I agree with many of the other reviews. A standard Residence Inn experience, which I have found more than passable when traveling with family. I have stayed here on other trips when visiting an office across the street.
For starters, we had a superb customer service experience with Katie at the registration desk. I was delayed 7 hours in another city, and only arrived very late in the evening. I was able to call ahead and let Katie know that my family was arriving on their own, would be there before me, and request help in getting them settled, in spite of the fact that I was the registered guest. Katie was not only professional, courteous and responsive to me, but my wife and children could not stop gushing about how friendly and welcoming "Miss Katie" was when they checked in. She recognized our family throughout our stay and was always friendly. Which was why I didn't want to bother her about the bizarre pool rules, and our personal negative experience.
First, the pool is not open between 10 AM and 4 PM, so if you are traveling with a family and someone in the party is working during the day while others are seeing the sites, don't count on being able to bring the kids back to the pool until after 4. Worse, don't count on them being able to hang in the pool for the day at all between 10 and 4, which is a big selling point of most hotels for our kids.
Second, this pool has a lifeguard. I am platinum elite with Marriott and silver with Hilton, so I travel a lot (it works out to about two nights each week). I have never seen a hotel pool with a lifeguard...until the Residence Inn Old Town Alexandria - Duke Street. Fine. A little different I thought, but how could it hurt. Well, after about 20 minutes of swimming, my son swallowed a mouthful of water and began coughing it up. The lifeguard ran over to attend to him. Given that this is not an uncommon occurence with kids swimming, and given that I was sitting right there, I thought the attention was overkill.
After he "recovered," the lifeguard came over to me and said that unless my son had a flotation device, he could not remain in the pool because "he can't swim." We had a brief discussion about the merits and drawbacks of one another's positions on this matter, until the lifeguard insisted that unless my son passed the "swim test," he could not remain in the pool. I asked what the swim test was, and she said it was swimming from one end of the pool to the other unaided, whcih she had sat and watched him do a dozen or so times in 20 minutes.
Anyway...to make a long story only slightly less boring, I concluded that it was not worth arguing with a kid doing what she thought was her job at a hotel pool, and took the kids back to the room. This was not a cataclysmic event in our lives, but it seemed strange all around. A hotel pool with a swim test? Is this Camp Marriott?
To conclude, Katie was a delight, we didn't want to bother her with this petty disappointment and so we never brought up with anyone. I did email the GM after we left - as his checkout form letter attached to the folio asked that I do - and never heard back. My position is that while it is highly weird that a Residence Inn has a lifeguard, and - evidently - a swim test (which they administer after the swimmer has been in the water for 20 minutes), these are things that are their policy choices. Knowing them now, I will not return to this hotel. But, I do think that it is dishonest for the hotel not to list the pool schedule on the website. We would not have reserved this hotel and would have stayed closer to the tourist action in DC had we known that the kids would not have access to the pool all day. If you are traveling with kids who love swimming in the pool as much as they love the Spy Museum, there are better options in and around DC, including with Marriott.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear OTR-WithTheKids :
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Thank you for your comments...they are all greatly appreciated. We apologize about the confusion with the pool and the lifeguard. The responsibility is ours alone. We are pleased to let you know that your feedback was escalated to our Lifeguard management company...and appropriate changes were immediately made. We are also working with Marriott to address the correct posting of our swim times on the website. The pool hours are posted in the elevators, guest rooms and outside the pool entrance, however we agree that an additional posting on the website is helpful.
We'd also like to thank you for your comments about the staff, particularly Katie. We will make sure to share with her and the team. I apologize about not receiving your email when you departed the hotel. I enjoy receiving emails from the many guests that respond to my letter, and regret that I did not see one from you.
Thank you for staying with us - we hope we have a chance to serve you in the future. If you'd like, I can also be reached at 703-548-5474.
Have a terrific summer,
M Wilson (General Manager)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.