I just completed my third stay at The River Inn. One of the best things about this hotel is it’s location. It’s in a quieter part of DC, and, from the hotel, it’s a short walk to a bank, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, the Foggy Bottom metro stop, and a Fedex/Kinko’s; a drug store, a post office, and Georgetown are slightly longer strolls. The hotel is not slickly modern, but a little more old-fashioned, and it is not part of a “cookie cutter” chain. Furnishings are comfortable, and the suites are, as advertised, larger than most hotel rooms in DC, especially the bigger Potomac Suites. I find the suites to be intelligently laid out, as well. The staff is invariably polite and tries to be helpful.
However, there are drawbacks to the hotel’s old-fashioned nature, and these were not evident during my first two stays, both of which were in mid-summer. Because the building is quite old, the heat and air conditioning are not available simultaneously; it must be one or the other. During summer or winter, that may not be an issue, but in spring or autumn, weather in DC can be quite variable. During my most recent stay, it was quite warm until a powerful cold front came through the area. Temperatures dropped into the 40’s at night, yet heat was not an option. In the United States, in 2012, in what is supposed to be a nice hotel, I do not regard this as acceptable; heat or air conditioning should be available whenever a guest wishes.
In addition, the day I arrived (October 4th), one of the two elevators in the building was out of service, and it remained so throughout my stay. The hotel is in the process of “modernizing” the elevator. That’s fine, except that the process is expected to take many weeks (I was told it will take around three months), particularly as the old elevator has to be removed piece by piece (again, this is an old elevator in an old building). So you have exactly one functioning elevator to serve an eight-story hotel with over one hundred guest rooms. As you can imagine, this sometimes leads to lengthy waits for the elevator. Why aren’t prospective guests advised about this on the hotel’s website? You can, of course, take the stairs to your room, but after a long day of sightseeing on my feet, climbing multiple flights of stairs to my room (I was on the top floor) is not something I want to do. The staff notes that they’ll try to accommodate guests on lower floors when it’s possible, but it isn’t always possible; this hotel is busy year-round.
Also, the hotel’s website notes that the Corporate Suites include a “full kitchen”. This is not true, or at least it wasn’t in the Corporate Suite in which I stayed. Where I come from, a full kitchen includes an oven and a dishwasher; my Corporate Suite had neither. This wasn’t a big deal, but it would be nice to be told the truth about a room you’re booking.
One final thing: recognize that the staff’s hands are tied regarding these issues. The River Inn’s parent company, Modus Hotels, naturally has the final say in everything pertaining to this hotel. The River Inn’s employees spend a lot of time listening to complaints (and apologizing to guests) for matters that Modus should be addressing.
Would I stay here again? At this point, I really don’t know.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello there, and thank you for your review on The River Inn. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the hotel's location, suites, and staff. Just like you, I love the layout of the suites. This building used to be an apartment complex, so you can really envision yourself living here! I am sorry that our heat and a/c system was an inconvenience to you during your stay. As you stated, at this time of year our weather in DC can vary greatly, which makes it difficult for deciding when to switch over to heat permanently. Also, you are correct in the fact that we are in the process of modernizing our elevators. This does create a small hiccup with our day-to-day operations, but the end result will be two brand new (and faster!) elevators, which our staff and guests are very excited about. As another part of this process, we will be upgrading our suites very soon. These upgrades will include new furnishings and carpeting. We really do appreciate your feedback; we would love for you to give us another chance and to see our new elevators and suites! Thanks again for your comments on The River Inn.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.