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“A week at the MO”

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Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
Ranked #12 of 141 Hotels in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
A TripAdvisor Member
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Reviewed July 6, 2006

So much depends on expectations when one reviews a hotel. Expecting a beach view? Great service? Great neighborhood? A bargain? Because, a review is just an account of how well one's expectations were fulfilled. And it all depends on what you're looking for.

I booked a room at the Mandarin Oriental for a week because I wanted my wife to have a comfortable place to stay whether we went out a lot or not. And, in that context, I was very happy. After a leak developed in our bathtub in the spacious corner room that we received, we were moved two days later to a junior suite with a big plasma screen TV in the living room, smaller but impressive HDTV in the bedroom, and an LCD wall hanger in the bathroom. The beds are ultra comfortable, and I slept like a dead man every night. The bathrooms were grey marble, with dual shower heads plus a big, deep tub. Wonderful. Although the couch in the living area wasn't very comfortable, it was OK. Service was very good. Room service one night was prompt, but pricey. No coffee makers in room, but complimentary coffee, USA Today, Wash POst, and NY Times were available in the lobby. But, there were some negatives, as well.

The location, as noted by other reviewers is kind of weird. It's at the end of a newly created street that is really nowhere near any other restaurants or businesses. If you don't want to eat in the hotel every meal, a taxi is more or less necessary at night, although the Smithsonian Metro stop is about a three block walk. But there isn't anything else nearby. The only immediate neighbors are government buildings by the blockful. After a daytrip to Georgetown, I realized how much more convenient to restaurants and shopping it would have been to have stayed there at the Georgetown Inn or the Four Seasons. True, the railroad rumbles by next to the property, but that is not a big deal. The problem is, in my view, relative isolation.

So, back to the positives.....the staff seemed very interested in providing us with a good stay. The lobby is spacious and lovely. That painting!! Provacative, interesting, and extremely well executed. The view out to the channel is nice.

In summary, this is an excellent property, very good service by accommodating staff, clean, stylish, spacious rooms with top notch bed comfort. If you're in DC on business, and taxi's are your prime mode of transportation, you'll be quite happy. As for me, and my expectations, I'll look elsewhere next time. Not because the MO-DC is below par (far from it), but because I'll want to be located next to more interesting stuff.

  • Stayed: July 2006
    • 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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1,810 - 1,816 of 1,952 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2006

Combined business trip and vacation. Notified hotel it happened to be our annivarsary & they upgraded us to a nice corner room. Carpeting and furniture look a little worn for the relatively young age of the hotel.

One glaring weakness was valet parking/inital door service. We had to wait quite a while on arrival for a parking valet & the dorrman seemed to avoid us as he was too busy "helping" those leaving some sort of event and get cabs (meaning those who leave give me the tips, not those arriving - it was more than obvious). Later that day, even though we had called down fifteen minutes in advance, they had not even sent anyone to retrieve our car by the time we arrived. When we arrived back, the valet could not locate our ticket & hand wrote a number for us to use. Guess what? The next day, called down in advance again, got down & nobody had been sent to retrieve the car. They couldn't figure out number I had given them (as written the previous evening by one of their staff). But of course, they couldn't tell me this when I called down - and we waited another 15-20 minutes for the car.

Location for us was good, as the weather was great and conducive for walking (as we were more than willing to do). However, one evening we decided to try to walk back after going to the National Theater for an event - those last couple of blocks are a little "sketchy" at night, due to being essentially deserted at night.

We found room service to be quite good & received great recommendations for outside restaurants from the concierge. Being fortunate "veterans" of the French Laundry, we decided to pass on Eric Ziebold's restaurant there, Cityzen, as the menu did not appear to be as "innovative" as we thought it might - though I am sure it must be quite good.

We also unfortunately left a bag with souvenir gifts in the room when we left. Though we take full responsibilty for our carelessness, hotel security said no such record of the item(s) being found could be located & the security staff were somewhat "curt" in their tone over the phone.

However, the front desk staff were very good in addressing some of the problems we encountered. It seemed as if they were very aware of problems with the valet parking staff & did their best to "make up" for any difficulties we may have encountered. However, those types of problems, especially at a hotel with this type of reputation, should never happen & my overall rating of the MO - D.C. may be generous due to the fairly good rate we got during this period.

  • Stayed: June 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank bosac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2006

I stayed here for two nights of business travel and found the Mandarin to be a nice hotel with great guest service. All the staff were polite and helpful. The location of the Mandarin is not the best unless you're going to a conference and taking taxis. It's not for tourists because the areas around the hotel are all businesses. It's a short walk to the Washington Monument, but also one that I would not want to take at night because the area is quite deserted after work hours. The actual hotel is beautiful and the only complaint I have is the location of the free internet service. I did not have a laptop with me so I had to take an escalator downstairs, which felt like going underground, to the huge ballroom area. The free internet kiosk was off to the side of the bathrooms in an odd place that felt unsafe at night because no one else was downstairs. Other than that, I would say it's close to being on par with the Ritz but just hasn't evolved enough yet.

  • Stayed: June 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
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2  Thank BostonianinDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed June 4, 2006

I must say that my experience at the Mandarin was AWESOME. I was looking for a weekend getaway to simply relax. I booked a Relaxation Package which included an overnight stay and two spa treatments. The hotel room was a waterview that had a great view of the City as well. I stayed on the 6th floor. The bed is one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. First off, the staff treated me incredibly well. I probably tipped them more than I needed too :-) I ate lunch at Cafe Mozu and the food and atmosphere were both relaxing. By far, dinner at Citi Zen was memorable. Be prepared to spend at least $60.00 a person. The true treat was the experience at the SPA. It is one of the best I have ever been too. There is a steam room, a water room with a cool shower and a hot tub. I thought the service was great. I really think your stay will depend on how much you put into it.

Stayed: June 2006
5  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
East Coast, USA
Reviewed June 2, 2006

We had a nice time at this hotel. The room was very nice and comfortable for four. The pool was a hit with the kids (not just ours, it was full of children). There was a garden wedding on Saturday which facinated our children!

The only reason for the not rating the experince "excellent" was the service. Reception was fine, housekeeping fine, but the cafe service in the garden area was so incredibly slow. This just did not work at all with a family...or truly for the adults. I waited so long for condiments for a burger that it was cold by the time they came...and our "snack" was over $100. This should be improved.

Other small examples- the gift shop attendant was on her cell phone the whole time I was in there looking for band aids for my blisters, and a small bevy of bellmen were outside the ladies room complaining to one another...all did not seem tranquil and guest-focused there!

But minor things really- it was nice hotel.

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2006

Nice property in a goofy location, the hotel sits over a railroad track and vibrates when trains pass. However, thats not the problem. The problem is service in all areas of the hotel. Housekeeping consistently arrived after 4 pm, the front desk was always crowded and the staff seemed confused, and the restaurants was understaffed. If you can overlook these staffing problems, the hotel rooms and public areas are very nice. Until these staffing problems are fixed, I suggest the Hay Adams.

Stayed: April 2006
4  Thank madindallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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:
#5 Spa Hotel in Washington DC
#8 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#13 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#14 Green Hotel in Washington DC
#17 Family Hotel in Washington DC
#24 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range: $238 - $622 (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):
MO is celebrating the grand opening of District Wharf: DC’s hottest new waterfront neighborhood featuring over 20 exciting restaurants, the cool new Anthem concert hall, thrilling nightspots with live music, eclectic shopping, three public piers, and invigorating street life. Its all an easy walk out of our back door and down the street. With our freshly redesigned guest rooms, immersive spa, acclaimed guest service, and expansive views of the monuments and the water, Mandarin Oriental is Washington’s internationally sophisticated luxury hotel. We offer privileged access to the globally-minded, design-oriented, 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 sensuous 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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