I enjoyed my stay at Governor House Inn in March 2014, and I'd return to this hotel if I need a room in Northern Virginia again.
-Extremely friendly and helpful staff. From the reception hosts to housekeeping to the manager, everyone at Governor House bends over backwards to make guests feel welcome and cared for. Dave the manager went the extra mile for me more than once to address my needs. Super-super-duper nice people, can't say enough about the staff.
-Very quiet location. My room was around the back and I slept like a rock all night both nights. I didn't hear a thing except the neighbors a couple of times.
-Comfortable bed and good quality pillows. Frequent travelers know that this is among the most critical aspects of a cheap hotel. Nothing else matters if the bed is uncomfortable. Governor House has this covered. You could just stop reading here and book it.
-Convenient location with interesting options nearby. For example, right across the street is a unique dive bar called JV's Restaurant. Highly recommended for local flavor and excellent music. A short drive away is the Seven Corners shopping area with lots of retail stores and restaurants. Dogfish Head Brewing is a favorite in the area for outstanding craft beers and good food. DC is a 10-minute drive away (when traffic is moving).
-Free extras -- free parking, free wifi, free continental breakfast. (I however didn't use the free continental breakfast but ate at Bentley's instead, so I can't comment on the quality of the free breakfast.)
-Reasonably clean conditions. Towels etc are all fine.
-Low rates -- Overall excellent value. I booked through Hotwire and secured nightly rates around $100, during a peak weekend when DC area hotels were marked up through the roof. Need a cheap hotel, look no further.
-Governor House is as outdated as it looks in the pictures. Good luck finding an outlet in your room anywhere near where you'll need it. Yes they provide wifi, but it's very s-l-o-w and buggy. You end up logging in repeatedly and the password is this long number you'll struggle to remember.
-Some things are kind of shabby and borderline run-down. My room smelled a bit musty and the ancient thermostat had a mind of its own. The hot and cold positions were switched on the sink faucet. Carpet was worn thin, decor straight out of 1963, and the hastily-repaired ceiling told the tale of many past watery adventures. Outside my room a faucet dripped constantly on the sidewalk; it didn't bother me but it gives you the picture. This place is old and getting a bit decrepit. The common areas are nice enough but don't expect a modern facility; this ain't it.
-I suspect they hired consultants to research the thinnest possible toilet paper and facial tissues, the tiniest soap bars on the planet ... I'm pretty sure they re-use the little complimentary shampoo and lotion bottles from guest to guest. The shampoo bottle appeared to have been refilled. I guess that's what you get at a cheap hotel ... and even though it is logical from an economic standpoint, it does seem a little risky and maybe violates code. I don't know.
A NOTE ON BENTLEY'S DINER
Located on the same property in a separate building, and operated under common management, is Bentley's Diner, a traditional American cafe. It also is straight out of 1963 and that's mostly a good thing. The food is simple, hearty, and plentiful. Service is super friendly and attentive to match that at Governor House Inn; you will feel welcome at Bentley's.
However I must report that the coffee is awful. Some of the worst I've ever choked down, and that's saying something. I thought maybe I just got the dregs from a burnt-up pot but I came back another time and found the coffee to be just as bad. Also the prices are a little on the high side, IMO, compared to what I'd expect to find at a throwback diner of this kind. Probably the prices are considered reasonable in the DC area, where outrageous is normal. But for $10 I'd think the biscuits and gravy would come with some sausage links or eggs; nope, those are extra for a few bucks.
ON THE WHOLE I really enjoyed my stay at Governor House and I hope to return someday. But I will bring a power strip and extension cord, and I'll look elsewhere for a decent cuppa'.
Rooms around back are extremely quiet.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Wow - I have to give an extreme thanks for this review!
I think you drilled my challenges and painted a very accurate picture of our entire establishment. Really with no brand corporate office tower in some far away place to report back to I don't have to respond with cookie cutter excuses and apologies. Honestly I think a review like this is great and sums up who we are at this stage and seriously helps other guests make an informed decision -
THANKYOU for the time taken on this!
What is surprising to me is how well you mirrored my own thoughts EXACTLY - you drilled the current condition of my Inn having just purchased her in 2013.( I don't actually refill the bottles of conditioner and shampoo though). We are set on restoring her and I try to balance rates with how far along we are stressing to the staff service service service due to the age of her and the amount of work still ahead of us.
I am moving from the Maxwell house to another brand this spring - I don't actually like the coffee either but because of the number of regulars in Bentley s (Trust me any change results in 50 local phone calls as to how I have destroyed it's tradition - even if I just change the colors of the place mats god love my regulars) I was waiting for the summer months to sneak the upgrade by them because we need better coffee in my opinion also. The soaps and shampoos were cost related the first year. Thanks to many many folks such as yourself we are now able to upgrade that package and honestly I have sourced it but hadn't planned to implement until April -BIG mistake on my end as I never realized we would Fill the Inn regularly in March.
The faucet on the back side busted with the last freeze a week ago......as has about every gutter and exterior pipe in her......kind of a catch 22 - I'm full and they just didn't install shut-offs in the 50's (Or if they did they were covered up in the numerous hasty repairs you mentioned - and even there trust me you were on point) so need to drain entire building on a Sunday when it's empty to get to it. Then my gutters.....if I can just get the snow and rain to stop -darn global warming killed her this winter.
We've gotten a lot done in the first few months and thankfully due to the surprising loyalty expect we can knock out quite a deal more this year -but as a small start up it is literally being done with every penny coming in. Like you said - If you want a clean extremely friendly place at a good value with unexpected amenities - metro shuttle service, business center, pool our evening refreshments, continental, free parking, wifi, etc.......that's us but don't expect a fancy new building -jus' a lil' Red Brick Inn.
If you can give this much time it deserves mine - the other items mentioned hadn't occurred to me- paper thickness and outlet situation, but I can look at purchasing the lamps with additional outlets and check on what were using for paper products later today.
THANK YOU AGAIN -HOPEFULLY most will read this review when deciding where to stay.
I really appreciate this and hope to see you back again soon!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.