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“Nice hotel, just needs minor work” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel

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Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1155 14th Street, N.W., Washington DC, DC 20005 (Downtown / Chinatown)   |  
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Ranked #51 of 130 hotels in Washington DC
New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Nice hotel, just needs minor work”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

I was in DC for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology this past weekend, and just left the Donovan House yesterday. Due to the conference, I didn’t spend too much time at the hotel, but did get to use all of their facilities and wanted to share my feedback. As other reviewers have mentioned, their restaurant, Zentan was great; arguably the best sushi I’ve ever had! The rooftop pool and bar are also nice, giving you a nice little oasis overlooking the chaos down on the city streets. My colleagues and I were pretty unanimous, however, that it looks much bigger on the hotel website than in person. And it was empty every time we were there (every night) despite the beautiful weather outdoors…kind of strange. But they do have an amazing wine hour reception in the lobby which was a nice way to unwind and mingle with other guests you otherwise probably wouldn’t talk to.

The rooms are about the size of your average hotel room, although some of my colleagues that frequently stay at Kimpton’s say the rooms are smaller than at the other properties they’ve stayed at. The room was cleaned well enough, but housekeeping forgot to replenish towels and basic toiletries almost daily (seems to be a recurring problem based off what I heard from others at the hotel). Besides that, the only negative thing I can say is that external light creeps in over the top of the shades in the room, so the room is never 100% dark, no matter what time it is (heard the rooms facing the interior don't have this problem, however.) And the Internet is SLOW!

As for the staff, the only person I ever really saw and had contact with was Darryl at the Front Desk. He was clearly sick and congested with a cold, but carried through and assisted me and my colleagues with our millions of questions (and gave genuine answers) which we appreciated. There were several times that there was a line and he was the only person both checking people in and answering the phone, even though you could see several people sitting and joking around in the little office behind the desk. The Concierge Desk is hidden next to the Front Desk, but you can probably save yourself the trouble looking for it as he was never there (Darryl assured me that there actually is a concierge, he was just off. It’s kind of strange that they don’t have a concierge on duty 7 days a week for a hotel located in the heart of the American capital!) Another strange thing I saw was one of the other guys working at the Front Desk actually talking on his cell phone at the desk, and when he saw me, he walked away and carried on his personal conservation over at the Concierge Desk! And from what I heard, it was definitely not work related; very unprofessional!

However, overall, I would give the Donovan House another try and recommend it to others. It was a nice hotel, has nice rooms, and a great restaurant. If the management could just improve those areas that I pointed out (practical shades, proper housekeeping, full staff, etc.) I think this would really be close to a five-star boutique establishment.

Room Tip: I heard the rooms facing the interior of the building were really small, but didn't have the iss...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (179)
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English first
Minneapolis
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

What I loved most about the Donovan was their amazing team! After that, you should know that the rooms have great design--for comfort, cool factor and functionality (which is important for work travelers). I'm a big fan of their complimentary happy hour in the lobby and the pool bar area was a perfect place to shake off the day. I also ate in their restaurant Zenten and would give their food and staff high marks as well.

I travel frequently for work and it's always a treat to stay in a hotel that feels like it's in a neighborhood--good for those who like to walk and run outside for a change. Thomas Circle is abuzz with neighbors and lots of dog walkers.

If you're heading to DC for the tourist spots, you'll either have a bit of a walk or need a cab. I enjoyed being a bit off the main drag since you walk so much that a cab is a nice break.

PS: The funky leopard fuzzy bathrobes were a treat!

Room Tip: Ask to be high up so you get a better city view and less street traffic noise.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 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
    • 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 Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, September 11, 2012
Hi there Harken,

Thanks so much for your review!

As you mentioned, it takes more than one thing to deliver an awesome Hotel Experience. The most important in my opinion are the people that work at the Hotel. You seemed to agree!

Hope you come back soon,
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.
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

I can not thank the staff (Mark and Cleopatra) for all the wonderful extra touches to make my husbands birthday extra special last weekend! We had a rough start but the staff was able to turn it around! I give them a 110% Thanks again and we will definately be seeing you soon. Kirsten Newman-Teissier and Nat Teissier.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Abe L, Manager at Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, September 11, 2012
What's up Kirsten L?

Seems like Cleopatra and Mark are what's up!

I appreciate you writing the kind review about your stay. While experiencing some turbulence upon landing, seems like we were able to right the ship ultimately leading to a great time. Let me know when you come back so I can personally take care of your stay.

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.
Dripping Springs, Texas, United States
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

Stayed in DC for a conference and chose this hotel rather than the conference site . . . what a great move! The room was perfectly comfortable for one or two, super comfy bed and plenty of closet and drawer space for clothes. Really nice soaps and toiletries, and a hair dryer that actually WORKED! Amazing! The best feature, however, was the walk-in shower that physically stood in the middle of the room inside an opaque cylindrical structure. Totally fun. My only complaint is that the robes and towels smelled very faintly of hospital antiseptic - never had that happen before. And when I ordered room service, they neglected to inform me of the size of the portions, which ended up in me way over-ordering. Nevertheless, it's a great location and I would return again for sure!

Room Tip: I enjoyed overlooking Thomas Circle, tho there really were a lot of Night lights so if you need dark...
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  • Stayed August 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Manager at Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, September 11, 2012
Hello KLangsley,

Appreciate you posting a review!

The showers ARE indeed pretty cool. Sorry to hear about the issue with our towels, which was very surprising to me! Like all Kimpton's, we use only EcoFriendly Cleaning products and practices, which always means a pretty "fresh" stay. I'll look into it and also check on the InRoom Dining suggestions.

Come back soon,
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.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

The rooms were a good size and the bathrooms use great soaps and the location is superb. This hotel would be ideal as a city break for solo travelers or a young couple--not for long term business travel.

The street lights from outside shine through the room as the curtains do not extend far enough to block the light.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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 Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, September 7, 2012
Hello carnaj2011,

Thank you so much for posting your review.

Seems like you had a great time with us, but unfortunately may not have been specifically your cup of tea. I appreciate the feedback as we are taking steps to ensure that we are appealing to all. Also, wanted to let you know that we are addressing the street light issue with our curtains. A permanent fix should be coming very soon.

Many Thanks,

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.
New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

The Kimpton Hotels never let my husband and I down. Each hotel is stylish, hip and unique in its own way. While every Kimpton hotel that we have been to offers impeccable customer service, Donovan House is hands-down the best that we have experienced thus far. I would like to say that Janina, Mark and Sean especially made our trip fantastic. They were extremely helpful and were genuinely invested in making sure that everything was perfect for both of us, as well as our mini-daschund Oscar! I felt like they took the time to chat with us as long-time friends, rather than a customer. The hotel itself is right up our alley with the funky decor, complimentary wine hour, and yet again, another AMAZING Kimpton restaurant- Zentan, adjacent to the lobby. I would absolutely return to this hotel and fully recommend staying there if you have not already.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Manager at Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, September 11, 2012
Hi NewYorkGina,

Best ever??? Yes you are!

Thanks so much for posting this first hand account of your stay! You certainly encountered some of our very best in Janina, Mark and Sean. Glad Oscar had a woofin' good time too!

See you soon,
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.
Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

We really enjoyed this hotel. The front desk staff were excellent. We were able to enjoy the rooftop pool and the bartender was fabulous! We stayed there with a group of friends to enjoy an evening out in D.C. I loved the look of the hotel and location. It is definitely not your typical hotel. It is very retro! We will definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Manager at Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Hello MNT0429,

Thanks so much for your review!

Glad you got a chance to experience our rooftop. Great views, pool and awesome bar service is what you get. I will pass along a good work to the team at the Front Desk as well.

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.
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Additional Information about Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel

Address: 1155 14th Street, N.W., Washington DC, DC 20005
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Downtown / Chinatown , Penn Quarter
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:
#23 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#38 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#42 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
#74 Family Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel 4*
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Also Known As:
Donovan Hotel a Thompson
Donovan House Washington Dc

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