This hotel is like a quirky, cool car from 1972 - but it'll take more than an extra-thick coat of white paint to make it right. That has already been tried.
Being a big fan of Kimpton Hotels, I could not resist booking a room when I received the invitation with a great rate for Kimpton InTouch members.
We arrove around 3.20 pm on a Saturday and were received by 3 (three!) men who looked like doormen or bellhops, but they were standing in the entrance watching us struggeling with our luggage, after we had given up the car to the valet next door and taken out our bags and suitcases. What was their purpose?
Why were they there, if not for guests like us who came to check in? Why not bringing a cart to the car, so we could have loaded up our luggage onto that, like it is done at other properties?
But we eventually made it to the front desk, and we were told that our room was not ready, as they had experienced some kind of water damage earlier that day. We were asked to wait in the lobby until the room was ready. As a compensation we were given wine vouchers for their Bar/Restaurant Zentan.
We also received a generous gift for saying the "secret word" at checking in: free breakfast (for both of us!), also in the Zentan, that was REALLY cool. And since we are Kimpton InTouch members, we also got our minibar credit ($10) and free Internet.
With all these freebies we were kept happy, so the wait didn't feel as a problem to us. We had fun sitting and swinging in the funny hanging chairs, also enjoying their free ice tea drinks as a refreshment.
After a few minutes the Front Desk person (David?) came up and offered a room on the 5th floor. Acknowleding that we prefered a higher floor (data from our Kimpton profile), but our 7th floor room was still not ready, and this 5th floor would be ready sooner, and if we were interested. I declined and said I know I'd regret that, and I would rather wait longer to get the better room.
We continued to wait, and after a while he came back again and offered another room now, this one was the same category but on the 10th floor, and we gladly accepted. The waiting time was about 45 minutes all together.
The room was indeed great. OK, there were nicks and scruffs galore, and some of the furniture was even coming apart (see pictures), and some stains were impossible to ignore - but the outstanding view onto Thomas Circle, the spaceship-like bath room and the spacious layout of this room (King Premier) really made us forgive the flaws.
It was clean enough, and since the bed and the bath were obviously cleaned, we were OK with the status of this room. There were enough towels for a night, plus we had Bigelow toiletteries (the black series which is made for Kimpton).
The high floor was adding to the viewing experience, and we took many photos sitting in that space chair in front of the window, watching people walking by below us.
We actually had 2 big windows in our room, looking to 2 various sides, so it was actually a corner room.
Later we went down to the Lobby to get a share of their wine hour, and we tasted their own recipe of Sangria (made with water melon and fresh basil leaves - very interesting texture and aroma! Hubby found it weird, but I loved it!) They also offered IPA in bottles, and Hubby took one, and he said he liked that a lot better.
The lobby was filling up with people, so they must have been booked pretty full. We sat in that alcove where currently the AIDS awareness quilt is in exhibition (see picture), and we found that moving and interesting.
We also went up to their rooftop pool, and I swam for a while. It was extremely hot that day, and I couldn't stand it very long to be in the heat, as I had already a sunburn from a previous pool visit elsewhere some days before. The water in the pool wasn't exactly cool, so I left it with the few leaps that evening, and we went out for dinner.
When we came back, we headed over to Zentan and were offered a free glass of wine each (for our vouchers from the Front Desk), and we went with the Pinot Grigio, which was a very good choice. That bar was obviously very popular, it was packed with people, it was very energetic. Many people also ate there.
We were exhausted and went up to our room and had a good night's sleep. That weird cocon shaped shower stall acted as a night light (its round plastic wall is standing inside the bed room).
Next morning we had the most excellent breakfast since a long time (see separate review on Zentan), and again we could watch Washingtonians walking by from where we were sitting.
At the front desk I was asking Daisy if I could have a later check out, since I hadn't have a chance yet to try their spacy bath tub, and I was granted another hour with a smile. Thank you Daisy, that was so nice!
We went up, started packing, and I had a wonderful spa bath in that big tub. It had no jets, but I didn't miss them. The shape was so interesting and comfortable also, holding me up by the shoulders and yet relaxing completely. It was very high, so I could soak in my ocean spa products up to the shoulders.
That cocon shower has been described by many other reviewers already, so I don't think it is necessary to describe it again. It is really funny and interesting to stand inside it and have that shower coming out of the ceiling.
But beware, it is a bit slippery! Watch your steps and go slowly! This is not your tiled stall where you can stand safely, here you'll have to pay attention! But definitely a great fun factor, and I urge you to stay in this hotel just for that shower alone!
We thought the check out came way too soon, and we would have liked to stay longer, but we can never stay anywhere longer than one night at a time (animals alone at home). Good that we'll come back already in 3 weeks!
On a critical note: there are quite a few hick-ups in our single night stay. Starting with the 3 guys watching us struggle with our luggage, the nicks and scuffs and stains in the room, and in the end the charges were put on the wrong credit card.
At check in we were handing over our new Amtrak Visa card, requesting to put the charges onto that one instead of the older one which had been used at booking time months ago.
The Amtrak card is giving points towards free train trips, and since our favourite Kimpton is in Virginia, we are going there by train, and free train trips are always welcome.
At check out I foolishly did not request a print out of the invoice, so I saw the charges only a day later when I was back at home. The old card (not Amtrak) had been charged.
I had to call bookkeeping to straighten that out (paying by the minute plus a connection fee, as it is not a free number).
It will be fixed, I am sure, but it is a nuisance, especially after I had made it extra clear at check in that we wanted to charge the new card because of the Travel Points it gives us.
Oh, and Hubby mentioned he saw some new scratches on the car door and some dents in the bumper. We didn't see that when we left, so we are out of luck, but he is convinced we didn't come with those. Oh well.
All in all, a Kimpton Hotel with very high potential to become a true star - but they'll have a long way ahead of them.
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- Also Known As:
- Donovan Hotel a Thompson
- Donovan House Washington Dc