The good is the staff, as they are very nice and helpful - and for the staff I could give 5 stars. Otherwise - the hotel is extremely disappointing, especially that it held a certificate of excellence!
It is advertised as a luxury. Luxury it is not, it is barely acceptable. Rooms are relatively spacious and gosh! they are really ugly, furnished with old furniture, lacking any style and taste. Rooms smell with old cigar smoke, even if they are for non-smokers. We thought of upgrading the room, but the apartment was even more tired, with a colour peeling of the walls and grey, tired carpets. The old air-condition unit was making a noise, so it was difficult to sleep. Plus, it was either too hot or too cold.
There is a kitchen in each room, and we thought it might be an advantage, but believe me, if you are not on a special diet it cost the same to eat outside, and at the Foggy Bottom you have a lot of nice, cheap places to eat (plus some expensive and beautiful restaurants in Georgetown). And the kitchen in the room means additional unpleasant odours.
Usually, if the room is not so nice, there is a hotel lobby one can rest. In this hotel lobby is so small that it almost do not exist, furnished with VERY OLD furnitures and decorated with one dying orchid. So this is not an option.
The restaurant seems to be nice, but it is also very ... underdecorated. And again, staff in the restaurant is great. I did not try food, as we ate outside.
The gym is again very small and rather tired.
Wifi is in every room and most of the time it works really well, which is an advantage. While choosing the room there is a rule that higher is better.
I got severe allergy from the air-condition unit, I was bitten by some sort of bugs in this hotel (not mosquitos), I was sleepless from the aircondition noise.
Regarding room service there was the rule: if not living a tip, the room was always slightly unfinished. With tips it worked. I seldom tip roomservice every day, I usually live bigger amount in the end of my stay, but in Rivers Inn everyday tipping was necessary.
I liked the location though, however any hotel close to metro is in a good location, as metro works in DC really well. The "walking distance" to National Mall is ca 20-25 minutes, so it is better to take metro anyway (as then you can be too tired to walk in the museums and Mall itself). The big advantage of this hotels are bicycles, as than it is possible to cycle in the Mall and Potomac or RockCreek.
It was overpriced, this hotel - as for the amount you pay there you expect just a glimpse of luxury.
This hotel was acceptable, but not comfortable and sort of basic standard. If it was 3 stars I would not complain. But it does not deserve 5 stars, it does not deserve excellence certificate and it is UGLY.