn't quite as special as it was when the hotel first opened.

Room Tip: Pay the premium to avoid city "view" rooms. As others have noted, the "city view&quo...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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West Islip, New York
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

We have just passed a delightful Friday night at The Mandarin Oriental. Our request for an upper floor was immediately granted with an upgrade, and the room was perfectly appointed. The bed could not have been more comfortable, and the shower/bathroom was perfect. Our water view was to the east, away from The Jefferson Memorial, but interesting none-the-less. Tea and cocktails in the lobby bar were followed with a brief stroll along the Marina Walk, obtained through the hotel garden and across a footbridge within steps of the property. Upon our return, we dined in the Sou'wester: Susan and I both selected the She Crab Soup followed by Scallops. Our son chose the Miso Soup and Pork Bellies. Desserts were ample, and the atmosphere both casual and intimate. We found our way to The Martin Luther King Memorial after bidding our son farewell, and enjoyed a warm, Washington evening before settling in for the night. Although our complementary newspaper would not arrive before our departure, we were offered the Desk's personal New York Times, which was happily waiting for us upon our return to Long Island. I would gladly return to The Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C., and intend on exploring some of their other properties, as well.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Biddeford, Maine
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
131 helpful votes 131 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

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.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.

Address: 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC, DC 20024
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#16 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#18 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#28 Family Hotel in Washington DC
#36 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. 5*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel's unique location on the southwest waterfront makes Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. The only hotel offering views of the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument, Tidal Basin and Washington Marina. In addition to exceptional accommodations and gracious service, the hotel features the Forbes Four-Star Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Muze, with locally sourced, Asian-inspired fare and fabulous views, and the AAA Five Diamond CityZen. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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Mandarin Washington Dc
Washington Dc Mandarin Oriental

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