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“Lovely, if faded, glory...” 5 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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Ranked #112 of 133 Hotels in Washington DC
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Lovely, if faded, glory...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2007

i stayed in the Watergate for the first time in many years, on what turned out to be a very crowded graduation weekend in DC. the suite i had requested and was billed for was not available, but one of the nicest, most knowledgeable desk people i have run into in a long time offered me two other options, one of which made my stay here even more enjoyable than i anticipated. i was offered a "room" in the "17" tier (mentioned by other posters) on a smoking floor, which i took because there was no trace of smoke scent anywhere. this "room" was approximately 1400 square feet on a riverside corner of this landmark complex, and since it was on the 8th floor, had a commanding view from Arlington Cemetery to well past Key Bridge and Georgetown from its 8 enormous windows! the second morning i was there, i awoke to the subtle sound of drum cadence, opened the blinds and was treated to a morning of dragon boat racing on the beautiful Potomac River directly in from of the hotel. only in DC, and only at the Watergate! yes, as others have written, the rooms are a bit tatty (if things like wood veneer peeling up in spots and slightly stained white marble floors bother you, stay elsewhere), but the room service is perfection, the ambiance of the place is totally its own, and you feel as though you are a welcomed regular most of the time. one thing worth mentioning is that the staff is a bit odd in that the reception people range from charming and helpful (as above), to indifferent and even snotty. jaded older bellman and valet parking guys treat you like you might expect, but these are minor issues that only served to make the positives of staying here more obvious and wonderful. i look forward to having a reason to stay here again and again. (note: i had to change to a newer place that was over twice as expensive for my last night in DC due to an error I made in booking, and was really let down... try the Watergate if you get a chance!)

  • Liked — Amazing landmark complex; spacious room on the river side; a desk clerk who made my visit perfect
  • Disliked — i couldn't stay longer.
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Providence, RI
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2007

I just returned from a 3 night stay at the Watergate. I booked the hotel mostly because of its location and place in history. It is a short, nice, easy walk from the Foggy Bottom-GWU metro stop.

1. Lobby is beautiful and well air-conditioned.
2. Showed up at 9:00 AM and was given my room even though check-in is at 3:00.
3. Great water pressure in the shower.
4. Nice toiletries.
5. Staff is helpful and polite.
6. The rooms are very spacious.

1. My first room was over 80 degrees! The cooling system was malfunctioning, but they did change my room.
2. In the second room, the thermostat read 78 degrees, but the air conditioning cooled the room and the reading of the thermostat was incorrect.
3. The rooms are old and need to be updated. Some of the materials in the room still read "Swissotel" which was the old operator of the hotel.
4. There were stains on the carpet and bedding.
5. The exterior of the Watergate complex needs updating.

  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oceanside, ca
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2007

My family and I liked our stay at the Watergate. The room was a bit dated, but comfortable and clean. The exterior is in serious need of repair but our view of the Potomic was spectacular. Service was acceptable. No ice machine, but the lower level Safeway and SavOn stores downstairs are a convenience. Bakery and pizza shops in the complex fell far below expectations. We found dining at the hotel restaurant and bar both a high quality and high priced experience. For us, the Watergate was within a short walk of the Metro station and, in fair weather, a realistic walk to Capitol Hill, the Mall, and nearby waterfront dining.

  • Liked — its history
  • Disliked — its condition
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2007

I enjoyed my stay at the Watergate.

The hotel is of course older and the furnishings in the rooms relfects the age of the hotel. However, everything was in fine shape.

I was surprised by the relatively low rate - I$159 - assume the location - a little off the main path for DC played a part in that. But taxis are plentiful and afforable in DC.

At check in I was given an upgrade to a very large room with two beds, desk, seating area & wrap around balconies on the "end" of the hotel overlooking the Potomac and the Kennedy Center. This was a nice touch especialy as it was my first visit to the hotel. The bath was nice with separate shower (marble?) and tub. Nice bathroom lighting - more options that 1 harsh overhead light like most hotels have.

My only two complaints were the windows are not well insulated. While the views were great, it was very cold in DC when I was there and there were a few noticeable drafts. Also my room had a connecting door to the room next door. This door had a gap underneath - I could see the lights in that room and hear some noise. Though it wasnt disruptive, it felt way too close for comfort - almost like you were being watched!

The staff is very gracious. Casual dinner in the hotel lounge area was delicious as was a very hearty room-service breakfast. So nice when room service food is still piping hot when it gets to your room.

Wil definitely stay at the Watergate again on return trips to DC.

  • Stayed January 2007, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2007

Staying at the Watergate, I've come to learn, is all about getting the right room. If you get one of the nice suites, it's a great place, if not it's hit and miss. The suites for rooms ending in 17 are excellent. The other rooms are ok. This trip, I got ok.

My room was clean, comfortable, and spacious. However, the furnishing were dated. The pillows in the room I had last time were amazing. These were amazing, but only because I was amazed at how bad they were. The same goes for the sheets and towels. They felt a bit cheap.

The single best feature of the hotel remains. Each room, I've come to find, has an excellent glass shower. The water pressure is unmatched compared to other hotels.

This trip I found the hotel staff to be much nicer than they have been in the past. The front desk folks were quite nice.

As other reviewers have noted, the hotel is suffering from a bit of a deferred maintenance issue. This seems to be predicated on the closing of the hotel. However, the desk clerk told me that the latest plan is to close the hotel in August to refurbish it and keep it open.

It seems that every trip to DC, I stay at the Watergate because it is going to be my last chance to do so. It's hit and miss based on the room, but overall, I enjoy the place. I hope they do go forward with a renovation and bring it back to the hotel it could be.

  • Liked — The location.
  • Disliked — The towels.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, CO
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2007

I typically travel to DC once or twice a month, and have unfortunately gotten stuck at the Watergate two times within the last 6 months - the travel agent claimed both times that the Watergate was the only hotel that had availability (I think now that the travel agent got a bonus commission and was lying). Bottom line: its one of those has-been places that is surviving on previous notariety, but should be completely remodeled or closed down. My visit sucked both times (rooms on floors 9 and 14) because:
- Room filthy, e.g. maid did dishes in my bathroom sink (from some other room since I didn't order room-service) and left sticky stuff on counter which attracted a million tiny ants. Called front desk & maintenance many times, usually didn't answer, talked to someone twice, they promised to send someone to exterminate but never did. Staff commented "that happens sometimes".
- TV didn't get some basic channels (e.g. ABC), staff commented "oh it should", promised to send some to fix, never did.
- Heat/ AC has two settings "Off" and "Freight Train"
- Windows wouldn't open
- Lost track of the number of times I had to get my room key card re-issued - it wouldn't work at all when issued, or would work once or twice then quit - staff was always surly about it
- Adjacent shopping area has many abandoned shops/ restaurants, looks run-down
- Don't even bother to ask staff how to get to the metro, get yourself a good map instead
- Always seemed to be a lot of drunk people around. e.g. on my last visit a well-dressed senior citizen, drunk as a skunk and bleeding profusely from falling down, stumbled past the staff at the front door and front desk, got in the elevator with me, fell on the floor and passed out.
- Shower dribbled water, temperature varied widely - How long has there been plumbing in the world? Why is it so hard to get a simple decent shower?

  • Liked — Within DC
  • Disliked — Noise, filth
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2007

The hotel itself was beautiful and classy but my experience at check-in has left me scarred for life and I will therefore never go back.

I called this hotel (where other wedding guests were staying) at the last minute after deciding to stay in Washington, DC for a wedding my girlfriends and I were attending. I was told that there were rooms available (we were not far away at the time). Upon arriving to the hotel shortly after, there were tour-busses parked out in front. I went to check in and the place was a 3-ring circus. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, a famous pop band was staying there & there were floods of early twenties girls in the lobby hoping to get a glimpse of someone famous. I approached the front desk and asked for a room. I was told there “were none available,” by the snooty hotel staff member, who looked down on my friends and I as if we were some kind of trash. (Profiling at its best). I explained how I just called and they told me there were rooms. She told me “whoever told you that was wrong.”

Kind of irritated, I stepped outside and called the main world-wide reservations line to Suissotel. The lady confirmed that there were PLENTY of rooms available. I made the reservation (against better judgment). We walked back into the hotel, with a confirmation number in hand and asked to check in. The same person behind the desk seemed confused, pulled the reservation up and said that there must’ve been some kind of error because there were no rooms available. At this point, I started to lose my cool a bit and asked to speak to the hotel manager. Clearly we were being discriminated against because they assumed that we were girls who wanted to hang out with the band. The manager apologized profusely and ended up giving us a huge suite that had a corner balcony for the regular room price. It was probably the most amazing hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, but the price of my dignity was not worth it. I haven’t been back since and wouldn’t give the Watergate/Suissotel my business ever again.

Stayed March 2004
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Additional Information about The Watergate Hotel

Address: 2650 Virginia Avenue Northwest, Reopening Fall of 2015, Washington DC, DC 20037
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Foggy Bottom - GWU - West End
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 #112 of 133 Hotels in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Watergate Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 338
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to The Watergate Hotel, a luxurious urban resort located along the banks of the Potomac River. Completely rebuilt over the course of 18 months, the hotel will once again welcome guests this summer. Individual reservations will be accepted starting this spring, and group business is currently being contracted for September 2015 and beyond. Steeped in history, located centrally and convenient to all forms of transportation, The Watergate Hotel, will soon offer superior service to travelers and guests of the nation's capital. With an updated vision of mid- century modern architecture, this historically significant structure provides an environment that guests will find gracious and modern. With numerous food and beverage venues, The Watergate Hotel offers something for everyone. Our newly designed roof-top bar features panoramic views of the city complimented by our menu of craft cocktails and beers or our exemplary wine list. With a view unrivaled by any other in the city, it will soon become the hottest venue in town. Located on the lobby level, our whisky bar will offer a more intimate setting, while the dual concept restaurant will offer a choice of casual fare or a more formal dining experience. For those wishing to dine in the privacy of their own luxurious guest room or suite, or perhaps on their private balcony overlooking the sweeping city views, in-room dining will be offered on a 24-hour basis. The newly envisioned guest room at The Watergate features all of the amenities that you would expect to find in our luxurious setting. From all marble five-piece baths and lush Italian bath amenities to carefully selected linens and finishes, are rooms are a true urban oasis. Upscale coffee makers, fully stocked mini bars, state of the art technology and artful design all compliment the sweeping views of the Potomac River, which is enjoyed from 95% of our rooms. The newly renovated Watergate brings back the era of fine dining, luxurious accommodations, and gentile service focused on the comfort of our guests. When seeking a place to call home in Washington, DC, return to an era of mid-century modern in our hotel where history will once again be created. ... more   less 
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