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“Disappointing. Frayed carpet. Clogged sink. Indifferent staff.” 2 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
michigan
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Disappointing. Frayed carpet. Clogged sink. Indifferent staff.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

I really wanted to like this hotel. After three days at another DC hotel, I thought I'd try this one to see if it might work later for a romantic trip to DC. Solved that question quickly: answer is definitely a no. There isn't one big thing wrong with this hotel. But a lot of small wrong things that added up to make it a disappointing visit. I came away with a view that the hotel is overpriced and an overall bad taste in my mouth.

The hotel is not in a terrible location - right on Thomas Circle - but it's also not terribly convenient. About a mile away from the nearest metro (Dupont Circle) and on a street that doesn't attract a lot of taxis. Not a big problem, but if you're planning a trip, good to know.

The real problem was the myriad of small things that made this a disappointing trip. It's promoted as kind of an icon of cool hipness but they've seemed to put form over function. The carpet in the room for example, was stained and frayed. Ugg. Not a good first impression. The carpet in the hallways was actually in better shape. The stains though make you wander what's down there and I'd prefer not to have to think about it. They promote their rooms as having a "cocoon shower." That's actually just a small shower with the shower head in the ceiling. Really? Turns out it had to be in the ceiling because the water pressure was so weak, it needed gravity's help just to make it to the drain. The location and lack of pressure then simply makes it hard to wash and rinse. By itself a big deal? Not really. I've had crappy showers all over the world but it was just one more thing. Then the bathroom sink was clogged, water building up as I'm trying to shave. No coffee pot in the room (man, even the Days Inns of the world get this right). They did have coffee in the lobby but it was out when I went to get some at 7:30. When it finally arrived I got a cup and a newspaper but then couldn't find a place to read it. The lights in the lobby were too dim. I literally couldn't read the words without finding on mediocre bulb and moving the paper around under it as I read. The coolness factor they were going for just got in the way of my having an enjoyable coffee and paper experience and you have to ask yourself if this is what they intended. My next-to-last frustration - tho certainly not my biggest - was the furniture. I'm 5-9 and felt like I was too tall for everything in the hotel. Did they buy furniture from a hobbit? Every seat in the lobby, the one chair in my room and even the bed were so low to the floor that it was uncomfortable. A problem for anyone under 30? Probably not. But over 50? It might be a problem. The bed I thought was especially low.

As I said, individually none of these things were a big deal. I've certainly had worse experiences. The real kicker though was when I went to check out. At the end of the day, whether you had a good experience or not, you'd like to think that the hard-earned money you chose to spend was appreciated. After all, I could have spent my cash anywhere in the city. Alas, the coolness factor of the hotel must restrain the staff from saying anything like "thanks for staying here" or "how was your stay?" or "did you have a great time?" or even a "have a great day." I got a glare and sigh when I asked for my bill to be printed; it was handed to me without comment. Ahh - just the right touch to push a three-star rating to a two-star. Keep in mind I hadn't given them any feedback yet - not even about the clogged sink - and wasn't given an opportunity to. So the next guest will have the same clogged sink I had. Nice. I'm fully aware that any of these - individually - seem nitpicky. But we don't experience hotels or restaurants in a microcosm of individual experiences. We experience them holistically and the overall impression I got was not positive. I call them as I see them. Have given $60 hotels five-star ratings because they try and they deliver value. And I've given mom-and-pop restaurants nice marks for showing some real customer service and creativity. This hotel needs to remember who pays the bills and ask themselves what that customer needs. Here's a hint: It's not an oversold "cocoon shower" w/no water pressure, stained and frayed carpet, uncomfortable furniture and an indifferent staff.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, March 25, 2013
Hi michigantraveler05,

Thank you so much for your review and feedback.

Wow, I am shocked at your experience in our Hotel. As mentioned in many other reviews, our staff is excellent thus my surprised response. Nevertheless, I am very appreciative of this feedback and hope to learn more about your stay. The part that resonates most with me was your check out experience. Is it possible you could contact me at Abe.liao@donovanhousehotel.com? Like I said, would love to know more so I can take corrective action for future guests.

Hope to hear from you soon,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
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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 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
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

My girlfriend (with the help of my cousin) surprised me with a weekend in DC for my 30th. Before we departed, I did much research and where to go and where we are staying. I read a lot of previous reviews on the Donovan House and was excited to see what DC and the hotel was all about. I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised. From the door staff to the room itself, it was great all around. This place has a very modern, fresh vibe. Very inviting. The lobby always has some refreshments on tap , be it cucumber water in the morning or a wine tasting in the evening with hors d'oeuvres. Top notch all around. The close proximity to major attractions and museums was a huge plus too. Bottom line we were very impressed and had a wonderful stay. Highly recommend the Donovan House and most certainly will be back when I return to DC.

  • Stayed March 2013, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abe L, Assistant General Manager at Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Hello AndrewJZ,

Thanks for your review.

Congrats on being 30! You made it! Very happy that you decided to celebrate this milestone with us. Why don't we make 31 a date?

Cheers,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013 via mobile

I stayed for my birthday weekend. From the moment I arrived I was treated like a princess. The valet promptly took my car and check-in was quick and easy. As soon as the staff realized it was my birthday the round of genuine 'happy birthdays' started.

I went up to my beautiful king suite and found the current issue of Vogue as well as a local style mag Capitol File. The room was impeccably clean and well-appointed. The style is modern but still comfortable. About twenty minutes after I arrived there was a knock at the door and Samson the bellman came in with a complimentary bottle of wine, sparkling water, a plate of chocolate chip cookies, and a birthday card signed by various members of the staff. It was so sweet and thoughtful.

That set the tone of the entirety of my stay. Everyone was helpful, friendly, and efficient.

Also the sushi bar at Zentan is fantastic

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Abe L, Manager at Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
Hi JelitaJane,

Thank you for review.

First off, Happy Birthday! Thanks for celebrating with us. Seems like you had awesome experiences with our Hotel, but I am most especially pleased with the comments about our team. Hope to have you back soon.

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.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

It had been a while since I last stayed at a Kimpton property so while I was expecting an older hotel and knew about the free "wine hour" I wasn't sure what to expect for this property. The location is actually very good, just being about a 7-10 minute walk from the nearest Metro stop (yes, it's safe at night) and next to a picturesque monument/square across the street.

The check-in staff was friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming (I think his name was Aaron??). This is the way that hotel check-in's should be where they point out where the elevators are and give you other important information. My room faced the back street (not 14th street) and I had a nice view of the monument from the large pane windows but didn't hear too much street noise. The room was 70's funky but in a nice more modern way. The bathroom, while not large was clean and functional----one note, if you're sharing a room with a friend you don't know too well the showers here have an opaque curved wall that faces into the room. You can't see the person but you probably can see the outline/shadow so be aware of this.

The bed was very comfortable and while there was plastic furniture around I didn't feel that it came across as cheap or worn. The mini-bar had a nice array of snacks and wasn't way overpriced like most hotels (at $4 for a small bottle of water it's not cheap either!). I was able to walk around to different sites and neighborhoods both at night and in the day without any difficulty. There are a number of bars down the street (south) of the hotel but most of the restaurants directly nearby seemed as if they catered to the office crowd (breakfast/lunch). I didn't get a chance to try the hotel restaurant but there was a wait most times to get in and most people seemed satisfied when coming out.

All in all, this is a wonderful surprise of a hotel and I would recommend it even though it's not close to the major sites if you are okay with walking (the White House was about a 15-20 min walk away) or taking cabs.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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 Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
HI Manico,

Thanks for your review.

I appreciate the detailed comments about your stay. Seems like an awesome experience with our staff and Hotel. Looking forward to your next review!

Cheers,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
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Philadelphia, PA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

We stayed at the Donovan House for a friends wedding and we loved it! This is a modern hotel that's very up-to-date with fun amenities (zebra and cheetah print robes anyone??). The shower is a cocoon style and the bathroom is enormous. The room had a comfortable king size bed and the windows were floor to ceiling.

They offer free wine in the lobby in the afternoons and in the morning there is free tea, coffe and hot chocolate...complete with marshmallows!

They are super pet friendly and will take dogs of all sizes. While we left our fur-baby at home, I heard that any dog checking in will get a welcome bag with a bone in it!

One downside: the parking is expensive...$42 a night! I suppose this is standard for downtown D.C. though and I wont hold it against them.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
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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, March 22, 2013
Hi caracbeara,

Thanks for your review!

You're right, we're 100% pet friendly! You got a chance to experience some of the very best that Kimpton has to offer. One note in regards to parking, I agree it can be pretty high, but we do set our prices based on our neighboring Hotels. Unfortunately, parking space is rare in DC, much less any downtown hotel.

Cheers,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager
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Rancho Mirage, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

A very nice hotel, great location and good service. Rooms seem a bit tired and would expect the price range for DC to be more like $150-$200. Anything above $200 and you will feel the price to the quality of the rooms is not in line. My only complaint would be the black out drapes do not keep the light out. So if you need a dark room to sleep, skip this one. Beds are ok, but at $300 I expected more plush and more comfortable. Shower has an overhead (in ceiling) shower head with low pressure. Large bathroom sink, but no way to fill the basin for shaving as the drain does not close. Restaurant is great and of course the lobby is nice. My first room was on the second floor with all the meeting space and fitness room etc. I moved to the tenth floor and would suggest a higher floor and non-connecting if you are going to this hotel. Walls are a bit thin, and noise will bleed over more in a connecting room.

Great location and great staff. hope this helps.

Room Tip: Higher floor, non-connecting
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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 Donovan House - A Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
Hi psresortlife,

Thanks for your review.

After reading your comments, I am very pleased to share that we are in the process of planning a major rooms renovation at the end of this year. We are working diligently to address many of the issues you stated in your review. If you have any other concerns that you would like to share, please contact me at Abe.liao@donovanhousehotel.com.

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.
rowboatbeauty
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Nice room, clean, comfy bed, no complaints there but this is a serious one! We were there in the summer and there was a constant influx of people who used the pool, evidentally paid a day fee. It was jammed with people swimming, or rather couples standing around drinking and making out. I could not find a lounge chair, even going up when the pool just opened. Hotel staff offered to drive me to another hotel!? Weird. Sun and alcohol, bar on roof too, not a good mix. People were noisy, drunk until all hours of the night and constantly using patron's elevator, mainly because there are only two.
Called Kimpton and got the cold shoulder routine, not even an apology. If you like this sort of stuff great, it's just that the hotel doesn't advertise this and you should be warned. Other than that, nice location near a Metra and as I said nice beds, too.

Room Tip: Perhaps there would be less elevator activity for you if you stayed on a lower floor?
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
    • 2 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, March 22, 2013
Hi rowboatbeauty,

Thanks for your review on TripAdvisor.

Gosh, this is the first I'm hearing about these issues. We are very familiar with the issue regarding locals accessing the pool area last summer. We have a plan in place to address this issue for the coming pool season. I agree, not the best atmosphere for our paying Hotel guests. We actually do not offer passes for purchase. I am very sorry that no one followed up with you from Kimpton. Might you be able to contact me at Abe.liao@donovanhousehotel.com?

Let me know,
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
#44 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
#73 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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