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“"Illusions"...Not Just a Hotel, but an Experience”

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The Mansion on O Street
Ranked #115 of 141 Hotels in Washington DC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
142 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“"Illusions"...Not Just a Hotel, but an Experience”
Reviewed 8 April 2012

We originally came to the Mansion using our Groupon to see the monthly drag show, 'Illusions'. From the moment we stepped inside, we were hit with many different illusions that were not just the entertainment we came to see. From the street, you enter what looks like a single rowhouse, but is actually 5 interconnected rowhouses, which would explain how you would get 100 rooms and is advertised as a hotel but could have fooled me from the street. Even if you do not stay here, it is worth the experience all the illusions this eclectic place presents.

If you love old books, antiques and vintage collections, you will love exploring the nooks and crannies in every room with the stuff that you would expect to find in antique shops. As a non-profit foundation, the sale of these items goes to further the creative efforts of artists.

If you see this place a museum, you will love the collectibles and art/photo displays. If you love to scavenger hunt, you can get lost through the maze of hallways and try to find the 32 hidden doors they say that exist. We only found 5. Who would have expected to find the wine cellar behind a hidden door in the kitchen.

We arrived early for the 'Illusions' show and had time to explore and was able to check out many of the rooms and suites. See the Mansion as a boutique hotel with each room with a different theme and fully decorated and not your standard cooky cutter hotel. Although we did not stay here, I would recommend the Mansion for anyone who like to experience unusual settings. The antique beds were inviting and plumped with pillows. The bathrooms are modern on par with high end hotels with a some of the bathrooms having total body shower systems and a couple suites had bathrooms larger than the the bedrooms they're attached to. We even saw a 2-story log cabin themed room. We saw notices posted that rooms were behind a wall or bookcase and would have to check these out on another visit.

You will have a different experience coming to the Mansion as an entertainment venue with every table decorated with an eclectic collection of furniture and brick-a-bracs. We came for the monthly 'Illusions' drag show, but will come back for other musical events. The appetizers are bite size (and were tasty), but don't expect to be filled up even when you order the required 3 choices for $15.00. A dinner menu is also available, but chose not order. The Mansion is conveniently located near Dupont Circle and the Metro.

Room Tip: Ask to see the rooms if you can. Arrive early to explore the Mansion if only coming for entertainm...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
4 Thank Carol210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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117 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Great Falls, VA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2012

Charming rooms in the heart of dc. Easy walk to the white house and Georgetown. Unforgettable experience of the best kind!!!!!!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank WillP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bedford, Texas
Level Contributor
21 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2012

I accompanied my wife to DC on a business trip and she decided to stay at the Mansion on O St. A very nice young man let us in the basement door and led us to a room filled with all sorts of stuff; a player piano, board games, books, furniture, a stack of scratched 42rpm records, etc. all for sale. We sat down and waited listening to Jimi Hendrix. And waited. And waited. Finally I wandered upstairs and found someone who was very apologetic and who showed us around the hotel and allowed us to pick out a room we liked which was a very nice touch! We settled on the Fireplace Suite which had a bedroom a small kitchenette and a rather large lounge area, all packed with the places trademark knickknacks plus hundreds of books. I must not forget to mention that we also got a free drink at the bar yay!

All in all we had a very nice time and Hillary is worth her weight in gold. Anytime we needed anything she was right on top of it and she really helped make our stay a very nice one. Now for the cons: Their site promises a FULL English Breakfast Mon-Fri. Maybe they were serving it behind one of the many hidden doors but I never saw it. In fact when we arrived at the 4th floor dining room at 7 am there was no coffee, milk or juice. Coffee we could manage on our own but we had to call down for milk etc. A sleepy woman appeared with everything soon enough and commented "You're up early!" Err, yes, work and stuff. Plenty of cereal but it seemed to have been there for ages and the ones I took were never replaced.

Our awesome suite was behind one of the famous secret doors and had no lock. To secure it from the outside you were supposed to put a giant bolt through the door and frame and trust in the "This room is occupied stay out" signs. I couldn't help but imagine everytime we were out however strangers rummaging through our stuff and wondering "how much is this?". There is a bolt on the inside but once I forgot to engage it and some woman came bursting through the door. I was in the middle of some nude gymnastics at the time so I don't know who was more suprised! I am kidding of course, but it was strange to find some stranger in my hotel room. "Oh, Hello!" Proper room locks with keys on all doors sounds reasonable.

On Sat-Mon they have tours so be prepared for people tramping up and down the stairs and possible trying to open your door at these times. On Monday they had a big party so there many drunk people up and down the stairs giggling and trying our door. The hallways are narrow with lots of pig pictures hung low. Navigating with a large suit case in very challenging. I mentioned our kitchnette with a four burner stove but did I mention no pots or pans? Great pool table on 4th floor but so covered with stuff for sale never got to play on it. Our room was so cluttered with stuff it was impossible for any one person to clean so very dusty and the microwave in the room was dirty.

So to some up' a great place for those who are in DC to have fun etc and who don't want a vanilla Marriott room. Business travelers, I would look elsewhere because as vanilla as the Marriott maybe they are going to have all the mod cons you are counting on to make your business trip go smoothly.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
6 Thank Mike M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 November 2011

OMG. This is the best place, on the planet! The magic. The creativity. The sense of hope around each corner. I was in D.C. on business. Used to live in D.C., but never heard of The Mansion. I am so glad my company put me up there. I want to tell everyone to stay there. To have their meetings there. To bring their friends and family there. And especially to come for the holidays. While I was there, they began decorating for Christmas. Wow. So, so magical and magnificent.

Room Tip: Everyone room is the perfect room. I got a tour of the rooms unoccupied when I arrived and it It wa...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Beth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
Level Contributor
82 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 November 2011

A very cool place, but definitely not for everyone. When I'm staying there, I feel more like I'm staying with family. Very relaxed, always interesting.

  • Stayed November 2011
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank Atlantis104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hadley, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
79 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2011

We've stayed there a few times: rather fascinating place! Some serious history, a great neighborhood, and all the conveniences of a highline inn or B&B. Breakfast spreads were very good. "P" Street a block away full of good eateries.
A collection of attached houses (with a newer addition in between historic homes), the Mansion has a range of different rooms and fascinating stuff throughout. Not cheap (but with some bargains), an interesting "different" site for camping out far from cookie-cutter hotels. The staff are professional, helpful, and unobtrusive. Extended stays would be a real treat. Parking can usually be arranged, but you need to tell the staff before check-in. Worth a visit for special food events! Excellent business facilities for road-warriors.

Room Tip: Some rooms in "new additions" are more modern; some upper rooms give a view of a nice DC r...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Phillylad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
43 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 September 2011

i really don't understand how there can be so many positive reviews...hence my title.

I only took a tour, and did not stay there, but I think my experience will be helpful for people looking for a hotel as well--hence my review. As a DC resident, I had actually never heard of this place before getting a deal on a "tour." By tour, I mean, I was allowed to walk around the place. I guess it was interesting to see, but I found it to be kind of nightmareish. It's very quirky. There are secret doors (though I found only one), everything is for sale, and the rooms are all themed. It will definitely provide a unique experience, if that's what you're after, but I can say with utmost confidence that you couldn't pay ME to stay there. From what I understand, some of the rooms are upwards of $500 per night. I find this ludicrous. To qualify my review, too, I will say I'm not a fan of B&Bs in general, but this was in the extreme.

Imagine, if you will, a packed to the gills antique store. Then, imagine this antique store is one of those antique meets junk stores that will sell anything from old Garfield mugs and random plastic toys to armoires. Then imagine the stuff for sale is all overpriced. Then imagine sleeping amongst this. There was a bit of a musty smell--as you'll have with old stuff piled from floor to ceiling--and I think some people were smoking too because there was a heavy cigarette smell in some places.

The bathrooms were mostly huge and clean and the beds looked comfortable. Most of the fixtures look like they could use updating--they're all circa 80s, I'm guessing--but at least they were clean. Other positives are the location--you don't get much better than Dupont Circle.

You might want to take a tour as a quirky activity, though I wouldn't probably again.

The overstimulation from all the stuff everywhere was a bit much, and at one point, I felt a bit sick. I'm trying not to be overdramatic, but I think you need to know what you're in for. I applaud the uniqueness, but it's not for everyone. Like me.

Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
Helpful?
13 Thank PlangalDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Mansion on O Street

Property: The Mansion on O Street
Address: 2020 O St NW, Washington DC, DC 20036-5912
Region: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC > Dupont Circle
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#85 Business Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — The Mansion on O Street 3*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With over 100 rooms and 70 secret doors, The Mansion is one of the most unique properties in the world. Conveniently located in historic Dupont Circle, within walking distance to Embassy Row and The Philips Collection - The Mansion offers short and long term lodging, world-class cuisine and an inspiring environment that will create lasting memories for everyone that visits. Our ever-changing spaces are ideal for executive lodging, meetings,retreats, private dining, receptions and more. The Mansion has 23 uniquely themed guest rooms, suites, and residences; a two story Log Cabin, John Lennon Suite, Safari room, a hidden wine cellar and more. Named a Washingtonian Magazine's Hidden Gem, The Mansion has been featured on the Travel Channel's "Mega Mansions" as well as numerous books, and magazines including National Geographic Traveler. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Mansion On o Street Hotel Washington Dc
Mansion On o Street Hotel

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