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“Charming historic home with very accomodating hosts.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of William Lewis House

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William Lewis House
2.5 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   1309 R Street NW, Washington DC, DC (Logan Circle/ Shaw)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #15 of 33 Washington DC B&B and Inns
Walla Walla, Washington
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Charming historic home with very accomodating hosts.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2011

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and found the staff to be friendly and helpful. The breakfast was always nice with wonderful fresh fruit and home baked items.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled on business
    • 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
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89 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2011 via mobile

I have been staying at the William Lewis House periodically since 1998. My partner and I most recently stayed in May 2011. As always we found our room and shared bath clean, the bed comfortable, and the staff friendly and helpful. My partner's parents were with us this trip as well. They enjoyed the historic period details, the beautiful spring garden, and the comfortable back porch. They were a little concerned that they could not lock their room when they left, nut in the 13 years I've been staying here I have never had anything stolen.

Dave, the owner, greeted us shortly after we checked in the first night. He went away for the weekend and we did not see him again until the last night. But Patrick, who looks after the property when Dave is away, made us feel at home and maintained the same high standards I've always experienced on previous stays.

The weekend breakfast was as good as always and sufficient to keep me going through a day of sightseeing. I enjoy getting to know my fellow house guests at breakfast and the weekend happy hours. I have made some friendships here that last to this day.

There have been many upgrades over the years. This visit I was pleased to discover an upgraded weekday breakfast with hard-boiled eggs, a bread pudding one day and home-made muffins another. The new cappuccino machine was a nice surprise.

I will continue to stay at the William Lewis House when I visit Washington DC for work or leisure because of the clean comfortable rooms, great breakfasts, central location, and opportunity to meet interesting fellow guests from around the world.

  • Stayed May 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Paris, France
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2011

I stayed at William Lewis House several days and I do agree completely with TucsonLouise about this B & B : his or her comments make me feel normal because when I read the other comments in the category "excellent", I wonder whether we have been in the same place !

When you arrive, you must find your key in a box with a code number. There is a piece of paper inside and a key, then you go to your room (there was nobody when I arrived at 4 pm, though they ask you to tell them at what time you'll be arriving). The room has NO KEY : I travel a lot and would have never imagined a bedroom WITHOUT A KEY IN THE US ! At 51, I don't believe anymore in Father Christmas nor in Wonderland and don't think that travellers staying at William Lewis House are different from others and there must be dishonest people among them so I was very worried about my personal belongings : what would have happen if my Hermès scarf was stolen in the room ? Would my insurance pay if I'd say that the door was not shut ? I doubt it !

Big mistake, I had not seen when making the reservation that there was no private bathroom so 35 years after having for the last time shared a bathroom in a holiday camp, I shared my bathroom with people who left their towels in the bathroom (though the "Book of Rules" said that it was strictly forbidden) and... other things which I won't describe, even if I am French !

I discovered the B & B was "gay friendly" : at least I would have expected a friendly attitude of the owner, who I met with his friend the following day... very strange, maybe because I am a woman and not interesting for him, he came into the room with two dogs and talking to them, and with another man, without saying anything to me. I had to say hello to be noticed, and the conversation was over. His friend, a very unpleasant man too, said nothing (was "Hello" o "Hi" be to difficult to say, I'll never know) and David, the owner, kept talking to this very old and ugly dog, full of bumps on the body as she was going to die under your eyes, and to the younger one, as if they were dear human beings (but not to me).

I am a heavy tea drinker, and I was fortunate to find a couple of gay men from Florida who explained to me how to make hot water (and the following day I explained to a New Yorker the same thing... so the owner does nothing, he comes back around 8-9 pm - I was having my diner in the guest room and this is where I met him, because he had no choice than cross the room to go to his apartment).

I tried to talk to him the following day : he never asked where I was from, what I intended to do in Washington DC, etc. He talked about his mother who died 11 months ago (I could have talked about my personal problems too) and the younger dog who had the same name as the mother (Mady I think) because she was born the same day as the mother died. Very sad of course, but you don't come to a guest house to hear about the owner's personal life, especially if you are not feeling at home.

Going back to the book of rules : fees for everything, appalling ! You feel like you are tolerated (though you pay quite a sum) and that you DISTURB the owner(s).

I had to send a mail to my husband to tell him not to call me because if he'd call the main number, I would have been charged 5 dollars !

If I'd loose my key : 400 dollars, etc. If you break something, if you eat in the room, if youu do this, if you do that, you have a whole book to read when you arrive. It is a shame and it makes you feel very uncomfortable (and you also feel like you are helping the owner(s) to boost their investments !

The following day, I heard that the mother's house had been sold to a young couple (the owner was on the phone so I could hear everything, I was just a "thing" in the room after all), so the owner was very happy and during the week-end, we have the honor of a "cooked breakfast" which means that you eat omelette made with powered eggs and too salty meat balls while "the boss" (I don't know where his friend was) is heading the table and talking about himself, about his awful dogs - who come to lick your hands at breakfast and he won't apologize for that - and about the price of the wall paper you know you are going to pay with your bill (as well as the house on the coast, etc.).

I am not used to B & B, I always go to hotels, but when I decided to stop for a few days in Washington DC, everything was full or the prices crazy, so I went to William Lewis House. At the beginning, I thought that maybe all B & B are like this but it is not true. I am just back from Scotland where I slept during 7 days in B & B and ALL of them were amazing except one... David should go and get lessons there !

I really think this should never be called a B & B but a B for BUSINESS, that's all.

What amazes me is that I talked to a few people during my say, US citizens as well as foreigners like me. And most of these people thought the same thing but DID NOT DARE to write it ! I read the guest book : perfect, excellent, etc. Were they afraid of being charged for writing a bad comment ?

Last but not least : I had to ask three times - one before leaving and twice by mail - to get an invoice.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2011

I spent four nights at WIlliam Lewis House during a work/ leisure trip to Washington having booked it at the last minute and it far exceeded my expectations. The location is great, the room beautiful and spacious, and the breakfasts healthy and delicious. As other reviewers have noted, the owner can be elusive. I only saw him briefly one evening, but this didn't bother me. I did meet two of the housekeepers on separate mornings and they were warm and friendly.
The house is in a quiet residential neighbourhood that is close to the metro but the house is close enough to everywhere that I wanted to go to that I just walked everywhere. It takes about 30 mins to walk to the Smithsonian, and a little longer to Union Station.
I arrived late at night, and the directions to the house and check-in process were straightforward. There was a lock-box with my name on it containing the house key and a welcome note. The door of my room was open and the lights were on to welcome me.
The first impression of the house is the amount of love and care that has gone into every little element of the design and decoration, including the common areas. The bedroom was charming and very comfortable with lovely bedding. It really was like a home away from home so I slept very well most nights. I loved the cosy and unique feel of each area of the house. My room was clean and had everything that you needed like a desk, wifi, different types of lighting, and alarm clock.
Although, as others have noted, there is a thick folder of rules in the room, for the most part this provides quite practical information and the rules of the house. I would have appreciated a little guidance as to the locations and which of the shared bathrooms to use. My room had two doors linking to separate corridors and having tried some doors on one side, I concluded that there was only one bathroom on my floor through the other door so I just used that one. I was a little apprehensive about the shared bath situation, but for the most part, I didn't even find anyone else using it, and the bathroom was charming and very clean. As it is a b&b, there were no amenities provided other than fresh linens and you are requested to remove personal items.
One thing that was initially of concern was the lack of locks on any of the doors (including the bathroom), but this turned out not to be a problem. You can lock your room from the inside when you are there and there is a mini safe in the wardrobe for your valuables when you are out. It was also evident when the bathroom was being used. But this may not be for everyone.
I stayed during the week so did not experience the cooked breakfast on the weekend but the weekday breakfasts were a pleasant surprise. Continental breakfast had led me to believe that there would be some mediocre pastries and toast on offer but in fact there was something home-made and different every day. One day a bread and butter pudding, on other occasions a meat and egg baked flan, a tray cake. This was alongside oatmeal that could be heated in the microwave, other cereals, home-made bread for toasting, muffins, a wonderful salad of fresh berries, soft boiled eggs, fruit bowl and tea and coffee. Most mornings I met some of the other guests around the communal table. There were always snacks of cake and fruit bowl and tea and coffee, water etc. available in the dining room. Eating elsewhere in the house is not allowed.
Finally, I will say that some people may be annoyed by the binder full of rules, and less than thrilled by the resident (but adorable) dogs, but given the amount of care that the owner has taken with the home, and that he lives there, it is understandable that guidelines are offered as to how best to use the house. Overall, I was thrilled with my stay here and would recommend it to anyone wanting a unique b&b experience that is better than many hotel experiences.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
New York, NY
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2011

I have stayed here many times over the years and find the quirkiness of William Lewis House to be among its attractions. Rooms are well appointed and beds are very comfortable. Dave, the host, is also an educator so is not around most daytime hours but the property is well-managed and the large communal dining table is the breakfast meeting place for current guests. I will continue to make this my hotel of choice in DC.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2011

We stayed here a few years back and it was OK so thought we would do so again. Big mistake. This poor host is BURNED OUT. The room has binder full of rules, big letter demands that guest read EVERYTHING before asking any questions, and charges for just about anything that irritates the host.

In a two day stay, we never met the host or anyone but the housekeeper. Food (inlcuding eggs) left out on table without cover or cooling. Dog doo on walks inside fenced yard.

It is sad that host is so burned out and unhappy, but he is running a B&B and should show some interest in his guests and should not have more childish rules and fees than a hotel. My gosh, this is a B&B not a hotel.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Lawrence, KS
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2010

I'm a Bed and Breakfast snob and this is the best one I've ever stayed at! Seriously.

When choosing a B&B over a corporate hotel, I look for a unique and personal experience. I don't want some cookie cutter room, I want a home away from home. A great B&B has subtle little extras that make all the difference. This location was brimming with bonus features.

First, upon arrival, I was impressed with the check in process. A real-estate agent style lock box greeted you with your name making after hours check ins a breeze. The Guest House actually spans two different homes. We stayed in the second house at 1313 (Triskaidekaphobiacs beware). Connected to the two homes is a lovely patio complete with outdoor grill and hot tub. The overall decor and style was turn of the century. Classic pictures from the 1800s dotted the walls and hallways. Unlike some "themes" people try to create, this was genuine. Speaking with the proprietor, he not only lives in the guest house, but most of the pictures are of him and his partner.

Our room was quite spacious and the typical size of your average master bedroom. Lots of closet and drawer space as well as sitting chairs and a work desk. Inside the closet was a digital safe. One off-putting but inconsequential detail about the rooms was a lack of room locks. While you could lock the door from the inside, you couldn't lock the room when you left. Our host said this was never a problem, but I did put my iDevices in the safe.

The shared bathrooms were truly something to write home about (or in this case Yelp about!). Both of the facilities at 1313 had bear claw tubs. Oh how I've always wanted one of those. The rooms were the size of a small bedroom. I appreciated some of the environmental touches in the bathroom. Instead of those tiny little bottles of soaps and mouthwash, dispensers were included in each bathroom. That made it feel more homey and less like a hotel. He even remembered the disposable cups for rinsing instead of a hermetically sealed plastic cup. Again, that's what's in most homes and why I felt at home here.

Unlike home, the dining and common room was over the top. I wish my home had this much thought. Always available to guests are snack jars with nuts, M&Ms, cakes muffins, and more. We partook a bit too much of those. Those wishing for healthier snacks had around the clock options of fruit as well as cereals. Fruit tea and coffee were always available. They even remembered to include some Torani syrups for those who like to customize their coffee. Don't like coffee? They've got your covered. A nice selection of Celestial Seasonings herbal and green teas are available.

For weekday breakfasts, fresh hard boiled organic eggs were served each day along with a fruit selection, orange juice, pre-made oatmeal (for those on the run) as well as a daily selection of fresh baked items. A selection of jams and jellies made by the host are also available as well as the standard B&B staples such as butter, peanut butter and nutella (every B&B I've stayed at always has that-not that I'm complaining) The first morning there was a blueberry cobbler which made me realize that our host was a true southerner. Northerners can't make cobbler that good. He beamed when I recognized that fact.

Saturdays and Sundays have a set breakfast time and you must make a reservation the night before. This could be annoying for late night partiers, but considering the spread it's understandable some planning is involved. Additionally, having a set time helps you meet others guests.

The first morning we had scrambled eggs, biscuits, hash browns and artisan sausage. The second morning was blueberry pancakes and sausage patties. Talk about a spread! By far this is the heartiest breakfasts I've ever had at a B&B. The fact it was all homemade really made me feel I was a guest in someones home rather than staying at some location that charges by the night.

In the evenings, "happy hour" includes cocktails and other drinks so guests get to unwind from their long day of sightseeing or lobbying (or both I guess!) Our hosts makes STRONG drinks. I had to really water down those cape cods.

Other thoughtful touches by the host did not go unnoticed. In the common room was a small cache of over the counter meds a traveller might typically forget such as allergy meds, ibuprofen, and tylenol. Don't you find it annoying when you suddenly need that on a trip and realize you have a huge bottle at home? Additionally in the common room is a small computer with printer for guests to print out boarding passes. Sorry Kinkos--this trip you won't get my money thanks to a B&B that thought of everything!

A few caveats a potential guests should be aware of. In no way are these negatives, but it's important you know these facts when staying there. First, be prepared for lots of subtle notes and a rule book for staying. This is all common sense, but being a laid back midwesterner, I found it odd you had to remind people to keep their noise down at 10:30pm. Lots of little signs and stickers on things to ensure you are a proper guest. Speaking with the host, he indicated this is due to the amount of foreign travellers who may not know how to be an ideal guest.

Additionally, most rooms do not have TVs. For me that was a positive. Due to the fact this is an older home, the walls were thin and I can only imagine the cacophony of sounds TVs in each room would cause. If you want to watch light night TV, you'll need to bring your laptop or other device. The wireless connection worked extremely well, but since it's a shared connection, it would be impolite to stream Netflix in your room.

Finally, since the owner lives there, he does own two dogs. One is quite old and basically just sits in her bed and looks cute. The other is a puppy that the owner only lets those comfortable with dogs play with. I had a ball with both the dogs. When I travel, I miss my dog the most and for me this was a huge factor in making my stay quite enjoyable. However those with severe allergies to dogs or extreme fears should know in advance a dog is on the premises.

Overall, our four night stay was amazing. A down home feel combined with a spacious room and a great breakfast made it hard to remember I was staying at a B&B rather than staying at an uncles. I strongly recommend regardless of your sexual orientation, that you not miss out on the William Lewis Guest House when you are near Washington D.C. Be prepared to gain a few pounds though and sleep in a bit later than you thought you would!

  • Stayed November 2010, 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
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Additional Information about William Lewis House

Address: 1309 R Street NW, Washington DC, DC
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Logan Circle/ Shaw
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 33 B&Bs / Inns in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — William Lewis House 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
describes itself as "Gay Bed & Breakfast" ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
William Lewis House Hotel Washington Dc

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