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.
- 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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