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“Very nice stay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel

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Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   2121 P Street NW, Washington DC, DC 20037 (Dupont Circle)   |  
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Special Offer
Free Valet Parking
Ranked #14 of 130 hotels in Washington DC
GreenLeadersGold level
New York
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Very nice stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

Very nice hotel with good deal ($150 a night for 2 nights on promotion). They even had a room ready when I got in at 11am. Good sized room, clean and comfortable bed. Got champagne and chocolate as a welcome. Staff is courteous and helpful. Good location with cabs outside and a 3 minute walk to metro. Nice gym and free wifi. To top it off, happy hour in the lobby daily. Of course if you have $300 to spend, you may pick a different hotel but for this price range, you can't really beat it.

Personally I picked the Dupont circle location because of some research indicating there are much to do in the area. After this visit, I'll stay a little closer to the key sites (im talking about instead of 10min metro ride, 5min) so may try the Donovan House (also a Kimpton).

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelmanager_9, General Manager at Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Dear VWTraveler,
We are thrilled you enjoyed your stay with us. Thank you for a great review. Come and see us again soon. Best wishes, Stephane
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (468)
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English first
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

I stayed here for 8 nights in October, after staying at another hotel in the area (which was ok, but after staying here I will not go anywhere else).
The staff is very friendly in a non-fake way, they're helpful, not cocky. The concierge was great.
It's close to many attractions and areas of interest, but if you prefer the metro it's a 5-minute walk.
The rooms are spacious and so is the bathroom. Beautifully decorated. The bathrobes and umbrella are welcome extra's.
They have complimentary wine around 5pm, so if you're around the hotel area it's worth going back.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelmanager_9, General Manager at Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Dear MyriamMaas,
Thank you so much for your kind remarks about the team - I couldn't agree more; they really rock. We cannot wait to see you again soon. Best wishes, Stephane
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

Wow! Is all I can say. We stayed at Palomar this weekend celebrating a few birthdays. When we arrived just before 6 pm happy hour was ending. A staff member noticed this and asked if we'd like a glass of wine. SInce our hands were full, he happily delivered a bottle of wine to our room for us to enjoy. Upon entering our room we noticed a bottle of champagne with a card saying Happy Birthday. The room was spacious and well decorated. Beds and linens were super comfy. After an evening out, we returned to the Palomar. We were greeted by wonderful staff who proceeded to deliver 2 carafes filled with ice water to our room. There is nothing bad to say about this hotel other than the price of valet parking- $52 is WAY too steep!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

This was my first time staying at a Kimpton property, and I had high expectations of both the Kimpton brand and of the Palomar, as I had read many good things about both. I picked the Palomar because of its location - I was planning on seeing friends who live in the neighborhood. As a former longtime DC resident, this was also my first time staying at a hotel in the city, so I was a little anxious about the experience.

I knew I wouldn't arrive at the hotel until after 1 AM, and that this meant I might well be the last check-in of the day, with very little scope for room changes at check-in, so I called the hotel both a few days before my arrival and on the day of, so I could personally request a room on a high floor, not overlooking the dumpster/parking lot, not adjoining, and away from the elevator - all based on warnings about noise from other Tripadvisor reviewers. I had booked an Executive King for the extra space and the advertised furnishings (especially the extra seating featured in the room description and picture on the hotel's website - "rooms offer a sitting area with couch and /or chaise lounge") as I expected friends to drop by my room; and with a February sale that brought room prices down significantly it was only a little more than a Deluxe (standard) room. The various staffers I spoke to all kindly agreed to block a specific room for me that met these criteria.

A few days before arriving I got an emailed offer for an automatic paid upgrade at check-in, and having looked at the options, I selected the Executive King Spa room, which looked very appealing for only $15 more a night. I assumed that if they were sending out this offer, it must be a light weekend (February, right?). However when I called to inquire about the likelihood, they confirmed that there was nothing actually available that weekend in any room category above mine. Though I fully understood that the upgrade was offered on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis and was also still happy with the room I had booked, I felt somewhat duped by the email's implication that such an upgrade was a possibility when it wasn't, and I left for DC with some misgivings about the hotel as a result of this bit of over-marketing.

However, things really fell apart when I arrived. Check-in with Joy was smooth and pleasant, and I got handed the key to a room that indeed met all the criteria that I had requested - on the top floor in fact. BUT - it smelled like something had died in the ventilation duct. Acrid, unpleasant, it was like being in an old, damp, small-town, low-end chain motel, not a 4-star feeling at all. There was no way to stay in that room without being nauseated by the smell, let alone consider trying to sleep there. I remember the '90s when this block of P Street was still pretty skanky, and knew that the Palomar was not purpose-built but was a renovation of an earlier property, but I was shocked at the awfulness of the stench. To compound my distress, other than the bed, there was no soft furnishing except one sad chair - where was the sitting area with the "lounger AND/OR sofa" promised by the website? It felt like false advertising.

I called down to the desk, and Juleen came up to help me. Of course as I had anticipated there was virtually no inventory in the hotel at that hour. She was very concerned and tried to be as helpful as she could at that hour and with limited resources at her disposal. She initially suggested a standard queen on the same floor as a matter of convenience; but those are half the size of the Executive rooms and it was just more depressing when I saw it. She then offered me a room in the same line a couple of floors down. It was in much better shape, no smell, and the lone sad chair even had an ottoman this time. So I moved, with Juleen's promise that she would notify Saturday's management team so that they could offer me any available alternative, including a possible upgrade. Nevertheless, I was so upset and put off (and once again, where was the lounger and/or sofa???) that while she was checking on available options I was already on Kayak, considering other hotels for the next day.

By now it was close to 2 AM on a Friday night - I was exhausted and worn out from the needless room drama. But since I might be moving the next day, I didn't want to unpack my few clothes and toiletries so I just collapsed. Juleen tried to get me to give her a time when the day manager could call me to sort things out, which was well-intentioned, but I insisted that he just email me as I was in no mood to be awakened by a call to my room, which would only have made a bad situation even worse. I went to bed disappointed, annoyed, without the comfort of settling into a hotel room you like upon arrival and making it your own, and ready to write off the Kimpton experience, and the Palomar, for good.

The next day however I was contacted by Clayton (by email), who ultimately turned the experience around. He was very attentive, showing up at my room to work with me as soon as I said I was up and available, and he did his best to get things sorted for me. He offered me a Spa Suite (separate bedroom) but I opted to stay where I was after seeing it. I requested a lounger for the room I was now in, which Clayton had delivered later that day, and in addition he graciously comped me the first night, as well as breakfast one morning. I also got an email from the manager the following day checking up on me, and had various goodies (chocolates, chocolate-dipped strawberries, sparking wine) delivered to my room. So in sum - we got off to a rocky start, but the hotel management's extreme attentiveness and concern to make things right really did shine, and got me past my terrible first impression, to the point where I am now open to staying at Kimpton and the Palomar once again, based on their obvious commitment to customer service.

Room details: The Executive King is a large hotel room by any city standards, and definitely worth the extra money over the Deluxe room. The "view" side isn't much, as you just face a Residence Inn by Marriott directly across P Street; but from an angle and near the window, you can see some of the charming row houses of the Dupont Circle area on side streets nearby; and from high floors you can see the top of the Washington Monument. The bed was very comfortable, and the lounger once I got it was a great place to take a nap or read. In fact those friends who did come up to visit during my stay all immediately jumped into the lounger and then didn't want to get back out of it to leave. [Recommendation to the hotel: make them standard in the Executive Kings, or stop advertising them on your website!] Free InTouch membership gets you free wifi, which is fast and reliable, as well as a $10 credit on the minibar; though surprisingly there is a fairly limited range of basic cable channels on the TV, and no premium channels at all.

The signal touch are the fun and comfy animal print robes and fuzzy room socks with a zebra-stripe traction bottom - there is one huge robe and one smaller one (boy and girl versions apparently, not so great for same-sex couples given Kimpton's stated commitment to its LGBT customer base). The hotel also thoughtfully provides vivid purple umbrellas in the closets for guests to use. However, the in-room safe was too small for my 14-inch laptop, so be warned if this is important to you; also the safe is up on the pillow shelf in the closet and so not as convenient as one at a lower level.

The highlight of the room, besides the sheer size, is the bathroom, and this is clearly where the money spent on the rebranding shows - a tub/shower combination with an arced shower curtain bar (I always find this a nice touch) and great water pressure, designer sink and fixture, elegant marble sink surround, high-end Etro bath products, lots of dimmable lighting.

The rooms themselves are showing their age in some respects - the chair and ottoman were visibly scuffed and faded, the carpeting is drab and unattractive, and there was a layer of waxy buildup on the door that left my fingers greasy when I touched it. (Clayton did tell me that more furnishing upgrades are planned, so hopefully that will happen soon and leave behind the last ghosts of the humdrum Radisson that previously lived here.)

Hotel: I didn't try the restaurant or the gym, so can't comment; but I did order room service breakfast: eggs benedict, which are a test for me. In fact they were delicious and delivered very quickly and still piping hot. BIg points for that. However, there is very little late-night room service, with only a few cold plates on offer after 10.

The lobby is on the small and narrow side and the art that the hotel features is unremarkable at best, though the overall vibe is pleasant and more than adequate for the Kimpton signature wine hour. People do turn out for this, making it a nice social occasion if you want it to be, and the winter hot toddy was a delicious (and caloric!) alternative to the usual glass of wine. There were some nice savory nibbles to go with the drinks too, all complimentary. There is a two-sided glass fireplace in the lobby that also enhances the atmosphere, with stools placed right next to it, and on a cold weekend it was nice to be able to sit there with a toddy and really warm up for a bit after several hours of walking around outside. I find it hard to be back at a hotel between 5 and 6 if you're really out hitting the museums or shopping or touring, but it's a great idea - and would just be improved if it lasted until 7 or so to give stragglers a chance to enjoy it (note to Kimpton...).

Location: Dupont Circle is a thriving neighborhood that is close to almost everything of interest, and given the small size of the central part of town, even Capitol Hill is only a 20-minute cab ride away. It's a short walk to the Dupont Circle metro station, to the large 24-hour CVS on the Circle (always a good thing to have at hand when out of town), to the 24-hour weekend dining at perenially popular Kramerbooks & Afterwords, and to PIzzeria Paradiso, a Washington institution for upscale pizza. Also try Zeke's gourmet doughnuts right by the hotel. [Note - I was surprised when the concierge didn't know that Kramerbooks is open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday, as that has been the case for at least the 25 years that I have known DC. A concierge should always know where to find 24-hour dining in close proximity to a hotel.]

A final word about the Spa Suites, the hotel's top accommodations apart from their Presidential Suite. Having seen one and opted not to be upgraded to it, you should know if you are considering booking one that these suites are all at the back of the hotel, overlooking the alleyway and parking area; and with an apartment building only yards away across the alley with all its windows facing right back at you. I found it dark, and the living room small, maybe one-third the size of the bedroom; overall it felt much less spacious than the smaller and cheaper Executive King room. While the spa bathroom is pretty fabulous with a gigantic jacuzzi tub for two and separate shower, the suites get no direct sunlight and in any event you could never open the curtains in the room as you would be immediately visible to all the neighbors across the alley. If privacy or light matter to you, this may not be the choice for you.

Overall I was very happy with the hotel once things settled down, and I have only praise for the staff's high customer service ethic; ultimately it was the staff that made the experience for me. I don't give it five stars because there are some obvious quality control failures where a room smells so nasty as to be uninhabitable; and because the soft furnishings issues (wear and tear) need to be addressed. But if you get a good price and don't need to be closer to the Mall, it's an excellent place to stay.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
hotelmanager_9, General Manager at Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Dear Mark K,
Wow, this could have really turned out bad. I am so happy to read that Clayton truly listened to your needs. I will make sure to share your review with the team. Next time you are in town, please let me know. I will make sure that everything goes well from the very start. Best wishes, Stephane
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Haven, Connecticut
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

For business or pleasure, I am a fan of Kimpton Hotels. Friendly staff, unique and comfortable rooms, the Palomar was all that I expected and more. I prefer rooms on higher floors and far from the elevator, so I avoided street and hallway noise.

Kimpton bedding is always soft and comfy - although I could do without all of the decorative pillows. Where does one put them at night? I have visions of people tossing them on the floor, only to end up back on my bed. ;-)

This hotel has an excellent (and convenient) restaurant with a great menu. Hip bar, with a chaming bartender! I was delighted to invite my DC friends to my hotel as if it were my home.

Room Tip: Join Kimpton's in touch (which is free) for wi-fi and other special values.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelmanager_9, General Manager at Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Dear Venitian_Voyager,
Thank you so much for being fan. We hope to see you again soon. Best wishes, Stephane
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woking, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

Stayed for short break with my wife Feb 2013. Booked the hotel at short notice room only.
Really impressed with all aspects.
Staff friendly and helpful
Beds very very comfortable
Room spacious and little noise can be heard if any at all
Really nice touch is the complimentary wine and nibbles from 5pm til 6pm. Great to mix and chat with other guests.
Would happily return.
Well done the hotel team

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Denver, Colorado
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

I choose a hotel to SLEEP, not to PARTY! We were awakened at 2am by SO MUCH NOISE in the hallways (we sleep with ear plugs in and it was WAY louder than they could hide). We called the desk and the person said she would come up and "try" to quiet them. An hour later we were still awake fro the noise. This is not what I want from a hotel. If you want to sleep in a fraternity house and party all night, this is the hotel for you. Otherwise, choose a normal hotel. This is NOT it!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hotelmanager_9, General Manager at Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Dear Angeltraveler247,
Oh No! This is not what we are all about. I really would like to make it right. Please contact me on my email at stephane.vogel@hotelpalomar.com. Best wishes, Stephane
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel

Address: 2121 P Street NW, Washington DC, DC 20037
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Dupont Circle
Amenities:
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Green Hotel in Washington DC
#10 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#12 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
#16 Family Hotel in Washington DC
#18 Business Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Palomar Washington DC, a Kimpton Hotel 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Timeless sophistication meets contemporary style at the Hotel Palomar Washington DC. This luxury boutique hotel provides flawless service and exquisite amenities in engagingly innovative surroundings. Located within Washington’s historic Dupont Circle, this Kimpton Hotel and its lively Urbana restaurant are a short walk to Georgetown and the city’s largest concentration of private art galleries, museums, theaters, shops and restaurants. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kimpton Washington Dc

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