I recently stayed at the DoubleTree Silver Spring for close to a month while I was attending a conference at the nearby AFI Silver Spring Theater. Very fortunately for me, attendees of this conference were eligible for a special negotiated rate. Let me assure you, had I been forced to pay the hotel's advertised rates (available on Expedia or elsewhere for around $210 per weeknight), I would have very quickly turned elsewhere for lodging. Also note that the hotel charges an additional $15/night to park in their garage (valet). While numerous free overnight garages abound in Silver Spring, I would consider parking at the hotel a necessity, as Silver Spring isn't exactly crime-free.
LOCATION: The hotel is situated on Colesville Road (Silver Spring's "Main St.") less than 5 minutes from the Capitol Beltway. It is very easy to walk anywhere in downtown Silver Spring, including the Metro stop, in less than 10 minutes. A very convenient location.
RECEPTION: The lobby has very contemporary decor and features plenty of seating areas and numerous flat-panel TVs for relaxing when waiting to check-in/check-out. I found the reception desk to be adequately staffed most of the time. Two banks of elevators are available to quickly usher guests to their rooms. Elevators were quick; I never had to wait more than a couple minutes. The restaurant and bar and contiguous with the lobby. While I never tried the food or sat at the bar, both areas seemed to fill up and become fairly lively during the evening hours.
My only gripe with the reception/lobby area pertains to what I consider a mildly significant design flaw. The hotel has 2 entrances: one streetside entrance which faces Colesville Road, and another side entrance which enters from the parking garage. If you are parking your car and checking into the hotel for the first time, it would make obvious sense that you might be carrying/pulling a considerable amount of luggage. Unfortunately, if using this entrance, one must ascend a small flight of stairs in order to reach the reception desk. While this didn't pose much of a problem for me, I can see where this might be difficult for older travelers or a larger family with a lot of luggage. While the DoubleTree staff was always willing to help with luggage, they weren't always available during the hotel's busier times. The hotel should really consider putting a ramp alongside these stairs. These stairs can also be an obvious problem for those in wheelchairs.
SERVICE: Almost everyone I interacted with at the hotel was extremely polite and helpful. While I stayed at the hotel for a cumulative total of close to a month, I checked-in and checked-out multiple times, as I left Silver Spring every weekend to visit friends elsewhere on the East Coast. I had one issue with one of my check-out bills (I wasn't given the negotiated rate) which was promptly and courteously corrected at the front desk.
The hotel is conveniently located next to a very well-stocked liquor store. One night I decided to buy a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner and a movie. After returning to the hotel, I stopped at the bar to inquire about borrowing a corkscrew. The bartender informed me that Montgomery County ordinance forbids hotels from distributing corkscrews to guests. Hmm....this sounded somewhat suspect. He then told me that I could bring my bottle to the bar and they could open it for me, although they'd have to charge me a $15 (I think) corkage fee. After staring at him in disbelief for several long seconds, he offered to do me a "favor" and told me he would send someone up to my room with a corkscrew to open my wine for me. After taking my room number I went upstairs and waited. After a little over an hour no one had yet come. Knowing that I would probably want to enjoy several bottles of wine over the course of my stay, I decided to throw in the towel. I left the hotel and walked to the local drugstore to buy my own corkscrew (miraculously, the liquor store next door had just sold out of cheap corkscrews).
Final grievance regarding service: I checked into the hotel a total of 4 times. I was only given the signature DoubleTree cookie twice. This is quite a shame, as these cookies are AMAZINGLY RIDICULOUS. Honestly, for what this hotel charges per night, you should get a dozen cookies each time you check in.
ROOMS: I stayed in a total of 4 different rooms during the course of my stay, all of them being in the standard King Non-Smoking category. The decor and furniture is fairly sleek and modern. Wi-fi is included at no additional charge (it had better be for $210/night). The bed was very comfortable and had about 12 pillows of varying fluffiness from which to choose. The AC was cold, although it was fairly loud at its highest fan setting (this was experienced in every room in which I stayed). The bathroom vanities have granite countertops. I have only 2 gripes about the rooms:
1.) The bathrooms are TINY. There is absolutely NO WAY that more than one person could be in the bathroom at a time. Keep this in mind if travelling with a spouse. I would seriously estimate them to be absolutely no larger 30 square feet. For me this ordinarily wouldn't be a problem...except for the fact that the hotel commands standard room rates of OVER $210. There's no way that this rate is fair given the remarkably small size of the bathrooms.
2.) The cable is terrible. While they receive a wide range of channels, half of these contain enough static to make them unwatchable.
I didn't experience any of the hallway noise that other reviewers have mentioned, although I am a VERY deep sleeper. Also, one of the rooms I stayed in was missing a desk lamp and luggage rack. These are minor points but are worth mentioning...especially when the hotel charges over $210/night (I know, I'm beating a dead horse here).
FACILITIES: The hotel has a very nice sized gym containing numerous elliptical machines, stationary bikes, treadmills, free weights and weight machines. There is also a nice lap pool. One obnoxious thing I must point out is that the hotel's only ice machine is on the 4th floor. Therefore you have to ride the elevator or take stairs every time you want some ice. Again, not a big deal, but worth mentioning (........especially when the hotel charges over $210/night).
FINAL THOUGHTS: All-in-all, my experience at the DoubleTree Silver Spring was OK. The rooms were nice, contemporary and clean, the staff was pleasant, the location was great and I had a good night's sleep. These are things that should be expected of any reputable brand-name hotel chain. I was extremely lucky in that I was able to book a negotiated rate through my workplace (although as you can imagine, even a great negotiated rate multiplied by 20+ nights becomes very expensive!). However, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the DoubleTree Silver Spring is simply not worth the rates they are charging on Expedia, Travelocity, etc. Over $210 is simply preposterous and outrageous for an "average" hotel (especially given the grievances, albeit minor, I mentioned above). I understand that the Washington DC area is expensive by nature, however Silver Spring is hardly Washington DC -- its a suburb (and a relatively undesirable one at that when compared to the likes of nearby Bethesda and Chevy Chase)!
If you are going to be in the DC area and are able to drop $200+/night on lodging, I would recommend spending your hard-earned cash on staying in either DC proper or in a nicer nearby suburb. You can also save some money by staying in a more peripheral suburb, although morning traffic entering the DC vicinity can be a disaster. If you absolutely MUST stay in Silver Spring and want the reliability of a brand-name hotel, I recommend the Hampton Inn (directly across the street from the DoubleTree). While still overpriced (relative to Hampton Inns in other areas of the country), the location is superb, it will cost you well under $200/night and includes breakfast.
In closing, I therefore cannot recommend the DoubleTree Silver Spring due to its high room rates. Even taking the inflated costs of DC-area lodging into consideration, $210+ (not including parking) is simply too much to pay for an average hotel experience.
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Silver Spring
- Silver Spring Hilton