I stayed for2 nights at the Arlington Court Suites. Right off the bat, when the taxi pulled up, I was quite concerned that this might not be the place. The address was correct, but there was no sign that stated Clarion Hotels, which is what I was looking for. It said Arlington Court Suites. I had not realized that the last 3 words of the 6 word name would be the name on the sign. In fact I did not even remember the last 3 words on the sign! I just thought it was the Clarion at the Courthouse.
I was kinda hoping the taxi driver would stay put a minute just to make sure I was at the right place. But upon entering the doors, there was a sign INSIDE that said Clarion. So, all was well. One more odd thing… there was a scale, a tall, medical scale in the lobby against the wall to the left of the registration desk. I did not ask what the purpose was… I almost took a picture but opted not to… it was there the 3 days/2nights that I was there. just one slight little oddity… maybe it was to discourage people from eating too many of the free cookies on Thursday nights (wink). On second thought, probably not, because the employees were trying to get us to take as many as possible. More on that later.
I really have only no complaints about this hotel. I think it is an excellent value. I was taking a training class at a facility near the Arlington Courthouse. The Courthouse is at the top of a hill, 2 blocks from the hotel. The training facility is halfway up the hill, 1 block from the hotel. The training organizers listed 2 hotels that were within walking distance- the Clarion and the Hilton Garden Inn. I am guessing that the majority of people opt for the Hilton as it is directly across the street from the facility, facing the property- literally 1 minute away, and no hill to climb. The Clarion is at the bottom of this VERY steep hill and across the street… maybe 3-5 minutes, depending on how fast you can make it up that hill! (people who live in the area and take the metro, which is also at the top of the hill, must have GORGEOUS legs!)
For my money, I would choose the Clarion (excuse me, Arlington Court Suites). It is the better value. The room prices for me were about the same, though I think Clarion was maybe $10 cheaper when I checked (AAA rate). The room I got was a double queen with a sitting area, balcony, and full kitchen. In comparison, the room at the Hilton Garden Inn was a standard double or King. The Clarion comes with free hot breakfast daily. The first morning of my stay they served sausage links, home-style potatoes, and eggs. There was a selection of juices, yogurt, cereal, and coffee. The sausage was rather bland, the potatoes and eggs were fairly decent…. Filling, but nothing to write home about. The second morning was better: bacon, eggs, potatoes, hot pancakes, and the same additional cold items. The pancakes were super light and fluffy and fairly tasty. There was a slight taste of pancake mix from a box, but nothing to detract from the overall taste, and nothing that some maple syrup couldn’t hide. I enjoyed them. The eggs tasted better than the day before and the bacon was a vast upgrade from the sausage. So breakfast will either be so-so or very good from my experience. Either way, it’s free.
As though that were not enough, Monday through Wednesday they provide dinner. Now I know that in DC, people can eat at some of the finest dining establishments in the world. But if you are tired and do not want to go out, this hotel provides options. The dinner that I had on Wednesday consisted of “BBQ” Ribs, Baked Beans, Mixed Veggies, Mixed Green Salad, and Chicken Potato Soup… (I took the menu from the refrigerator and will post it here.) The salad was good, I did not try the soup or the beans. The mixed veg was also good. I have issue with them calling this BBQ as it was obviously ribs in a pan, baked/broiled and covered with BBQ sauce. This does not a BBQ make… being from TX, that is an insult to BBQ. However, they were pretty good baked ribs. I would not go out of my way to dine on them, but if they were serving and I was staying, I would help myself to some. And again- it was FREE!
On Thursdays they do not offer dinner, but they do offer free cookies in the lobby. These cookies had to be about an inch thick and maybe a 3 inch diameter! They were huge! Sugar and Oatmeal were the only varieties… I really wanted chocolate chip, but beggars cannot be choosers. The staff was trying to get people to take as many as possible. I also managed to come down when a fresh batch was being delivered- yay! I liked the Oatmeal the best. The next day a lady in the elevator was raving about the sugar ones. They were very good, and again, emphasis on free!
The hotel offers room service and the offerings are not nearly as expensive as they were at the Sofitel where I had been 2 weeks earlier. In addition to room service, there were restaurant menus in the hotel’s welcome book/binder. I ordered from Jerry’s Pizza and Subs and they delivered to my room. I ordered a personal crab meat pizza and salad… very good. I had to order something else to get my total up above $10 as that is the minimum for delivery… how often does it happen that you have to struggle to reach $10, especially in DC?
On my last day in DC, I scheduled a late evening return flight so that I could take in a few sights before I left. I arranged to meet a friend at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The hotel stored my luggage for me. I took the metro to the museum and back. Upon my return, the hotel ordered a cab for me. Oddly, the cabbie did not give me a receipt. I asked how much and he said, about $20. He did not take credit cards, so I had to go to the 2nd floor ATM to get cash out. (It only cost 15+ tip on the way from the airport, but this was more of a TownCar and less like a standard cab, but I digress.)
So, before or after all the freebies, you can walk up the hill (a 2 block hill, no less) to the AMC theater for a movie or to the metro to sightsee.
The Metro…. This was my first time experiencing this DC wonder. On my first day, I had to go into the office, which is near the White House and right next to a metro station, so I knew I could get there via metro (used the website for directions). I did not know where the station was so I asked the clerk at the front desk how to get to the metro. She said to go left for 2 blocks and it was across the street from the courthouse… kinda vague and I didn’t know where the courthouse was. She also failed to mention the 2 blocks were up that hill, but I knew… Here are directions to the Metro. Once you find it the first time, you can find a little bit of a shortcut by cutting across a courtyard and parking lot. (Exit hotel, turn left, go 2 blocks. Jerry’s Subs and Pizza shop will be directly in front of you, across the street. Do not cross the street. Turn left for about half a block and you will see a random elevator box and shaft that leads to the metro tunnel. Take the elevator down. When you exit at the bottom, turn right and walk until you come to an intersection. Turn left at the intersection toward the escalators leading down to the trains- someone may be singing opera here… also, there will be signs above you pointing you to in the correct direction.
The hotel is convenient to several restaurants and eateries, including a Subway, Courthouse Deli, another restaurant below the Deli that I do not remember the name of, and numerous other restaurants including… Jerry’s- which I thoroughly enjoyed twice!
I did have a complaint now that I think about it. There was no dishwashing liquid. They had Cascade for the dishwasher, but nothing for the sink, so I could not effectively wash out the coffee mugs or the coffee pot. And the little packets of coffee that come with 2 sugar, 2 creamers, and 2 saccharine packets are insufficient for my coffee or tea. Take hot chocolate from the breakfast area upstairs instead! I always brought my breakfast down to my room. Not sure if you are supposed to or not, but I did, as I was usually pressed for time. And there was not a heck of a lot of seating.
So the hotel is in a great area, the room was laid out well, the facilities were nice. The bathroom, heck the whole room was quite large… definitely a suite for the price of a regular room. This seems to have been an older hotel that went through a recent refurbishment. It is not a 4 star hotel. It is more like a 3.5 star hotel. So based on other hotels of that stature, I would rate this near the top. I think it is excellent for what it is, offers exceptional value for the DC area, and a very helpful staff. Did I mention the freebies?
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- Also Known As:
- Residence Court Hotel Arlington
- Residence Court Arlington