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“Not the best choice in Washington” 2 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 #33 of 133 Hotels in Washington DC
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
96 helpful votes 96 helpful votes
“Not the best choice in Washington”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2009

This hotel might have water views but it has been built on land wedged between a freeway on one side and a freight railway line on another. It is also poorly soundproofed resulting in either traffic noise for the waterview rooms or freight train noise, including the horn sounding, for other rooms. Even when there is an otherwise quiet period, it is inevitably interrupted by noise in adjacent rooms or in the corridor. I did not sleep well on my first night due to road works on the freeway being performed all night long. The hotel should have known about this.

The service is patchy. On check-in at 6pm I was shown a nice room on a high floor with waterview and the Jefferson memorial in the distance. But after unpacking I was informed that I was being moved elsewhere due to someone else having reserved the room! The room they attempted to move me to was darker and in a less desirable wing with restricted views. I rejected the room and after much negotiation was "upgraded" to a suite in the same wing, but with only a King bed and not twin beds as booked. The roller bed was comfortable though.

There is only one bank of elevators serving both wings of the hotel, resulting in lengthy walks if you are in the wrong wing (like I was). The hotel also needs some up dating as far as soft furnishings. Also, one of the towels in my "suite" was threadbare. The gym is adequate and the pool is great. The breakfasts are ordinary 4 star fare.

Overall, the hotel is located on the wrong side of the Mall although it is in within easy walking distance of the Smithsonian Science museums.

I was on a amex platinum package, but the price was outrageous considering this hotel, despite its name, is no 5 star hotel.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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834 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (191)
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English first
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
72 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
362 helpful votes 362 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2009

Stayed at the MO in DC overnight midweek. The bell staff were incredibly gracious, after chatting on the way to our room our bellman called the front desk and asked for a better room. A better room was provided promptly. The bellman did this on his own accord after we mentioned which other MO's we have visited. The front desk staff were also gracious and provided hot towels at check in. Concierge was helpful too.

The room itself was nice with a great bathroom with separate tub and a large shower. The bed was very comfortable, the internet was fine (unlike other reviews say) though its cost $15/day, the decor was simple but elegant. The bath products were good.

We had drinks in the Empress/lobby lounge. The drinks were good, as was some food we had but the service was sluggish. The staff here seem annoyed at the world.

We missed breakfast but had a quick bite at a sandwich place next door.

Some downsides...

1. The location is far removed from most things. This would be an issue for tourists or those inclined to walk or take the metro.
2. There is noise from the trains and from jets going into Reagan National airport.
3. Price are high for everything and room prices are high for the inconvenient location and noise issue.

We booked a special rate from as an American Bar member at $295 midweek. That said for the quality of stay we had I can overlook the downsides. Of course, at published rates of $565+ I would be upset as there are better choices for those prices.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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new york city
Top Contributor
223 reviews 223 reviews
220 hotel reviews
Reviews in 138 cities Reviews in 138 cities
473 helpful votes 473 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

Except for two points, we were very happy with this property. Very good location within 10 minute walk of the Mall, excellent food and beverage (although we thought the Cafe MoZu was better than the CityZen restaurant food), and service is friendly, although not always prompt. We had a suite and an adjoining room overlooking the water and the Jefferson Memorial and I liked its decoration. This was my first Mandarin Oriental experience.

Our main gripes were that it took until 6:30 for us to get our suite due to late checkout of an earlier guest. Also, when we checked in we asked for a baby crib. We were told it was being delivered and the bellman did request it. 15 minutes later I called housekeeping and they said they hadn't heard of the request. 15 minutes later I called again and made them confirm with a hallman that it was being delivered. 15 minutes later he showed up and said that the third call put into that department was the first he had heard of it. I mentioned this lapse to several people there on staff; I hope they deal with it. We were pissed because we lost an hour's nap and had to deal with our cranky kids for the rest of the day.

What I mean by friendly but not prompt service was that at afternoon tea, they ran out of several types of sandwiches on both ends of the buffet. I pointed this out to someone but nobody did anything. 10 minutes later I went and demanded it again at the kitchen door; about 5-10 minutes later the sandwiches came out. In a great hotel, it is not left for me to notice it or to demand it. And great hotels leave off the green stuff on the mashed potatos when you specifically ask room service to leave it off (ie: my kid doesn't like it).

We liked the free internet access at the ballroom level; the garden at the back of the hotel overlooking the marina; jazz in the lobby bar; excellent elevator service; the location; the room decor; the food and beverage; and the friendly bellstaff who went out of their way to be nice to the kids. I found the menus a bit funky for my taste and would like more stuff on it that I am used to if i were going to go to these hotels more often, but as a weekend adventure it was fine.

So this is not a hotel that is going to get top marks like a Peninsula in Hong Kong, but it is a very decent 5 star city hotel and we would return.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2009

If you expect the service and standards of a three star hotel when you check into the Mandarin in DC, you will be satisfied. However, if you anticipate an experience consistent with the five star reputation of this hotel, don't bother.

This is my third bad experience at this particular property and I feel obligated to warn others. From check-in, when they didn't have any record of the detailed notes from my Virtuoso agent to the Mandarin contact (which I had an e-mail copy of), to arguing with me that (1) they didn't know my family was traveling with me (a fact stated out in great detail in that e-mail which they apologized for missing) and (2) they didn't do turn-down because my do not disturb light was on (a light that went on after 8:30 pm), to the room that is a few years past the need for a renovation, to the untrained staff (an employee actually squeezed himself into an elevator with six people with a mini-fridge on his shoulders - hovering it over the heads of my children), to the check-out (when the bill was error-laden and we found that my kids were supposed to have received stuffed animals upon check-in), this hotel continued to disappoint. In fact, I had a running list of all the problems with my stay on the desk (things like - the clock was still not changed to standard time three weeks after we changed the clocks, no pen in the room, no trash can near the desk, etc. on this page long list) and the staff read my personal note! But even after eaves-reading, they didn't bother to correct the time on the clock.

I generally don't complain about a few shortcomings in a hotel, but this was so bad that we ended up talking to the staff a number of times about the problems. The result was deliveries of cookies, lots of cookies, repeated cookies, in fact, so many cookies that there will still 10 in the room when we checked out. Unfortunately, make-up cookies are no substitute for good service.

DC is a city full of great hotels - pick one of those and don't waste your money at the Mandarin.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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New York, NY
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2009

(1) The room was located above the train tracks and there was constant noise throughout the night and day, which woke us up in the middle of the night. Sound proofing of the hotel was not done appropriately.
(2) The valet service returned our car covered with bird feces
(3) The bathroom had a very inconvenient shower - the water was not easily adjustable and the bathtub always filled up with water as the drain plug was right in the middle. The close-up mirror almost came out of the wall throughout the process.
(4) Lack of normal lunch menu on Sunday was quite disappointing, given that we had our daughter with us and the $65 buffet was not convenient or economic, and lack of ANY other immediate non-room service options was quite horrible.
(5) the cable for internet access did not work, we had to
dig up our own cable.

Definitely not five star.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
167 reviews 167 reviews
108 hotel reviews
Reviews in 92 cities Reviews in 92 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2009

Have just returned from a four night stay at the mardarin oriental. I was very impressed and was given top quality customer service throughout my stay.

Took taxi ride (around 55$ from dulles airport) after flight from uk.

checkin was very smooth, with receptionist coming out from behind the desk to chat face to face which i thought was a nice touch.

room was large, and very clean. had a 7th floor room, with view over city. i could see washington monument. (if i looked down i could see the rail track, and empty parking lot, although this was not a problem). beds were excellent, large choice of tv channels and wonderful bathroom - both shower and bath. again it was all very clean.

had breakfast at onsite resturant. great buffet, wonderful quality food (22$, so not the cheapest option). tables with view over tidal basin. my colleague also ate at the cityzen resturant for an evening meal, and again it was quality fare.

checkout was swift, and storage of bags no problem. took taxi back to airport again.

overall, this was a great stay, if you can get affordable rate. fully recommended. i will be back.

  • Liked — quality service
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boston, MA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2008

Please let me begin by saying that this hotel is quite beautiful. Lovely rooms and bathrooms.

My problem with it was mainly the service. Not all of the service -- but some of the most important parts.

Basically it just seemed like the staff kept trying to shunt me off to the least desirable options -- for example, the lower-floor room next to the (loud) railway tracks or to the lonely table at the back of the restaurant. I found that I had to become a 'pesky customer' and continually _ask_ for them to give me the nicer options. At a hotel of this caliber and for the exorbitant rates I was paying, I just feel like they should have given me the 'good' options without me continually ask for them. That is the kind of service I would expect!

Otherwise, the service (in terms of the maids, waiters, doormen, etc.) was quite nice.

  • Liked — beautiful room
  • Disliked — spooty service
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#19 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#19 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#33 Family Hotel in Washington DC
#40 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:
Mandarin Oriental, Washington d.c. Hotel Washington Dc
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Washington Dc
Mandarin Oriental Washington Dc
Mandarin Washington Dc
Washington Dc Mandarin Oriental

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