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“Nice grounds, bad hotel” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Bolger Center

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Bolger Center
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   9600 Newbridge Drive, Potomac, MD 20854   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Potomac
Chicago
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Nice grounds, bad hotel”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2008

This hotel is touted as a "business center", but it's anything but. It was apparently used originally as a training site for postal workers and now they're trying to pass it off as a business meeting center, but there are several shortcomings - no safes for laptops, no shuttles to/from the airport (other than very expensive limos), no gift shop, very small rooms and showers, and so on. Most amazing, they had no air conditioning even though it was 80 degrees during my stay. Their infrastructure is so old they can only have the heat OR the air conditioning on at any given time, so they don't turn on the A/C until May. Add a really bad shower, broken vending machines, ripped wall coverings, stained carpets, and front desk staff that could barely speak English, and you can see why I'll never stay there again. You shouldn't either!

  • Liked — Grounds are nice
  • Disliked — Just about everything else
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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279 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New Market, Maryland
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2008

I stayed at the Bolger Center as a meeting presenter. The meeting services were fantastic and as a result my presentation went very smoothly. I liked the refreshment set ups, the meeting support staff were proactive and helpful, the room was well lit and there were independent temperature controls, and the AV equipment functioned perfectly. AV Support was prompt and helpful when needed.

The food in the dining room was varied and included lighter alternatives. The coffee was Starbucks in the dining room and quite good at the refreshment stations. I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the site and was pleased with all three. The dining room staff was very pleasant and extremely courteous and welcoming.

Despite the fact that the Bolger Center is in a suburban location the rooms are smaller, "city-sized" spaces more likely found in large urban areas like Manhattan or Chicago. This may be because the Bolger Center seems first and foremost a Postal Service training facility and is therefore several shades this side of luxurious. The bed was comfortable, the towels were thick and fluffy, and it was quiet and clean. As far as I am concerned, that is all I ask for in a business hotel.

Business support was unfortunately very lacking which is a very serious handicap in a conference and training environment. I was not able to use the room-based WiFi at any time during my stay. Repeated calls to the front desk went unanswered. No one ever picked up the telephone.

I mentioned the problem to the front desk when I checked out (reception was in another building and I just didn't have time to go down there to complain) and found that it appeared there was supposed to be some sort of router box in the room that was missing. There were no instructions on using the wireless Internet connectivity in the guest book or anywhere else. There was only a single mention that it existed.

There was also a room, unmarked, on the main level where three computers were set aside for nonPostal service guests (Postal Service attendees have another room with secure access); however only two of the computers had mice.

  • Liked — Restaurant services were varied and good quality
  • Disliked — Internet connectivity and front desk responsiveness rivaled each other for dead awful
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2008

My husband and I looked for a place to stay outside of DC on very short notice,and this seemed to be the best pick for us given the limited options. We paid extra and booked a suite. The suite was very comfortably sized: the living room had a small table to sit at as well as the desk, the sofa had a pull out bed if you have more people, and the mini fridge was very ample for space. There was also a nice sized balcony off the living room with two chairs, a table and a chaise.

We were very happy with our stay. The staff was gracious and friendly, even with a mix-up when checking in. The room was clean and comfortable. The area was very safe -- we have a brand new car and never worried at all about leaving it unattended. Parking could be a little tricky but we personally never had a problem -- I saw other guests having to park pretty far away or illegally park due to lack of nearby spaces though.

The area is spread out and rather secluded. The dining hall is in a separate building, as well as guest services and the bar. There is no metro station in Potomac, and the complimentary hotel shuttle to the local mall and bethesda metro didn't run between 8 am and 5 pm during the week.

Given where it is located and how little there is around it, a little more flexibility with the dining hall and shuttle hours would be nice. It really only affected us the first day after we arrived late the night before. Provided we had our own way to get around again if necessary, I would happily stay there again.

Stayed March 2008
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Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2008

My room was comparable to one inside an airport: full-size (not queen) bed occupied about half the square footage of the room. Bathroom also small, with shelf near shoulder height intruding into space above toilet.

Front desk was occupied by one person who was also apparently answering the phone. When I needed her (at 8:30 AM) she was giving detailed driving directions to a customer and there was no one else to help me. My bill was about halfway under my door in the morning, allowing any passers-by in the hallway to read personal information about me. In all, very unprofessional.

On top of this, the price (a government rate of $265 including meals) would be average for a large room in a nice hotel in a more convenient location.


In all, there's no way I would ever visit this place again.

  • Stayed January 2008, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Braggtown, NC
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2007

Finding this property at night was tricky for us first-time visitors. I'd lived six years in Montgomery County, MD (but not in Potomac), but never realized that this conference center existed.

We probably bothered some of the mansioners living down the street on which the Bolger claims as its proper address. This entrance was rather low key and easy to miss the first pass by (we later learned that despite being the street address, this is not the main entrance). Better signage would be helpful, but I suppose the Bolger is not trying too hard to publicize its existence.

We were only there for a brief overnight stay (breaking up our trip from NC to Philly), so we didn't need to find our way around the substantial property...only to our room. Getting to our room proved nearly as maze-like as finding the conference center itself. And transporting our luggage from our car space to the room was challenging, especially at night.

As others have posted, the room in which we stayed was small, indeed like a dorm room (but much nicer than mine of some two decades ago), and clean. When I checked in, a man was demanding a larger room and expressing incredulity at the small rooms (apparently he'd not read Trip Advisor first).

While a bit cramped, the space was used efficiently enough, with a full-sized bed, work station/desk, television, closet and bath. The bed seemed to be a Tempur-pedic (although I didn't check for tags). Instructions for accessing the in-room Internet would also be helpful and our room was without "white" pages (only yellow pages). The shower offered terrific water pressure and appealing (not overpowering) Bath & Bodyworks brand bath accessories.

The price, for the DC area, was quite fair ($84/night, plus tax) and the grounds and amenities would certainly inspire a great weekend for singles and couples and no more than one small child. This lodging offers low frills accommodations in a high frills setting.

  • Liked — shower, price, location, property
  • Disliked — tiny rooms, difficulty in getting luggage to room
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, MN
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2006

ATM was broken, room was smaller than 90% of dorm rooms in college, there is nothing close other than a mall with nothing in it and there was no choice for food if you didn't want what was in the cafeteria.

The food was pretty good, the classroom facilities were good, the soda and coffee and snacks during business hours was great. The bar had a DJ night, Karaoke night, and some nice games to play (pool, table tennis, air hockey), but the air hockey game was broken.

You can control the temp in your room for the most part, they have the heat or the AC on, you control how much comes out of the vents if any.

There should be a store with some entertainment food and drink items for after business hours.

  • Disliked — Room size/comfort, no wireless internet in rooms, hot water didn't work one day
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
169 reviews 169 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2006

Very nice center, usually used for training groups, however, the general public may stay here as well. The standard rooms are very small, almost smaller than dorm rooms. Landscaping and grounds are absolutely gorgeous... maintained like a botanical garden almost! Good service and friendly staff. Just keep in mind the small room you'll be going back to each evening.

Stayed May 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bolger Center

Address: 9600 Newbridge Drive, Potomac, MD 20854
Location: United States > Maryland > Potomac
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Potomac
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Bolger Center 3*
Number of rooms: 430
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fifteen miles from the White House, the hotel and conference center is close to Reagan National and Dulles International Airports, the exciting nightlife of Bethesda and upscale shopping.The Bolger Center's campus style setting creates an inviting retreat for both the business and leisure traveler. Our friendly staff will exceed your expectations for a peaceful and productive stay. The hotel features beautiful garden views, complimentary parking and complimentary WiFi. For your dining pleasure, the Bolger Center offers Osgood's, a buffet style restaurant and for nightly entertainment, the Pony Express Bar & Grill. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bolger Hotel Potomac
Bolger Center Potomac
Bolger Center Hotel Potomac

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