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“Great Service with a Smile - Hip, Trendy, Clean & Fun” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel

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The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1155 14th Street, N.W., Washington DC, DC 20005 (Upper Northwest)   |  
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3rd Suite Night Free!
Ranked #43 of 135 Hotels in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great Service with a Smile - Hip, Trendy, Clean & Fun”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

My husband and I spent 3 nights in DC to celebrate my 40th birthday, and we chose The Donovan based on reviews here on TA and a great "Beat The Heat" rate that we found on their website. We booked the hotel less than a week before travelling to DC and still managed to reserve an upgraded room (King Premier Room) at the special rate.

The evening before we were due to check-in, we received an email from Daysi Cruz at The Donovan asking if we had any last-minute requests or details they could arrange for us. I was working late tying up some loose ends before our vacation, and didn't read the email until 1 am...at the same time that I realized I only had 2 more hours before we had to leave for the airport to catch our flight. Since I knew I wouldn't be getting any sleep, and we would be arriving at the Donovan around 9:30 am, I replied to her email asking if there was any way for us to get an early check-in as I knew I'd be exhausted by the time we arrived. I figured it would be impossible - I know it's difficult for hotels to arrange check-ins that early when they are at or near capacity, but I figured it was worth a try.

To my surprise, I received an email back within a few minutes telling me that she would call the hotel on our behalf and let them know of my request and they would make every attempt to accomodate our request - may I remind you, this is 1:30 in the morning!! When we arrived at the Donovan at 10ish the next morning (after an awful flight and zero sleep over the past 24 hours) we were greeted by a friendly face (Kevin), who was later assisted by another smiling, bubbly representative (I think her name was Cheri - my apologies - I was half-asleep!!) who told us that our room was ready to check-in and they thanked us for sending the email and letting them know we'd be in early.

I. Was. Amazed. I was truly expecting the "We're sorry, but a room simply isn't available yet" and a long wait - but instead we were given a quick rundown, handed our keys and we were in our room within minutes.

Our room was on the 7th floor and fabulous. Immaculate, spacious and a minimalist purple, white & tan decor. Big closet with plenty of hangers (my hotel pet peeve - never enough hangers!) Giant bathroom with the spiral shower and huge tub. Flat screen tv, futuristic reading chair, full-length mirror and mood lighting on a dimmer. Great panoramic view of Thomas Circle and a well-stocked minibar.

No coffeemaker, so we called down to the front desk and they promptly sent up a Keurig - finally, a hotel that invested in Keurigs - this seems like such a no-brainer to me when it comes to in-room coffee service.

We stopped up at the rooftop pool to see it one afternoon - and it seemed like a pleasant way to relax on a hot afternoon. We were there to sight-see, so no pool time for us - but I wish we could have taken advantage of it.

We ate at Zentan one evening - great ambiance, pleasant hostess, attentive waiter and a big menu of everything from stir-fry to sushi. We ordered some edamame, a few (maybe 8) pieces of sushi, two maki rolls, two glasses of wine, a cookies & cream dessert and a dessert wine and ginger tea...the tab came to about $100 - which we thought was reasonable, all things considered. The food was good (the fish was fresh, tasty combinations but a little bland for me - but good) and the ambiance and service made it an enjoyable night.

At 7 pm, the rooftop pool area opens as a trendy night-spot bar open to the public. We never got up there (too tired from all the walking every day!), but based on the lines at the elevators after 7pm, I can tell you that it's a pretty popular spot for twenty-somethings looking for a fun night out!

The Donovan is about 3 blocks from the nearest Metro station, which will take you anywhere in the DC area that you might want to go to. There is a 24-hour CVS across the street, which is handy for everything from snacks to forgotten toiletries. A few little restaurants and a liquor store are within 2 blocks.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at The Donovan and wouldn't hesistate to stay again, especially with a rate like the promo "Beat the Heat" that saved us quite a bit on our upgraded room. The prompt email response in the middle of the night coupled with our room being ready upon arrival made this hotel stand-out for us as an A+ in Customer Service....every single person who worked at this place was friendly and greeted you with a smile - including the maintenance/cleaning staff who we shared elevators with from time to time.

Minor complaints:
Bathroom sink was all "bowl" and a 1" ledge around it - no counter to put your toiletries - my contact case just fit on the ledge when I would remove/insert my lenses. Hotel bathrooms need counters!!

Our bed seemed small to be a King size - not sure but seemed smaller than the King I have at home.

No price list for the MIni-bar/snacks (although I'm sure they would have sent one up if we requested one - I'm guessing the previous guest may have removed it)

Overall - The Donovan was a great stay. It's young and trendy, but as a couple in our 40's, we didn't feel too out of place! I'd definitely stay again and will seek out Kimpton properties in the future. Big Kudos to the amazing employees at this hotel - your attention to great service doesn't go unnoticed and is appreciated!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MMJennings, General Manager at The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, August 8, 2012
This review made my heart sing. I am so proud of my staff. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and the rest of the world. Incidentally, we do have a handful of rooms with little vanity space as you mentioned. We are currently looking to add a custom rolling shelf under the vanity in these rooms. We hope to see you back soon!

Mark
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950 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (287)
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English first
Charlottesville, VA
Level Contributor
37 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

On my first stay in this hotel, I was happy to have the usual Kimpton amenities- excellent customer service, attention to my individual needs (they even offered to go and buy my plain M&Ms because they only had peanut in the mini bar!), and great perks. Free wine/beer hour, morning coffee/tea, a rooftop pool and bar, and a very nice sushi restaurant next door. Kimpton does a wonderful job of rewarding customer loyalty, too, and that's why I keep coming back!

Try Lincoln for a drink- just across the way on Vermont Ave. And just north on 14th are terrific hip cafes, bars, and restaurants. About a 10 minute walk from Dupont and not too far from red, orange, and blue metro lines. Thomas Circle is pretty, quiet at night but close enough to busy areas if you're interested.

Only bummer is that the pool closes when the bar opens...it would be nice to have the option to swim after 5pm.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

Good location, great rooftop pool and bar. Perhaps not our style, a little too modern for us.
Great personal touches; tea a d coffee in the lobby in the morning and wine in the evening.
There is no spa, hence the low rating for that. Great pool, though could do with shade cover in the hot months.

Room Tip: Unless you like to party, don't have a room on the me floor as the rooftop bar.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Manager at The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, August 3, 2012
Hello Perth0990,

You nailed it! We love hip travelers, the Kimpton Traveler!

We like to think that the Donovan House has something for everyone, like all Kimpton Hotels. From our Evening Hosted Manager's Reception to the Rooftop Pool, and not to forget our slamin' restaurant Zentan, which features Inspired Asian Cuisine. Glad you enjoyed!

Hope to have you back soon,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
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Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

I hesitate to write this positive review, since I think the low Trip Advisor score is helping to keep rates lower at this Kimpton, but the staff deserve it. On previous DC trips I was a regular at the Palomar Arlington (now closed). Based on other reviews, I was worried about the Donovan House, but in the end I was pleased with my visit and plan to stay again in future.

My favorite things about Kimpton hotels are:
1) Great service. Donovan House completely lived up to the Kimpton standard during my visit. This despite some deliberate attitude and semi-unreasonable requests on my part, just to check them out. The concierge on duty (Clay) was particularly helpful with walking and Metro directions.

2) Clean and clean-smelling. I have never stayed at a Kimpton that smelled musty. They always smell fresh. I understand the disappointment of the reviewers who could smell stale smoke, but I can say that the 7th floor does not have this problem. It smelled fresh. I do think that Donovan House was slightly below the Kimpton average for cleanliness/maintenance issues, but they still beat my average non-Kimpton DC cleanliness experience, and believe they are working to improve.

3) The beds. The bed was comfortable, with the comforter between two nice clean sheets, just the way I like it. Perhaps a bit low to the ground for someone elderly, but fine for anyone who is not mobility compromised.

4) Not a cookie-cutter hotel. I like that Kimptons don't look like every generic hotel, and I like that they differ from each other. I thought the decor was different, but fun.

Bottom-line: If you want a cookie-cutter, go to a cookie-cutter. If you want something different, including a great attitude toward service, try the Donovan House.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Manager at The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, August 3, 2012
Hello ImALightSleeper,

Thanks so much for this thoughtful review!

We are trying our VERY hardest to improve our rating on TripAdvisor. Thanks to reviews like yours, we should be well on our way. I also appreciate the note about Clay, he's one of our very best Guest Service team members. The Donovan House is certainly not "cookie cutter" and is a great addition to the Kimpton DC scene!

Cheers,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2012

Donovan House has a great location, and the staff is incredible. The rooms are very comforable and done in a clean, contemporary design. I will be staying here for all of my future trips in DC. And if you are lucky enough to go in the summer, the pool and deck are not to be missed.

  • Stayed July 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Manager at The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, August 3, 2012
Hello SJSloan1,

Thanks for your review!

So glad you had a great second stay with us. The Rooftop is a can't miss! Exclusive Guest Pool Hours during the day and transition to a Rooftop Bar in the evening's for guests and the public.

See you next time,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrenton, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2012

We spent three nights, the staff was extremely nice and courteous. Our room was perfect, quaint and quiet! The roof top pool and bar were awesome too!

The $42 a night parking is a little steep but not much you can do about that, just budget it. We just walk or take a taxi wherever we go anyway which you may have to pay to park anyway?

Overall we just loved the location, decor and everything about our stay. Will come again!!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Abe L, Manager at The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, July 31, 2012
Hi Ray L,

Very nice review indeed!

Thanks for your note about the staff. They always treat our guests so well. I agree, the Rooftop Pool is great and when it turns into a Bar in the evening hours, it's a nice change of scenery. Your question about parking: the $42 Valet Rate does include free in and out service, so you can come and go as you please.

Cheers,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2012

My first stay at a Kimpton property was on a Friday, for a business trip in DC. I booked a room at Donovan House with 2 criteria in mind: location, and value. The location of the hotel was convenient, as it was near the National Mall and government offices but also within 1 mile of several other points of interest. I based value on the overall perks-to-cost ratio. It's not scientific, but based on the feeling of, "did I get a good deal?"
The first impressiom of the services was upon entering the parking garage. Valet parking is available on-location, but for the steep price of $42/day. They may have mentioned that detail on the website, but I still think the Kimpton management could negotiate a better contract or reduce the overhead fee. Parking for one night added an extra 25% to my overall cost. The lobby is crisp and decorated in modern style/color scheme with unique lucite bubble chairs. The decor didn't have much of an effect on my mood, since the mod furniture and walls were predominately upholstered in aubergine and burgundy shades of vinyl. I guess it just wasn't my taste, though the eye catching details could be perceived as young and fresh.
Upon check-in at 4:45 pm, the friendly receptionist informed me that my room was not ready due to cleaning (?!) but that I could be upgraded to a suite. Softening the blow was the fact that I had arrived just before wine hour, which, according to my research is a standard Kimpton perk. Sweet. After pushing my way past a bellhop carriage stacked with supply boxes, I waited for the elevator in the narrow corridor. On the 12th floor, my spacious suite greeted me with the stale smell of cigarette smoke-as though it had formerly been a smoking room (though Kimpton properties are smoke-free as the room placard informed me, this hotel recently changed management). The area rug that overlayed the carpeting was askew. This wasnt necessarily a sign of uncleanliness but probably that nobody checked the room before my arrival. The rest of the room was exceptional: crisp Sferra linens on the bed and duvet, a clean bathroom with a large soaking tub and designer shower that were consistent with the other elements. After a quiet and comfortable night's rest, I took advantage of the complimentary coffee bar in the lobby. The brew was exceptional-was encouraged to take a second cup to-go, as well as a bottle of water. Detail-oriented hospitality was top-notch, and I have no doubt that the staff would go out of their way to assist any guest. Due to time constraints, I wasn't able to enjoy the rooftop pool and bar that are features of the property. Overall rating: 8/10. Be sure to check AAA and government rates if you qualify.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Manager at The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, July 31, 2012
Hello C-tourism,

Thanks for your review!

I always enjoy detailed and thoughtful reviews about our Hotel. I truly appreciate them. Seemed like you enjoyed many of the Amenities and Programs that makes a Kimpton Hotel. I am sorry that your room was delayed upon arrival. I also wanted to shed a little more light on our Valet Parking Rates. When setting the Rates, we take a look at our Local Area and competitively price our rates.

Hopefully well have you stay again,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel

Address: 1155 14th Street, N.W., Washington DC, DC 20005
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Upper Northwest
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Green Hotel in Washington DC
#23 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#27 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#34 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
#53 Family Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Donovan - A Kimpton Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 193
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Donovan Hotel a Thompson
Donovan House Washington Dc

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