I visited this property for a three night stay in mid-July. The hotel is still reasonably new. I bunked here in late 2007 and early 2008 when it had just opened. (Also, full disclosure: I am an SPG Gold level guest, and also a Starwood shareholder.)
This was not a perfect stay for me, but I’ll still return. My issues were quite minor, but cumulatively were an annoyance.
First the good: The property was immaculately kept. Bathrooms (both in my room and public ones) were sparkling clean. Sidewalks around the property were also kept clean. The bell staff was hustling and keeping cars in motion at the porte cochere.
The location in Carlyle is excellent, a short walk from the King Street Metro station. They do offer a shuttle service too/from that Metro stop, and the immediate surrounding area.
Although my meetings meant I had dinner out each evening, a couple of us did have drinks in the Westin’s Trademarks bar/restaurant. The service there was crisp and pleasant.
The rooms are standard issue Westin, with a great bed and nicely appointed furniture. Wifi strength was good, and there was also a hardwire option available. The aircon was great, and it chilled my room nicely!
Now, a couple of minor issues. (And, as frequent readers of my postings know, I never post negative comments about a property without first speaking with a hotel manager. In this instance, I have shared my issues directly with the Director of Operations.)
I currently have a minor fracture in my ankle, and am in an airsplint. I had called the Westin a week or so out, and explained that I’d need help. The Manager I spoke to then told me to ring the hotel from the Reagan Airport station, and they’d have a shuttle waiting for me at King Street (two stops from airport). I called the hotel from inside a Metro train, at Reagan. They transferred me to the driver, who told me to call back when I was on the sidewalk at King Street. Sure enough, I was there in 5 minutes, and waited in the 90F+ heat for 15 minutes for the Shuttle to arrive. Bad first impression.
I was given an upgrade to the Club Lounge, and was very surprised to learn that they do not offer beer or wine for sale. The Embassy Suites a block over has a very robust Happy Hour every evening, so this took me aback. The ladies working there were very friendly, but no evening beverages. Also, in the morning, I was disappointed to not find any newspapers in the Lounge… not even USAToday.
Speaking of newspapers, I was surprised that they were so difficult to find. Newspapers were placed in one stack next to the entrance to the restaurant, and they only had USAToday... no WSJ or WashPost. In almost every hotel I stay in in the US (and 95% abroad) newspapers are either delivered to the door, or at the least, to the elevator lobby on each floor. In many hotels, there's more than one choice of paper.
The water pressure in the sink in my bathroom was a victim of a low-flow faucet. I understand the intent, but this was pretty bad.
When I purchased a postcard in the gift shop, the young lady couldn't be bothered to take off her ear plugs or stop her phone call to handle my purchase. I hope I didn't interfere with her call too much...
Then, there was the banner… There is a large banner in the lobby advertising the new SPG Gold Benefits, and Gold Welcome Gift. No one mentioned this to me, nor offered such things to me during my check-in or stay, or check-out.
Finally, when I checked out at 8a, I asked the Front Desk Agent to speak with the Manager on Duty (to share my concerns), and was told that such a person wasn't in yet. I became more specific to ask who was in charge, and he said that person would be in later. I suspect the GM would be a bit surprised to find that the hotel is operating at 8a with no one in charge.
So, for this stay, I had a very mixed Westin experience... I had Westin comfort and cleanliness, that was great. BUT, I experienced a series of small issues which resulted in an overall disappointing stay. I compare this property against the Hilton down the street, the Residence Inn on Duke Street and the Embassy Suites at the Metro, all of which I’ve stayed at.
YES, I will return here… the folks I do business with are in Carlyle and they have a great corporate rate. I’m back in September, so I hope they’ll have addressed some of these items.