First, let me set the framework for this contribution. This review represents my composite opinion of this hotel after 6 stays spanning a time period from 2/08 through early 9/08. Two of those stays were for 2 nights, one stay was for 3 nights, and the remaining stays were for 1 night each. The most recent stay in early 9/08 was only for a single night. I used this hotel as a place to stay during a consulting engagement with a client in DC that required above average travel to that city for onsite work. That engagement is now winding up, so I thought I would take this opportunity to provide readers with a composite review of the hotel that is based on multiple stays, of varying lengths, spaced over a seven month period. I've not encountered many such reviews on TripAdvisor. Maybe starting a trend, I'm hoping that this type of contribution will be useful to business travelers making multiple trips to the DC area who want to select a "base hotel" for their trips. Other travelers should also be able to benefit from this type of contribution because it will give the reader a sense of what they can expect based on a total experience spanning 6 separate stays - not the "standard fare" type of TripAdvisor review that is written based on a single stay. So, that said, let's begin.
The hotel is in Arlington, Virginia, and is the Holiday Inn that chain associates with Reagan National Airport and Crystal City. Located on Jefferson Davis Highway (US 1), the hotel lies about 3/4 mile west of Reagan National Airport and 1/2 mile south of the Crystal City area. The hotel provides free shuttle service to and from National Airport. Shuttle pick-up is located at several locations just off the baggage claim area at National. I used the pick-up point just outside door #9. There is a kiosk area located immediately to the left of this door that provides a direct phone connection to the hotel to request shuttle pick-up. Shuttle service from the hotel to the airport is provided on scheduled basis. You can inquire with the front desk when the next shuttle will be leaving. While it is possible to walk to and from National Airport, doing so is akin to negotiating a maze - and certainly not something that is recommended if you are dragging a bag or two. Taxi service to and from the airport/hotel costs about $6 each way plus tip and any multiple passenger/bag charges.
Assuming you are not going to use a car, travel into DC from the hotel can be done by taxi, use of the DC metro system, or by public bus. Taxi service into central DC will cost between $15 - $20 depending in traffic. National Airport and Crystal City both have metro stations served by the Blue and Yellow lines. Going northward, the Blue line serves Arlington Cemetary, looping eastward across the Potomac to serve GWU, the Federal Triangle, main Smithsonian museum, and the southern portion of Capitol Hill. The Yellow line crosses the Potomac and proceeds northward serving L'Enfant Plaza, China Town, and terminates at the Convention Center. Both lines serve the Pentagon. Going southward, both lines serve Alexandria via the King Street station, before they branch off into the suburbs. In effect, the hotel's shuttle service to National Airport also does double duty as a shuttle to the metro via the Airport station. Guests can also walk north to the metro station at Crystal City. The walking distance is about 5 blocks and takes about 20-25 mintues. Though there is a bus stop located near the hotel, I would recommend guests walk to the Crystal City metro station because it also doubles as a hub for multiple bus lines.
The hotel's lobby is fairly small. The front desk is located directly opposite the elevators and is at the far end of the lobby. I have always found the check-in and check-out process to be promptly and efficiently handled by the staff. Members of Holiday Inn's Priority Club are usually provided with a coupon for free breakfast, a $5 discount coupon good in the hotel's bar/grill, a morning copy of USA Today, extended check-out time (2 PM), and depending on capacity, an occasional free room upgrade. Joining Priority Club is entirely free and worthwhile given the perks you can get.
On each stay I booked a room with a single King sized bed. In deference to a compliment posted to my profile asking that I comment of mattress comfort in my contribtuions, on each stay I found the bed adequately, but not overly, firm. Though I prefer a soft mattress, I was not bothered. Likewise, I do not think those guests wanting a firm mattress will have cause for complaint - though ultimately this is all very subjective. Beds in some rooms will also come with a large selection of pillows. On each of my stays, the room also contained at high back chair with a foot rest, and a swivel chair at a work space area. Complimentary high speed internet connection is provided in each room. The cable service connected to the TV offers a very good variety of channels.
The bathroom area is fairly standard for this class of hotel. The vanity is single basin and complimentary toiletry amenities are good in both variety and quantity. A hair dryer is provided. Bathing is done in a standard tub/shower combination. Water pressure and temperature were fine and responsive on each stay. Towels were always very fresh and abundant.
Drawer space for clothing is ample. The hanging area in the closet, can be cramped, however, by the presence of the ironing board and iron.
I found the work/desk area in the room during each stay to be above average in size. The desk phone is equipped with two lines, hold, and speaker phone capability. In addition to the normal DC area guide books, the guest information book also included a very good selection of menus from both the onsite and off-site local eateries - including establishments that delivered.
Two dining options are located onsite in the hotel - the National Road Diner, and O'Malley's Pub. Breakfast is normally served in the Diner from 6:30 AM through 10:00 AM - though on one occasion I saw service start at 6:00 AM. Options include an ala carte menu or a buffet. The buffet will include scrambled egg, sausage, bacon, potato, biscut and gravy, yogurts, fruit, pastries/muffins/bagels, toast, juice/milk/coffee/tea, and a self-serve waffle machine with syrup. Omlets, pancakes, eggs other than scrambled, etc., need to be ordered via the ala carte menu. Seating options in the Diner include booth, table, and, in keeping with its 1950's National Road motif, counter swivel stools.
Dinner and bar drinks are available at O'Malley's Pub. The food fare is fairly typical pub grub - burgers, pizza, fish and chips, wings, etc. The Pub is not open for breakfast. Because I was never present during lunch hours, I cannot offer comment on the onsite lunch options. Room service is provided by the Pub's kitchen
About 15 mintues walking distance north of the hotel is 23rd Sreet. 23rd Steet is the home of a large number of eateries with a very diverse cross-sections of cuisines (Bulgarian anyone?). A personal favorite of mine, and the locals, is the Pakistinian eatery - Kabob Palace. The Palace lies just south of 23rd Street and has both a sit-down establishment and a take away establishment tucked in behind a 7-11. The take-away place has great curries and freshly baked naan bread to die for. Believe it or not, the Palace also has a Zagat rating. If fast food is your desire, there is a very large McDonald's located adjacent to the hotel. Using information contained in the guest information book found in your room, you can also order food delivered to the hotel. If pizza is your choice, allow me to recommend the white pizza from Mom's Pizza Restaraunt. Finally, a 24 hour CVS Pharmacy is located just north of the hotel and south of 23rd Street - about a 10 minute walk.
Onsite hotel guest amenities include two high speed internet connected computers with printers located in the lobby. These are very handy to use to print things like airline boarding passes and emails. Coin operated laundry machines are also available, and there is a small, but adequately equipped, exercise room for guests. Though there is an outdoor pool located at the hotel, I never saw it in operation during my summer stays, and I suspect that it is closed and no longer in use.
The hotel's proximity to National Airport and the Pentagon make it a favorite of airline flight crews and military personnel. Like them, I found the hotel's proximity to National Airport and the metro system make this an ideal "basing hotel" from which I could conduct my business in DC. Arriving in DC and getting to the hotel was always hassle free, and the convenience of storing my luggage at a site so close to the airport for outbound travel was another strong point for this hotel. Staff service was always courteous, efficient, helpful, and prompt. I found price/value to be above average for this class of hotel. The only negative comment that I might make about the hotel is that it is starting to have a bit of an overall "tired" look in it's common areas. Some remodeling and sprucing up is probably needed in my mind - and that is the only thing that has stopped me from giving this hotel a full 5 stars (I would give it 4.5 stars).
So, in sum, I can recommend this hotel and I will stay here again without hesitation when business brings me back to DC via National Airport.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.