My husband and I recently stayed for a week at this hotel for a combo business/pleasure trip. He was attending a conference at a hotel across the street and I was going to wander around DC and the environs via Metro. The location was perfect. For anyone who hasn't been to downtown Bethesda, I can't recommend the area enough for people who like a variety of restaurants in all price ranges and cuisines, not to mention tons of local boutiques as well as a pretty good Barnes and Noble. This hotel was an easy two block walk to the Metro station on the Red Line (with about a 45 minute trip to downtown DC) and this station also served as a bus hub so I was able to use both to get around. The hotel was right off of a main road (Wisconsin Avenue), about 2 miles off of 495. There was a grocery store 3 blocks away with a great selection and reasonable prices as well as a gas station across the street with its own little store. The area was very walkable and we felt safe walking after dark without any concerns. The area is well lit by streetlights and most restaurants are open till at least 9 pm, most much later.
The hotel itself is a little older and I was a little concerned the day we were checking in. We were given a lovely 1 bedroom suite on the eleventh floor (out of 13 floors) and at the time only one elevator was working. I dreaded the thought of both elevators going out, but within a day both were humming along and there were no other problems the rest of our stay.
Residence Inn Suites have a standard style of red and black, modern furnishings, and tasteful decoration that I've always found very appealing. This hotel was no different. Our suite had a smallish kitchen with a full size refrigerator, dorm-sized microwave, small stove, stainless steel kitchen sink, and dishwasher. We only used the microwave and refrigerator during our stay but I assumed all else worked fine. The kitchen was furnished with ample dishes, pots, glasses, utensils, and tableware for a family of four -- even potholders and dish detergent was provided. There was nothing that was missing from a normal kitchen.
The entryway flowed into an open area that served as both dining room, work area and living room with the kitchen situated right off the entryway to one side. Each of these areas was populated by furniture denoting it's expected function: a dining table with two comfortable chairs lit by 2 pendant lights; a desk with a large desk chair and desk lamp; and a chaise, easy chair, coffee table, small dresser with an LCD TV, ottoman and two end tables with table lamps. The furniture was comfortable, in good condition, and suited Residence Inn's style. One thing I love about extended stay hotels is the larger channel choice on TV. This one had CNN, MSNBC, 3 ESPNs, local channels, Weather Channel, History, TNT, Fox News, CNBC and a few others. A pretty decent selection in my opinion.
We had no problem with the wireless Internet access that was provided free and an Ethernet cable was hanging in the closet as a backup. My husband and I each travel with a laptop and often both of us were online at the same time without any issues.
The hotel has 3 levels of underground parking garages and the convenience and security were well worth the $18/day parking charge. Accessibility to the garage is via elevator and you need one of the valet attendants to either bring your car around or take you to your car if you need to retrieve an item. Simply dialing an extension on the hotel phone to request our car had it ready and waiting 10 minutes later when we were ready to leave. Because of the walkability of the neighborhood, easy accessibility to the Metro, and abundance of local stores and restaurants we never moved our car between check-in and check-out. My husband did go down to the car with an attendant to verify the mileage we had done to get to the area and was very pleased with the garage set up. Valet attendants were on-hand at the hotel entrance 7 days a week and we found them all to be helpful and courteous. I'm not sure if you could self-park at the hotel.
Hotel staff at the registration desk were likewise polite, helpful, and understanding of our need to switch from personal to business and back to personal credit cards during the course of our stay. When asked about places in the area to dine, they provided us with a complete map of the downtown Bethesda area showing both restaurants by cuisine and price as well as other hotels in the area.
The bedroom area had a door closing it off from the living room/work area. The bathroom was contained within the bedroom area, though it had it's own door. The bathroom was quite large and could easily accommodate several people in different areas at the same time. It featured a generous vanity counter across the width of the bathroom facing a large mirrored wall with a stylish bathroom sink. Also in the bathroom was the standard commode and a tub/shower combination. All was in good condition, clean and ready to be used.
The bedroom itself was somewhat minimalistic in what it was furnished with but everything that we needed was there. It had a king-sized bed, a nightstand with 3 drawers , a small table on the other side of the bed, a 4 drawer dresser with an LCD TV, and a large closet complete with an iron and ironing board. The bed and pillows were the main thing we were unhappy with, but this is pretty much the same at most hotels we stay at. We tend to like a firm mattress and of course they are rarely firm at hotels. There were ample pillows, which was good because it took at least 2 pillows each to get comfortable. Still whatever minor problems there were it didn't stop us from getting good nights sleep the whole trip.
There was construction of another hotel going on right next door which started each morning at about 7 am. I must be getting good at tuning stuff out because it didn't stop me from going back to sleep when my husband went off to his conference or we were enjoying the vacation part of our trip. And I'm talking loud cranes moving heavy pieces of material from place to place. If that bothers you, stay away from the Residence Inn for a little bit. The other hotel, a Hilton Garden Inn, should be finished next year sometime (I think).
Still the hotel itself was quiet (minus the construction, though this ended by 2 or 3 each day). The hotel had a pleasant lobby, Internet terminals with printers offering a mix of free and pay-per-minute access, several easy chairs and an LCD on a news channel. The main level also had 4 rooms used for conferences and meetings as well as a ballroom on a half-level below the main registration area. The complimentary breakfast was served on the 2nd floor called the gatehouse which offered an area with buffet-style serving including a microwave, toaster and waffle-maker as well as ample dining space. There was also a terrace area adjacent with its own dining tables.
My husband made good use of the fitness center and enjoyed the elliptical machine. The equipment was all in good condition, well maintained, and the fitness center had keycard-controlled access for security. It had several treadmills, free weights, a water dispenser, and 2 elliptical machines and music was playing from either local radio or satellite that was tolerable. When my husband used the facility in the early morning he pretty much was on his own. There was a pool on the 13th floor in an outside area on the roof, but it was already closed by the time of our stay in mid-September. Our first Sunday there it was a heatwave and temperatures were well into the 90s. The pool would have been nice, but who would expect that kind of weather well into September?
We had a great stay and would definitely go back to the hotel again. Of course I did some shopping to kill time when my husband was in his conference so there was more to take home than we had brought. And of course we had much waiting for us to do at home and a 5 hour drive till we got there. So when we packed up we were rushing around and missed a few things. Nothing major or irreplaceable, but since I noticed them as soon as we unpacked that night I though I would check with the hotel about them. Sure enough not only with the housekeeping staff find everything we knew we had left, but several things we had put into a kitchen cabinet and completely forgotten about. I asked if the hotel could send the items back to us and they had no problem with the request. Within two days of first talking to them, the box arrived with everything. It had been shipped overnight at the hotel's expense. That kind of customer service stood out and I let the hotel chain know how much I appreciated it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.