The Embassy Suites Crystal City is nice enough, but it's almost as if they built the hotel not really expecting anyone to show up. Specifically:
Elevators - The property has ~270 guest rooms spread over 11 stories. It only has 3 guest elevators to serve that, only 2 of which are currently in service. It was common to wait 5 minutes or more for an elevator (felt like an eternity), you'd also frequently have to let a stuffed elevator go by. When near full occupancy, forget about getting a luggage cart in the elevator. At one point, I saw a family give up, then wheel their luggage cart to the fire exit stairs to haul their luggage down the stairs. How is that satisfactory? I asked the manager when the out-of-service elevator would be fixed, her response was that at least one would be out of service 'til March and offered to move me to a lower floor. While I appreciated the offer to move, I'm young, healthy and can walk stairs (which I did frequently). Not everyone can. Two elevators for 6+ months isn't even close to adequate or sat. If you need to do major work that impacts the usability of the hotel, you either need to notify prospective guests of the disruption (which they didn't) or do it as part of a major renovation and shut down operations for a while. The elevator situation alone is reason enough to avoid the property until March when they at least have 3 in service.
Manager's reception - when near full occupancy (which it often was), all the tables and seats available for the manager's receptions were full within minutes of the start. If you didn't arrive right at 5:30, forget about a seat. Breakfasts were somewhat better because the restaurant seats are open as well, but even breakfast could be tough to find a seat.
Workout room - only has 2 ellipticals, 3 treadmills and one rowing machine in a room no bigger than a guest room. Again, nowhere near enough when near full occupancy during the busy periods in late afternoon. This contrasts poorly with other properties in the area; for example, one nearby hotel has a newly renovated 1400 sqft fitness room with all new stuff, at least twice the size and quality of the Embassy's.
Laundry - only two washers and two dryers (one set on two floors) for the entire facility. Literally had to wait 'til after midnight one night in order to get my stuff in.
The amenities (elevators, reception, fitness room, laundry) just weren't built for full occupancy. It was hugely frustrating and annoying. I found myself not using them because I didn't want to fight for their use. At times, I literally found myself choosing not to go to the lobby for something I normally would, knowing there was a good chance I'd be fighting crowds and climbing stairs back.
Other nits: I'm a HHonors gold member, I'm accustomed to a nice welcome letter and some snacks already in the room when I arrive. Didn't happen here. They did rectify it quickly when I brought it up, although I'd hope I wouldn't have to. Also had two problems with the room (water all over the carpet from a backed up AC condenser, then later a blown fuse (complete with smoke) from the AC). Again, fixed promptly, but I was very much left with the impression that they are struggling to keep everything together, probably from the always high occupancy.
In short, I felt this property was a victim of their own success. The staff is nice enough, the property is nice enough, but there are just too many problems, generally related to high occupancy. The amenities at the property just aren't sized for the hotel when at capacity, which it almost always was. There's dozens of hotels in Crystal City, there are better options out there. Had this property not been directly across the street from my training class, I would have moved.
I can't argue the value - they wouldn't have the constantly stuffed occupancy if they didn't offer good value - but the realities of dealing with crowds trying to use undersized facilities led to stress and hassle I didn't want or need for my business travel. Better options are out there.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
August 6, 2012
Thank you for the review. I am sorry that you had some challenges during your stay. You are correct, the elevators are going through a modernization project that will require one to be shut down at a time. We wish there was another solution, but there is not. When all three elevators are in use, there typically is no wait time. With only two in use, it can cause some wait times, but that usually is only during the peak times of the early morning or if it is a heavy check in time. Keep in mind, that in July & August most people travel with their families, which increases the number of people needing an elevator. Once Labor Day passes far fewer families come to visit Washington DC so we do not expect there to be wait times for the elevators.
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The Manager's Reception and breakfast are very popular with our guests; of course. We do try to keep up with the crowd and have the tables turned over quickly. I am sorry if you found it difficult to find a table.
The fitness room at the Embassy Suites is on par with other Embassy Suites properties. The hotel that you reference, has 600 guest rooms, which is over twice as many as the Embassy Suites, so it is expected that their fitness room would be larger. While we wish we had more space, the fitness room was recently renovated and truthfully, it is rarely filled to capacity so no machines are available. I do appreciate the suggestion to have a larger one and if the opportunity presents itself, I am sure the owners will act on it.
That is surprising that you had to wait until midnight. The majority of our guests (as is the same with most hotels) do not use the laundry machines during their visit. At the same hotel I think that you are referencing the large fitness room, there are only 6 laundry machines (3 washers & 3 dryers) for over 600 rooms. We did just invest in new laundry machines that are high tech and allow you to check on line to see if one is available. You can also set it to send you a text when your load of laundry is done so you do not have to wait around. I am sorry they were all being used and again, this is very rare.
We do preblock the rooms for our Hilton Honors members and have the requested amenities delivered to the room prior to check in. I am unsure why this did not occur for you, but it could be for a number of reasons (early check in, suites not ready at check in so we had to change suites, etc). Without knowing your name or room number, I can not specify the reason the amenities were not there prior to your arrival. Whatever the reason, I am sorry it occurred, but glad it was rectified quickly.
No doubt that with the extremely hot weather the a/c units have been running in overdrive. The engineering staff does a tremendous amount of preventative maintenance on them. However, there are times when items break. Just like if something goes wrong at your home and breaks, it does not mean it was due to your inefficiency, the same may apply here. I am sorry you left feeling that the staff was not doing enough to keep up with the occupancy.
I appreciate you mentioning the nice staff and facility, but feel bad that you felt like you wanted to change hotels. We do have a high occupany, but the large majority leave happy and wanting to return. My apologies that his is not the case with you, but I hope you reconsider.
Thank you again for the email and as always I invite anyone reading my responses to contact me anytime.
Happy travels -
Kevin B. Feldman
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.