Our family of 4 stayed 5 nights at Highlander in mid-May. We had a rental car which we picked up from Dulles Airport, and the free parking in Highlander together with its close proximity to two metro stations and downtown DC suited our needs since we rode the metro often to visit DC. For those aspects alone, the price was hard to beat. Throw in a free (though simple) breakfast, a clean room to rest after a long day sightseeing, and a safe, convenient neighbourhood, and you have a motel that spells fantastic value for the money!
Our room was located on the top floor of a 3-storey block facing the rear parking lot, which was quiet. However, the absence of an elevator meant hauling our luggage up and down 2 flights of stairs. Our room was basic and clean, equipped with cable TV, a fridge and two double beds (the motel does not have queen-sized beds). Beds were not the most comfortable and the carpet looked a little old and worn but to be expected for a motel at this price point. A simple breakfast comprising juice/coffee/tea, bagels, donuts, bread, some fruit and yogurt was available next to the reception each morning for guests to bring back to their rooms as there wasn't a dedicated breakfast area available.
The GMU-Virginia metro is just 5 minutes walk away but was closed for repairs when we were there. We had to use Clarendon metro, which is slightly further, about 8-10 minutes walk, but passes through more interesting shops in Clarendon town centre - including Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market (with a healthy hot/cold food bar) slightly further up Clarendon Blvd, AT&T and T-Mobile for tourists wishing to pick up local prepaid SIM cards, and a number of eateries. 12 minutes walk in the opposite direction is Ballston Mall with Macy's, a small food court and other shops. Located next to the motel are burger and chicken joints. Washington Mall is just 15 minutes by metro. The whole area felt safe, even at night.
While service could be improved (we were short of towels on 2 different days, while other room keys were accidentally left in our room on another occasion), it's not a deal breaker. If you want to save some money while visiting the museums and sights in DC, stay here (especially you have a car as parking elsewhere in and around DC is expensive). It's by far the best value for money accommodation in a safe, convenient location.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.