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staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

Which Washington DC hotels are on sale?
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NJ
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staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

My wife and I are planning on visiting DC this April for 3 nights. We haven't been there in 30 years since we were kids. Don't know if its a better choice for us to pay the higher prices for hotels in DC and walk to attractions or if we should stay outside of DC and take metro in. Our kids are 9 years, 7 years, and 18 months old. I am not interested in staying outside of DC and driving in every day (and not dealing with traffic, directions, and parking).

Washington DC...
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1. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

If you start reading some of the dozens of topics on this forum about choosing a hotel you will find that there are many choices of hotels in close-by areas like Crystal City and Rosslyn with a bit cheaper prices (usually) and easy access. But with a young child, staying where you can get back to your hotel for a nap quickly is a plus.

NJ
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2. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

I was thinking the same thing regarding nap time. If it wasn't for that it would be a much easier decision.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

Also, I wouldn't too quickly classify DC hotels as more expensive than near-in suburban ones. Even in a popular month like April, if you diligently search you can often find deals in DC itself.

I don't know what your budget is, but a quick seach on Travelocity for a weekend in mid-April shows the Grand Hyatt Metro Center (great location as a base of operations for tourism stuff) for $116 or $129; a junior suite at the St. Gregory, also a pretty good location and a very nice hotel (I've stayed there) with 2 double beds and a sofabed for $244.53...the Penn Quarter/Metro Center areas are the in-DC areas I usually suggest as best for visitors, esp. first-time visitors; Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom are appealing too. Other neighborhoods can be good too - those are just the easy choices/low-hanging fruit that give you easy walking access to lots of sights.

Keep in mind that there is often a lot of track maintenance work going on on the Metro system on the weekends so your trip can be delayed quite a bit. Not a reason not to take Metro or to rule out near-in suburbs (and even if your hotel is in DC, you may be taking Metro) - just an FYI. On weekdays, by contrast, the Metro generally works well and is a great way to get around town quickly.

Welcome in advance to DC - April is a great time to visit! :)

NJ
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4. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

For the dates I wish to travel, the closest it appears that I can get for a room rate of under $175 is 6 miles from the center of DC. Is this about right?

The issue with the nap gets magnified because April 1st in DC is not exactly summer-like weather and my 18 month old daughter would likely not want to nap in her stroller as we continue to see the sites.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

What are your dates? And where is the 6 miles being measured from - the Capitol? The Capitol is the "center" of the DC quadrants (NW, SW, NE, SE) but not necessarily the "center" of where you would want to be as a tourist. (Capitol Hill can be a fine place to stay and explore - I just think of downtown DC, quite a bit west of the Capitol, as more of the "center.")

On Expedia for April 19-22, for instance, I see $152 at the Grand Hyatt, $175 for the Marriott Courtyard Convention Center (which is actually not right by the convention center - it's in an even better location, in the heart of Penn Quarter kitty-corner from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and walkable to the Mall).

NJ
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6. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

Arriving Apr 1st for three nights.

Grand Hyatt on their website is telling me:

"The number of adults and/or children you have selected exceeds the maximum allowed per room. "

I get the same message when I enter two children instead of three.

When I select one child I am given the lowest rate of $315, which is only for 1 queen bed.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

Ahh, weekdays tend to be more expensive b/c the hotels know they can charge more for the business travellers. :(

But I do see on One Washington Circle's site that they have 1-br suites (with queen sleeper sofa) in the low-to-mid 200s - a little over your stated price range, but you do get a full kitchen. It's across Washington Circle from the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station (Blue/Orange), GWU Hospital and other GWU campus buildings, near Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, restaurants, etc. You can take numerous buses up and down K Street and taxis are plentiful. You can walk to Georgetown, Dupont Circle, the Kennedy Center (or take the free shuttle from the Foggy Bottom Metro) and lots of other places (depending on your capacity for walking). Some friends visiting me for Inaugural weekend stayed there and found it convenient.

Just one option to consider - not the be-all and end-all of hotel choices, but one example (and perhaps a hopeful sign that other options will exist).

NJ
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8. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

Suppose I were to stay outside DC...how could I get a list of hotels that are RIGHT BY a metro station. This way at least we could get to/from the hotel in a matter of minutes.

Alexandria, Virginia
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9. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

There is a a Hilton right on top of the Ballston station. I know because I used to live in the Condo's above it. Does anyone in your trip have access to corporate/AAA hotel rates? I've noticed that DC hotels drop quite a bit in non-peak times with those discount codes. I booked a room for the friend at the Westin (about a block away from the HIlton) for about $150 a night less than the regular price with my corporate rate.

Edited: 27 February 2013, 21:28
Alexandria, Virginia
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10. Re: staying in DC or outside of DC (with 3 kids)

Sorry, just to avoid confusion I said DC above, but Ballston is in Norther VA, about a 20 minute train ride to the white house stop with no changes.