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“Service AWOL” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Watergate Hotel

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The Watergate Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   2650 Virginia Avenue Northwest, Reopening Fall of 2015, Washington DC, DC 20037 (Foggy Bottom - GWU - West End)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #113 of 135 Hotels in Washington DC
Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Service AWOL”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2007

We are Washingtonians who stayed in a Georgetown Suite over a Friday night after a show at the Kennedy Center next door. The Watergate is a top-drawer hotel, and its proximity to the KenCen can't be beat. The Georgetown Suite is a huge room with a large sitting area.

Upon arrival the hotel seemed empty, which seemed unsurprising because it was a Friday night. Its signature restaurant, Aquarelle, was nearly empty, which was VERY surprising, also because it was a Friday night.

We had two problems. First, despite having reserved a nonsmoking room the clerk assigned us otherwise (strike one). Upon opening the room door this error was obvious; the room reeked of the fragranced carpet powder hotels use to try to cover up tobacco odors. We returned to the front desk where I objected. The clerk denied that the room was a smoking room (strike two), but reassigned us to a bona fide nonsmoking room six floors directly above. Whereas nonsmoking signs were promiscuously posted on the 10th floor, there were no such signs on the 4th floor where we were originally assigned (strikes one and two now confirmed by instant replay).

Second, the bona fide nonsmoking room on the 10th floor to which we were then assigned was stifling -- 78 degrees (according to the in-room thermometer, and sticky humid. We called twice for the hotel engineer. He was useless (strike three). He recommended opening the unscreened windows to catch a breeze, which we ultimately did with limited effect. (By morning the room temp had declined to 74.)

The night was unusually warm for Washington in January, so I infer that individual rooms at the Watergate lack true climate controls and the hotel chose not to turn on the building's AC.

Altogether, this was an unpleasant experience for such a high-end hotel. I am tolerant of "things that go wrong" provided that a hotel is willing to fix them promptly. I am intolerant when staff are deceitful, uncooperative and unhelpful.

Previously I have recommended the Watergate to out-of-town visitors because it seemed like a hidden gem. Now that I've actually stayed there, I won't.

Oh. Other commenters have noted that the Watergate charges $30 for parking. That's true, even when the hotel is empty.

  • Liked — Room size and comfort
  • Disliked — Seervice (absent)
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
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English first
Christiansburg
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2007

I stayed at the Watergate twice, once with my family two years ago and the other time for business in January 2007. While this hotel is acceptable for recreational travel, I would warn business travellers to stay away.

The hotel is situated a 10 minute-walk from the closest subway, Foggy Bottom. Although there are a few quick restaurants in the complex, most of them close down very early. Thus, if you want to have a late dinner, you will need to walk about 25 minutes to reach even a few options. This is, of course, not an issue if you are in D.C. for a vacation, but if you are in your room, preparing for a presentation, and want a quick bite, you are out of luck. The room service closes down at 10pm.

I booked my stay through Expedia with a rate that would guarantee me a free upgrade. However, not only that I did not get the upgrade, but I was placed in a room that had not been renovated in decades. The ceiling had water stains. Moreover, the cabinet drawers were not thoroughly cleaned and they contained several clothing receipts and a few pennies (I assumed from the people who stayed in the room previously). Although I booked a room with a king size bed, I was unpleasantly surprised to get a room with two doubles.

These are all perhaps small things, but they kept compounding. The room phone did not work at all. There was another phone in the bathroom, which had various numbers programmed incorrectly. So if you pushed the button for the reception desk, you would get the health club; if you pushed the button for the restaurant, you would get the "you have dialed the number that is not in service" message. Moreover, the iron did not work. The housekeeping brought a new one after my call, but if you are in a hurry for a meeting, a 20-minute delay is a huge inconvenience.

Perhaps not as important, but the Watergate does not have wireless Internet access (they do provide an Ethernet connection for $10).

I would not stay at the Watergate again. If you are looking for a well-appointed hotel in the similar price range (perhaps even more affordable), I would highly recommend Hilton Embassy Row for its location, service, and very comfortable rooms.

  • Liked — Hotel lobby
  • Disliked — Malfunctioning phone, iron, no wireless internet, ceiling water stains
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2007

I have stayed at this hotel three times now for business, each time booked on Expedia with flights from London, with very competitive rates for a hotel that I'd say easily qualifies as 4-star. This is not a large hotel but it's in a great location with very generously sized rooms, and well equipped bathrooms. Ask for a river-view - you great a vista down the river towards Georgetown. Service in my view is good, and there's lots of local interest within walking distance.
I've noticed that the rates for this hotel really fluctuate according to how full it is, but when the rates come down, I'd strongly recommend it as one of the best in DC, both for business and pleasure.

  • Stayed September 2006, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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bridgewater NJ
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2007

We had a three night stay over Christmas break that we booked through Expedia. If we were paying the list price for our room, it would have been one thing, but we were paying about the same as any other reasonably good DC hotel and it was a tremendous value.
The place may not be around much longer as a hotel as they are trying to convert all units into million dollar condos. This gives it an weird feel at times-sort of deserted-but everyone was very nice, the area is great, the Kennedy Center is next door, and there is a shopping mall on the ground floor if you don't want to venture too far after dark.
It's an easy walk to Georgetown and the west end of the mall and only about five minutes from a safe metro stop.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — bedsheets were too small for the bed!
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Cleveland, Oho
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2006

I stayed at the Watergate for two nights on a business trip. I had a nice stay, checked out and all was well, or so I thought. When I got my credit card bill I found that there was an additional $60 charge that I had not expected. I call accounting and was told that I had consumed $60 worth of mini bar contents and told me to call the head of catoring, because there was nothing she could do about it. He, of course, is never in, and I am still trying to get through to voice mail--she maintains that there is nothing she can do. While I understand that errors can be made, the complete lack of any customer service, support and responsivness will keep me from coming back to this hotel again.

  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
73 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 322 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2006

The Watergate Hotel is the only part of the famous Watergate complex that seems to have had its exterior renovated recently, and it looks good, while the remainder seems to be falling into decrepitude. It’s even better internally. I was amazed at the value I had for a three-night package, as I had a large, well furnished, comfortable bedroom, a walk-in closet and a well-equipped bathroom – see photographs. On top of this I had Forrest Gump’s view over the interior courtyard – not too inspiring in view of the current state of maintenance – as well as a partial vista of the Potomac. The hotel is well-located for business in the area around the White House and State Department, World Bank, IMF and George Washington University. The Lincoln Memorial and Kennedy Centre are minutes walk away and Georgetown is no more than ten minutes distant by foot and ideal for restaurants. There is also a drugstore, a simple Chinese restaurant and take-away, and a pasta house in the lower levels of the Watergate buildings’ courtyard. Considering therefore that this hotel has so much going for it, I find it a pity that I found the reception so downright unwelcoming, and indeed just short of outright discourteous. I found myself looked through as If I did not exist and queries were answered in the curtest possible fashion, without eye contact. The impression made was so negative and unfriendly that I did not eat in the hotel and had no desire to make use of its public areas.

Two lesser concerns also apply. When so many hotels at present provide Broadband access at no extra charge, I find the Watergate’s charge of $9.50 per day for this service quite exorbitant, and indeed a significant increase in percentage terms to the basic cost of a room. In addition the chair provided at the otherwise excellent desk was neither swivelling, comfortable or at an appropriate height for working with a laptop connected to the Broadband. As it happened, I had to spend several hours each evening on the computer and I ended up with an aching back as a consequence of the poor seating provided. This would be a minor problem to resolve and doing so would be greatly to the benefit of business travellers.

  • Liked — Excellent Room and plenty of space - very luxurious for the price
  • Disliked — Dreadful chiar at the writing desk, unsuited to working on computer. Also the unfriendly reception.
  • Tips/Secrets — Being charged $9.50 per day for Broadband is ecessive - go elsewhere if you need it.
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2006

We had a number of issues with this hotel. First, the air conditioning in August would not go below 75-78 degrees. This made for a very uncomfortable experience. The whole building was warm. Second, they advertised that the suite we chose had a sleeping area separated from a living area with French Doors. We paid the price for that but did not get that. Third, just to get ice alone, you have to call room service, which is very slow. We requested and paid for a microwave. When they brought it up, it did not work. They brought a second one which only made the food lukewarm, but we still paid $25 for this. Lastly, they do not tell you when you check in that they are authorizing about 20% more than your estimated bill on your credit card. If you use debit, which we did, your money is not available to you even after you get your zero balance receipt. When I called their accounting department to find out why they charged me an extra $86 that was not on my bill, the representative was not very customer service oriented, saying it is the customer's job to understand authorizations. When I told her I never had this problem at 2 other major hotels, all my numbers at the bank always matched the bill upon check out, she insisted that she worked in the business long enough at other places to know they all do it the way that Watergate did. I stay in major hotels 3 times a year and never had this problem, but their representative says I am wrong. For over $200 a night, the customer deserves much better ammenities, service, and respect.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Watergate Hotel

Address: 2650 Virginia Avenue Northwest, Reopening Fall of 2015, Washington DC, DC 20037
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Foggy Bottom - GWU - West End
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #113 of 135 Hotels in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Watergate Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 337
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A LUXURIOUS URBAN RESORT LOCATED ALONG THE BANKS OF THE POTOMAC RIVER. MODERN DESIGN BLENDS WITH A STORIED PAST TO REDEFINE LUXURY. Completely rebuilt following an extensive $125 million renovation, The Watergate Hotel, originally built in 1961 on the banks of the Potomac River, exemplifies Washington DC past and present. From the flowing avant-garde architecture, built to compliment the mighty Potomac, to the elegant redesign of the interior of the hotel, The Watergate is a true DC landmark. An American icon, situated just steps away from Georgetown, the capital's most chic and exclusive neighborhood and centrally located to all of DC's attractions. The Watergate Hotel's 337 guest rooms and suites define luxury with lavish finishes, sleek furniture and lush bedding, all artfully chosen with the guest in mind. Custom-made bath amenities, exclusively created by La Bottega, perfectly complement the floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms. Champagne in hand, guests can revel in these extravagant surroundings while taking in striking views of the Potomac River on private balconies. Located on the lobby level, an undulating copper wall leads you from the lobby to the dignified whisky bar, illuminated by a soft amber glow and filled with a selection of the world's finest spirits. The Top of the Gate, a soon-to-be iconic rooftop bar, has unrivaled 360-degree panoramic views-with charming Georgetown waterfront views in one direction and The Washington Monument in the other. See and be seen in the restaurant's casual portion, where you can soak in views of the Potomac River from an outdoor terrace, or enjoy the refined elegance of Washington's heyday in its more formal dining setting. The Watergate Hotel takes the classic elegance and bold mid-century modern design and refreshes it with all of the extravagance and warmth of a true luxury lifestyle hotel. From the tranquil spa and the state-of-the-art fitness center, to the indoor pool and dining venues, this one-of-a-kind hotel pays tribute to its own storied past, while paving the way for a new chapter to be written. ... more   less 
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