We just returned from a one-night stay (Saturday, August 16th) at the Westin at Washington National Harbor, a stay I booked with spg points and which represented a bit of a staycation for us as we live less than a half hour away in northern Virginia, and I am happy to report we had a very nice stay despite a few inconveniences.
Our trip to the hotel was obviously a very quick one although I was surprised to find, upon arrival, that there isn't actually any designated area for you to unload your car -- it's pretty much all streetside parking, with metered spaces, directly in front of the hotel. We found the street bustling with both pedestrian and car traffic (it was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon) and were reluctant to double-park but luckily spied an empty space (with time still left on the meter!) and were able to pull in and unload the car quickly without inconveniencing anyone. Note that we subsequently moved our car one block away to a covered lot for only $13 for the night, a real bargain (it did not appear to us that the hotel offered valet service, although we were fine with the self-parking).
Check-in was very quick, and staff were courteous and professional; we were offered two options for our room (3rd or 4th floors; we chose the latter -- note that rooms are located on floors 2 through 6). We were not told, however, that WiFi access was very problematic -- we found that out only subsequently, and after I went down to the lobby to inquire as to why we weren't able to connect (there was a cable connection, which worked fine, but no WiFi). Apparently the problem had been going on for at least 24 hours, was being worked by the provider, and affected rooms on floors 2 through 4. Nice. Of course when we inquired about changing our room -- and did not want to give up our waterside view -- we were told that that would be difficult as the hotel was completely sold out (there was a beer and crab festival taking place, Cirque du Soleil was in town, and there appeared to be multiple family reunions and weddings in the vicinity).
Oh well. We told our boys to deal with the limited WiFi and asked the front desk to notify us when the problem was resolved. That did not happen until later that night (about 9:30 pm) and even then, inexplicably, we could only connect one device.
Our room (429) was quite nice, with a great view of the harbor, many boats, a huge Ferris wheel that was completely illuminated at night -- and an amazingly close-up view of the Harbor's Saturday night fireworks (which were a real treat as they were so unexpected, and really very lovely -- there were some shimmery fireworks that created what can only be described as a beautiful wall of light -- really great). However, when sitting on the bed I happened to look under the large bureau that sits beneath the large flat-screen TV....and spied a mess of chip crumbs (they appeared to be Fritos) and small bits of paper, as if from ripped packaging. When we stepped outside to walk around I asked staff at the front desk to request a follow-up visit from housekeeping and, thankfully, upon our return we found the carpeting much-improved.
Bedding and amenities were the typical Westin quality but the bathroom, while quite spacious, with very nice lighting and separate small room for the toilet, could have had a bit more counterspace and/or more hooks to hang up bath towels.
The Westin National Harbor is not a large hotel -- the lobby is comparatively small -- but it does have a spacious lower level with direct access to the waterfront; you are literally only a small sidewalk away from the Potomac. My husband and I particularly enjoyed taking a long, relaxing walk along the waterfront early Sunday morning, when very few people were out. We also had a nice drink at the bar on Saturday evening and the waitstaff was very gracious.
The lower level also contains a spacious restaurant, Sauciety, where we did not eat, and a very nice gym with a lovely view of the water - which I did use and thoroughly enjoyed. There were ample machines, all in excellent condition, and it was a good-sized room - but oddly enough the wipe dispenser had wipes that were, well, not really wet, as if they'd been sitting around too long and had gotten exposed a bit too much to air or something. I found that a bit odd.
We enjoyed our brief stay but I would urge anyone considering a visit to splurge on a waterfront view -- the proximity is really what makes this hotel special and distinguishes it from other hotels in the Washington DC area. This is a good choice for a family that wants to try a bit of paddleboarding, maybe take a boat ride to Alexandria or a spin on the Ferris wheel, see the circus, go shopping at the local Tangier outlet -- and while it's certainly not a "must-see destination", Washington National Harbor -- and the Westin -- have a certain charm that even locals should try to check out.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rising up on the shores of the scenic Potomac River, The Westin National Harbor looks out over views of our nation's capital and its many landmarks. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Washington National Harbor Hotel Oxon Hill
- Westin Oxon Hill
- Westin Hotel National Harbor
- Oxon Hill Westin