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“Great modern hotel with signs of improvement”

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Kimpton Donovan Hotel
Ranked #31 of 141 Hotels in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great modern hotel with signs of improvement”
Reviewed June 18, 2012

We booked a block of rooms at Donovan House when it was still part of Thompson Hotels. The switchover to Kimpton resulted in two booking systems and the inability to find our reservation for a small time. This of course resulted in a panic. Fortunately the desk staff and management at Donovan House were able to calm me down and resolve the issue. The staff were professional and polite, though on the phone the desk staff were a bit too quick to transfer you to someone else.

As others have mentioned the hotel is still in a state of transition as Kimpton puts its mark on the hotel. The room we had, as well as the rooms of our guests, were clean and comfortable. The decor is great, the bed comfortable, and the rooms were quiet.

The staff were very accommodating to our needs and our privacy. The pool hours were somewhat limited (it becomes a lounge in the evening).

Other reviewers' complaints seem to be off the mark. The rooms have the ability to be well lit, but almost everything is on a dimmer switch or done with back lighting, the lamps are almost always off and you have to turn them on manually. The shower head is an overhead waterfall type, so the pressure is not that great and the temperature range of the water is limited to hot or very hot, but the soaking tub in our room was amazing.

Room service hours are limited, but the food was fantastic and wasn't overpriced by hotel standards.

All in all we, and all of our out of town guests, had a wonderful experience here at an incredibly reasonable price. The hotel still has some kinks to work out, but the management team is clearly interested in making improvements, not excuses.

If you don't understand that a modern boutique hotel has modern furniture and design this isn't the place for you, if you love that aspect then this is the best option in DC. The rooms here are larger and better furnished than the W and at a fraction of the cost.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank fromshawdc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Orange County, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 17, 2012

I was so excited to stay here, especially after getting such a great deal. I was worried to find out that a few weeks before my stay (weekend of 5/19/12) Thompson Hotels had dropped them for not being up to their standards, and I definitely experienced the pains of that transition. In less than 24 hours, I had the worst hotel experience I have ever had and ended up switching hotels (we were planning on staying 3 nights). Below is the timeline that led to our hasty departure.

12:00pm - Get to the hotel hoping our room is ready. Guaranteed check-in time isn't until 3pm so we go get lunch expecting a call when our room is ready.
2:50pm - We haven't heard from the hotel so we go to the front desk. Their computers are down.
3:15pm - The computers are back up, and they have upgraded our room to the next level. We go to the room, and there is a maintenance crew painting the room. We tell the front desk and they say that if we want to wait until 3:45, we can have the penthouse room.
3:45pm - They give us a key to our room, but it is not the penthouse. It is the same type of room they were originally going to give us, except this one smelled overwhelmingly of cigarette smoke. We go back downstairs and they give us two options: Take a downgraded room for a reduction in price, or wait until 5:45 for the penthouse room they originally promised. We head to the bar to kill time, where they comp our drinks.
5:45pm - They give us a key to our room, which is the ORIGINAL ROOM that was freshly painted. At this point we are so exhausted we just start unpacking. As I walk into the bathroom, I step on an exposed carpet tack. Awesome. We go to dinner and go to bed.
(Next Day) 6:30am - We are woken up by banging on the door. When we ask who it is, they say it is our wakeup call. We never ordered a wakeup call. At this point we are too angry to go back to sleep and just start packing our bags.

Fortunately they comped our night and helped us get a room at the Palomar hotel, where we had a much more pleasant experience.

Non-service-related gripes:
Pillows were way too soft and offered no support, shower had no water pressure, curtains let in tons of light in the morning (not black-out curtains), rooftop pool/bar is much smaller than pictures suggest

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sugargookie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MMJennings, General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this review, June 18, 2012
Wow! I am so sorry that you had that experience. We certainly messed this one up and I can't apologize enough. It is indeed true that when we took over just two months ago there were a lot maintenance issues that had not been attended to and it was also a smoking hotel. Since taking over we have had the smoking rooms professionally reclaimed twice and as you experienced we have been working diligently and making a considerable financial investment in the care and comfort of the rooms. We have made siginificant progress and I sincerely hope that you will accept my invitation to return for free night on me. I can reached at
mark.jennings@kimptonhotels.com

I hope to have you back soon so you can see our progress.

Regards,

Mark
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Modesto, California
Level 5 Contributor
86 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2012

A very different type of boutique hotel..The rooms were very small. The bed was a 5 or 6 inch mattress on a stationary box. The lighting was very dim. The dresser was very organized but made of white plastic. There was not any work space in the room such as a desk. The ceilings were black leather or vinyl. The bathrobes were zebra print and leopard print. The shower was large but unusual. It looked like a spiral cylinder. After returning to the room at 4:00 PM, the room was not yet cleaned. We called to Housekeeping and it took an extra call and an hour later it was finally cleaned.
The hotel offered complimentary wine and waters each evening which was very nice. Coffee was also complimentary in the morning. The Lobby opened up to a very nice casual restaurant and bar.
Another interesting observation was of a possible "call girl service " that happened as we were returning to our hotel in the evening. Two rather ridiculous girls entered the hotel (obviously not hotel guests) and went quickly up the elevator that was waiting for them upon guidance and direction from a middle aged Asian man...That was very interesting....
Would I ever stay at The Donovan House or recommend this hotel to friends....NO!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank diane32724
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MMJennings, General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this review, June 18, 2012
Diane,

Thank you for your comments. We only have a few rooms like the one you described as most are quite larger. I would love to have you back and upgrade you to one of our premium rooms. The situation you described is most unusual and we certainly have not had any other reports of that kind of inappropriate acitivity. I would love to get more details and share with you level of security that is in place at the hotel. Feel free to reach out to me at mark.jennings@kimptonhotels.com.

Hope to hear from you,

Mark
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pleasant Hill, California
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2012

Let me begin by saying I adore Kimpton Hotels. I've stayed at plenty and have been extremely satisfied. I booked this hotel online figured the pictures etc couldn't be deceiving. The room is VERY dark!!! Not a lot of lamps and those in the room didn't have light bulbs. When fixed it still didn't make a difference. The engineer told me he could not bring me and additional lamp however the gal at the front desk said he they could. The bathrooms are a decent size but again not enough light to get dress, do makeup etc. I didn't like the shower set up at all, to much like a spaceship. The room had a smell to it, luckily there was a CVS right across the street and I could pick up some Lysol. I did like the white bedding, very clean but there decor is to dark.. If it wasn't for the 20% discount I received when booking the hotel I would be extremely dissappointed. The overnight parking is $42.00 a night, which is pricey! The staff was friendly and nice. The
location of the hotel is great. Close to nightlife, restuarants, memorials, site seeing..etc... Would I stay here again when visiting DC... No no no... I'll stay at the Rouge Kimpton Hotel...
Online it said renovated, new hotel.. The carpets had stains in the various hotel levels and outside our door.

  • Stayed June 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 33JMS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MMJennings, General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this review, June 18, 2012
HI 35jms,

Thanks so much for you comments! Since taking over the management of Donovan House two months ago, we at Kimpton have been working diligently to make significant improvements in the comfort of the guest rooms. I agree that the lighting in the rooms can be better and we are working with a new design team to improve this and upgrade other features as well.

Hope to see you back soon,

Mark
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fayetteville, New York
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2012

I think that Donovan House was only recently recreated as a Kimpton property, so it's possible that the problems reported by this review will be lessened with time, as they get their act together. And it's not that there were nothing but problems: certain aspects of the hotel--parking, internet service, the rich warm feel of the corridors, the location, and the front desk staff--were good or better than good. However, the problems were numerous enough that it's highly doubtful we'll want to stay here again.

The first issue we encountered, just after checking in to the room, was with the safe. There was one, but the electronic pad on it didn't work in any way we could figure out, and it seemed that it could only be opened by a key, which I really didn't want to have to carry all over town with me. I called for help, and an employee came up and told me that the safe was fine, because it could be operated with a key. I told him I already knew that, and asked him what the electronic pad was for, if the safe could only be manually opened; he replied that it had no purpose, which doesn't seem very likely to me. I also pointed out that the safe wasn't bolted down to anything, which meant that it wouldn't provide much protection against theft in the event that someone got into the room. His first response to this was to simply nod, but he eventually left and brought back a new safe, with a functional electronic pad, which he then bolted down to a shelf.

Other problems, however, co-existed and followed this one. Our room was not too clean, the carpet was left bunched up under the television in the living room (from which we couldn't move it), and after being given a "Raid the Minibar" welcome gift as In Touch (loyalty program) members and confining ourselves to the $10 allotted, we were charged on our VISA bill for part of what we took. In addition, the room was not set up for someone with any orthopedic issues: the furniture was low to the floor and hard to get in and out of, nor were the chairs or sofa, as sharp as they may have looked, comfortable to sit in. Worst of all was the shower: the nautilus shape for the shower cabinet may have been a very hip design concept, but it was also dangerous, with nothing whatsoever inside it to grasp on to for balance. Moreover, as far as the water went in the shower, the choices were to have decent water pressure but be scalded or to have a decent temperature but get trickled upon from above. I am, by the way, quite serious about the scalding: I'm someone who likes to take my showers very hot, and I found the water painful. It won't be long before someone who sets the temperature in what appears to be the middle climbs in without testing it first and gets very badly scalded: this is a lawsuit waiting to happen. And even if all the preceding weren't true, the fact is that we're in our late 50s, and it's pretty clear that this hotel (like the Palomar in Washington, another Kimpton property which we also tried out a few years back) is aiming for a much younger and hipper clientele than we: I base this both on the edgy decor and simply on the kind of people we saw in the lobby and the small, overcrowded pool. If you're a trendy 30-something, there's nothing wrong with this, but if you're past that stage of life, you'll likely feel out of place, as we did.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hamlet903
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MMJennings, General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this review, June 18, 2012
Thanks for your lovely comments about our wonderful staff, Hamlet 903! We have recently replaced some temperature controllers and hot water valves since we took over the hotel a few months ago. All of our safes should be bolted down as well. I would like to be absolutely sure that the hot water and pressure issue from your room is resolved and would truly appreciate if you let me know what room number you were. I can be reached at mark.jennings@kimptonhotels.com

Mark
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ny
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2012

We loved our stay at the Donovan. The room was very spacious and well furnished in a modern style. The Frette Linens were a pleasent surprise.
All the major sights were in walking distances if you like to walk. If not, well located near a subway. The area had a lot of restaurants for the evening and the one in the hotel was excellant for both breakfast and dinner. The coffee in the morning was a treat as well as the free happy hour in the lobby. The pool was perfect for a quick dip after a day of sightseeing and at night transforms into a stylish bar perfect for an after dinner drink. The staff was very nice at all times

Room Tip: choose an executive king
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ny1ny007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MMJennings, General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this review, June 18, 2012
What a wonderful review! Your experience is exactly what we are working hard to give to everyone. Thanks again for sharing your positive experience.

Mark
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed June 6, 2012 via mobile

Our party had one couple and another couple with 13 year old and 11 year old boys. We planned a weekend in DC and immediately found the nearest Kimpton. And as an added bonus there was a 50% off special  We are Kimpton InTouch members and our latest stay was in Alexandria at the Monaco, that hotel was fantastic but the Donovan House is not.

We tried to valet park but the attendant had to be called. It took 10 minutes for the person to show up so that only added to the long delay at check in. They took forever to input our info and get things settled. The manager tried to help by offering to have us called when our rooms were ready since we were early. Great idea, but no phone call came. We went on with our day and arrived back at 3pm at which point we were told we no longer had rooms on the same floor. How is that possible??? We arrived 4 hours ago!  So we get to our room which is small but the carpet and bed are immaculate. The bathroom was not especially clean and there was a hair in the shower.

Next we visit the pool which is packed. No surprise since the weather is beautiful and the website where we booked had a picture of a small pool. However, why not make an effort to ensure there are plenty of chairs and plenty of towels? People were standing around stalking the folks leaving to get a chair. The towels were slow to come out and at one point there was a 20 minute wait. They finally brought out room towels. The drinks at the bar near the pool were expensive and they didn't have coconut rum. That is a serious mistake in the summer and such a basic item to be missing.

The decor was contemporary which was fine but the hallways were so dark they were disturbing. It was like being in a haunted house. The light colored baseboard were shabby and filthy. Makes you wonder what the darkness was hiding on the carpet.

We started to plan our escape. The hotel across the street had a beautiful pool and online they showed even cheaper rates. In the end we didn't want to waste our precious vacation time moving around so we decided to cut our stay short and check out the next day. We stopped by the desk that night to tell them about our early departure. No one asked why but they wrote down our room numbers.  When we checked out the next day they had no record of our conversation last night and we were reminded of their cancellation policy. We reminded them we told them in advance and fortunately they didn't charge us for the second night.

We were happy to get out of there. You might ask why we didn't address things while we were there. The simple reason is we didn't want to waste our time. The things that were wrong we're already behind us and they are so basic that if they cannot get them right then there is not much hope they will address them. We will not be back to learn if they figure things out.

Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank NextstopNewZealand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MMJennings, General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this review, June 18, 2012
I was so pleased that both of you took the time to speak with me personally after this review was posted and appreciate your understanding and willingness to give us another chance. We have added a full time pool attendant on the weekends and additional lounging cushions around the poot which has made all the difference. Thanks for the information too that you gave me on the Adventure Course. I have researched it and it looks like a great recommendation for our future guests.

We look forward to your return.

Warm regards,

Mark
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kimpton Donovan Hotel

Property: Kimpton Donovan Hotel
Address: 1155 14th St NW, Washington DC, DC 20005-4111
Phone Number:
Location: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Upper Northwest
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#16 Green Hotel in Washington DC
#19 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#24 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#41 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
#56 Family Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Kimpton Donovan Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 193
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Donovan Hotel a Thompson
Donovan House Washington Dc

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