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“Not what I anticipated....”

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Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
Ranked #17 of 141 Hotels in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed April 29, 2006

My boyfriend and I just got back from an overnight stay at the Mandarin Oriental. I had planned this as a suprise getaway but it turned out to be somewhat of a surprise to us both. I booked through Expedia and I must say that the pics that they chose (along with what is posted on the Mandarin Oriental website) are a little misleading. I was under the impression that the hotel was right on the water...it was not. The water view I requested was a partial water view at best. I'll make this simple by listing the positivies and negatives.


Valet Parking
Impressively large and open lobby
Nice decor
Aromatherapy towelsFriendly staff
VERY comfortable beds and linens
Large marble bathrooms with marble stone throughout
Gym is fairly large for a hotel and has new equipment in it
Good location as it was close to Alexandria, VA and Georgetown.
The airport is very close but we were not bothered by planes.


Parking cost $40 for one night! (I was prepared for $20 NOT $40)
Spa is VERY expensive and from what I saw, it didn't appear that impressive
To get to the indoor pool, you have to go through the spa..what kind of a "zen" experience is that?
Indoor pool is not heated
Hot tub offered in the women's locker room NOT the men's locker room
Cafe Mozu is very pricey and has a fairly complicated menu...caters to those with complex palettes
The room is laid out in an odd way...the bed was across from the window which ruined our feng shui;-)
The robes and slippers feel cheap
Offer you The Godfather movie on the the DISH network for $15 when the movie itself costs $3.99 through ON Demand or even to rent.
We rarely order room service but after reading through the menu we discovered that they wanted to charge $6 for one sliced banana. You can imagine what the rest of the menu was priced at...we decided not to order anything.
Major construction right across the street.

We understand that hotels always increase prices for parking, spas and room service. However, we travel quite frequently and I must say that this hotel was at the top of the spectrum. Furthermore, with all of the negatives that we encountered, this hotel is certainly not a 5 star in our book.

All in all, we were not impressed by it. For the price that I paid I was hoping for the "WOW" factor but never got it.
We hope that you have a better experience.

8  Thank cookiemonster01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,875 - 1,881 of 2,014 reviews

Reviewed March 16, 2006

Just returned from 2 day trip to DC and stayed in MO.
Overall great place, typical for this chain understated elegance, superb quality of materials and overall design.
Positive: beatiful rooms/particular with water view, every thing brand new and spotless, outstanding Frette
linens and bad, flat screen tv in the bathroom, spa very good, restaraunts/tried MoZu/for dinner-B+ and breakfast-A-, good location....
Negative: difficult to find/not yet on mapquest and navigation systems,construction not finished aroud hotel,service lacks true 5 star/spa and restaraunts/,
some noise from airport.
Overall for the money great place and recomend to people that would like to stay in DC and experience upscale asian hotel
Alex and Ellen

7  Thank alexshulman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2006

Stayed there, with my girlfriend for an extended R & R weekend. The service was wonderful -- Four days of heavenly spa treatments and impeccable room service! Absolutely fabulous, and I can't wait to visit the one in Miami!

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank SmoothPhillyGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2005

My husband and I stayed at the Mandarin during the Christmas weekend to celebrate his 30th birthday. The staff went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. We were automatically upgraded to a water view room, received warm aromatherapy towels at check in, and a dozen artfully decorated chocolates prepared by the chef were in our room. Plus, he was given a complimentary fruit plate at the spa. Our room was spacious and immaculate. Loved the large marble bathroom and the plasma tvs in both the room and the bathroom. The hotel is new and all of the public areas are well maintained. You must dine at Cityzen at least once during your stay. The food is out of this world and the service in the restaurant is impeccable. But what really sets this hotel apart from the others in DC is the spa! Of all the spas I have been to in the world, this one is in the top 5 for me. Although the spa is expensive ($837 for 2 shiatsu massages and 2 facials with tax and tip), the massages are well worth it, skip the facials, they are nothing exotic. There are 3 pools in this spa. One that is heated and open to all guests, one in the women's locker room, and one in the men's locker room. Try the showerhead in the showers at the spa, they will blow you away (literally). I had to deduct one star because the Mandarin Chain promotes itself and prices itself as if it is in the same league as the Four Seasons. The Mandarins in London and New York can certainly compete with the Four Seasons, but not the DC location. Why? The service lacks a certain polish for the following reasons: when we arrived the valet/bellhop asked us if we wanted to carry our bags to our room ourselves!, we asked for an ice bucket and received it 2 hours later, room service operator didn't speak english very well, and housekeeping was totally random (they would show up at the weirdest times, 3:00??). But, please don't let the glitches stop you from staying here because the staff is very nice and the hotel has many more positives to focus on, we would definitly stay here again. Just be patient!

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
17  Thank HotelSnob2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Reviewed December 20, 2005

Without doubt this is now the best hotel in Washingt DC. My recent stay proved that everything about this recently opened Hotel is of the very highest quality, I would recommend it to absolutely anyone.

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2005

My husband and I stayed at the Mandarin the two nights after our wedding. The room was exceptionally comfortable. I agree with some posters that the TV system was hard to work -- all we wanted to do was turn it off -- but everything in the room was lovely, the shower and tub were luxe and the bed was great.

I've been to many spas and this one was extraordinary. The massage, though pricey at $200, was the best I'd ever had. Our meal at Cafe Mozu was good.

However ... we faced several problems. We'd booked a room with a bathtub view of the water. On arriving, we were offered a free upgrade to a suite. I asked if it had the same view, was told yes, but it didn't. Our bags took a while to arrive -- not what you want when you're in your wedding dress. The clerk also offered us tea service, which never arrived. It took them forever to deliver a working clock and room service menu. We'd ordered a $50 flower arrangement and it was lovely, but then, after all was said and done three weeks later, we realized that the florist the Mandarin used had charged another $900 worth of flowers to our credit card.

Because of the problems that day, the desk clerk immediately and courteously offered to comp our $175 dinner. The credit card charges were eventually removed and because of the hassle, the general manager offered us a free night. We took it, and were greeted with a lovely fruit bowl and very nice room. Everything went very smoothly this time, and we were surprised to have our $50 (!) delicious Japanese breakfast comped too.

I normally don't seek recompense for such problems but they were quick and kind in offering without me asking. All in all, the hotel is quite beautiful -- the details just need to be smoothed, for $500 a night.

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank Sweetpotater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed December 11, 2005

Although I live in the area I had the opportunity to stay at the Mandarin Oriental in DC this weekend as a treat. I have to say it was excellent. I've stayed in many luxury hotels around the world, including other Mandarins and some others in DC, this is a welcome addition to a poor selection in what we call our 'Nations Capital'. I always woundered visiting other 'so called' upmarket hotels in DC if they made a good impression on visiting foriegn delegates or international business people. I think not! Although the hotel is on the large size it still offers a breath of fresh air and color in, what some people call a grey city. I mean where else do you look out of your window and see the Jefferson Memorial and Potomac River, green parks and the Tidal Basin, which I might add will no doubt look amazing during the Cherry Blossom. There's no other hotel in DC with these views. I was very impressed by the spa and at last a true spa. From the moment I arrived I was taken on a journey of the senses, quiet and tranqil, the smell of spiced oil and and amazing experience. Until you've experienced this spa you've never been to a spa! Honestly. My room was a standard type, with views as I've mentioned. I was surprized at the size, very large. Again you might like the quirkey history of the Hay Adams, but I also like somewhere to put open my suitcase, a sofa to lounge on and a large bathroom with full size deep bath and seperate glass shower. The restaurant Mozu was very nice too. We had breakfast there with the morning sunlight bursting through the large windows overlooking the marina. Excellent choice and a Sushi kitchen too. We could not get into Cityzen, the fine dinning restautant that has been in the news a lot recently as they were fully booked, but we had a cocktail at the bar and I can see why it's so popular. Must book ahead next time. Overall it was a wonderful stay and I thought the location is ideal for visitors wanting to take in the sights of the capital. Over and out.

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC

Address: 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC, DC 20024-2100
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Washington DC
#11 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#13 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#14 Green Hotel in Washington DC
#24 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range: $328 - $678 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC 5*
Number of rooms: 373
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The cherry blossoms are almost here and no hotel in DC has better views of them than MO. We are just steps away from the Tidal Basin and steps away from District Wharf: DC’s hottest new waterfront neighborhood featuring exciting restaurants, live music venues, thrilling nightspots, eclectic shopping, public piers, and lively street scene. It’s all an easy walk out of our back door and down the street. With our newly renovated guest rooms, immersive spa, legendary guest service, and expansive views of the monuments and water, Mandarin Oriental is DC’s internationally sophisticated luxury hotel. We offer privileged access to the globally-minded, enthusiast travelers who are our guests. Whether you stroll to the National Mall and Tidal Basin or never leave the hotel, you’ll get the best of DC and feel a home away from home. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is famous the world over for providing intuitive service, elevated dining, arresting design, and restorative wellness. Are you a fan? ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mandarin Oriental, Washington d.c. Hotel Washington Dc
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Washington Dc
Mandarin Oriental Washington Dc
Mandarin Washington Dc
Washington Dc Mandarin Oriental

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