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“Not the best choice in Washington”

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Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
Ranked #14 of 140 Hotels in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Not the best choice in Washington”
Reviewed 1 May 2009

This hotel might have water views but it has been built on land wedged between a freeway on one side and a freight railway line on another. It is also poorly soundproofed resulting in either traffic noise for the waterview rooms or freight train noise, including the horn sounding, for other rooms. Even when there is an otherwise quiet period, it is inevitably interrupted by noise in adjacent rooms or in the corridor. I did not sleep well on my first night due to road works on the freeway being performed all night long. The hotel should have known about this.

The service is patchy. On check-in at 6pm I was shown a nice room on a high floor with waterview and the Jefferson memorial in the distance. But after unpacking I was informed that I was being moved elsewhere due to someone else having reserved the room! The room they attempted to move me to was darker and in a less desirable wing with restricted views. I rejected the room and after much negotiation was "upgraded" to a suite in the same wing, but with only a King bed and not twin beds as booked. The roller bed was comfortable though.

There is only one bank of elevators serving both wings of the hotel, resulting in lengthy walks if you are in the wrong wing (like I was). The hotel also needs some up dating as far as soft furnishings. Also, one of the towels in my "suite" was threadbare. The gym is adequate and the pool is great. The breakfasts are ordinary 4 star fare.

Overall, the hotel is located on the wrong side of the Mall although it is in within easy walking distance of the Smithsonian Science museums.

I was on a amex platinum package, but the price was outrageous considering this hotel, despite its name, is no 5 star hotel.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank crdaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Florida
Level Contributor
136 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 424 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2009

Stayed at the MO in DC overnight midweek. The bell staff were incredibly gracious, after chatting on the way to our room our bellman called the front desk and asked for a better room. A better room was provided promptly. The bellman did this on his own accord after we mentioned which other MO's we have visited. The front desk staff were also gracious and provided hot towels at check in. Concierge was helpful too.

The room itself was nice with a great bathroom with separate tub and a large shower. The bed was very comfortable, the internet was fine (unlike other reviews say) though its cost $15/day, the decor was simple but elegant. The bath products were good.

We had drinks in the Empress/lobby lounge. The drinks were good, as was some food we had but the service was sluggish. The staff here seem annoyed at the world.

We missed breakfast but had a quick bite at a sandwich place next door.

Some downsides...

1. The location is far removed from most things. This would be an issue for tourists or those inclined to walk or take the metro.
2. There is noise from the trains and from jets going into Reagan National airport.
3. Price are high for everything and room prices are high for the inconvenient location and noise issue.

We booked a special rate from as an American Bar member at $295 midweek. That said for the quality of stay we had I can overlook the downsides. Of course, at published rates of $565+ I would be upset as there are better choices for those prices.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank FlyOneWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
266 reviews
261 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 553 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2009

Except for two points, we were very happy with this property. Very good location within 10 minute walk of the Mall, excellent food and beverage (although we thought the Cafe MoZu was better than the CityZen restaurant food), and service is friendly, although not always prompt. We had a suite and an adjoining room overlooking the water and the Jefferson Memorial and I liked its decoration. This was my first Mandarin Oriental experience.

Our main gripes were that it took until 6:30 for us to get our suite due to late checkout of an earlier guest. Also, when we checked in we asked for a baby crib. We were told it was being delivered and the bellman did request it. 15 minutes later I called housekeeping and they said they hadn't heard of the request. 15 minutes later I called again and made them confirm with a hallman that it was being delivered. 15 minutes later he showed up and said that the third call put into that department was the first he had heard of it. I mentioned this lapse to several people there on staff; I hope they deal with it. We were pissed because we lost an hour's nap and had to deal with our cranky kids for the rest of the day.

What I mean by friendly but not prompt service was that at afternoon tea, they ran out of several types of sandwiches on both ends of the buffet. I pointed this out to someone but nobody did anything. 10 minutes later I went and demanded it again at the kitchen door; about 5-10 minutes later the sandwiches came out. In a great hotel, it is not left for me to notice it or to demand it. And great hotels leave off the green stuff on the mashed potatos when you specifically ask room service to leave it off (ie: my kid doesn't like it).

We liked the free internet access at the ballroom level; the garden at the back of the hotel overlooking the marina; jazz in the lobby bar; excellent elevator service; the location; the room decor; the food and beverage; and the friendly bellstaff who went out of their way to be nice to the kids. I found the menus a bit funky for my taste and would like more stuff on it that I am used to if i were going to go to these hotels more often, but as a weekend adventure it was fine.

So this is not a hotel that is going to get top marks like a Peninsula in Hong Kong, but it is a very decent 5 star city hotel and we would return.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 649ic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Georgia
Level Contributor
47 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2009

If you expect the service and standards of a three star hotel when you check into the Mandarin in DC, you will be satisfied. However, if you anticipate an experience consistent with the five star reputation of this hotel, don't bother.

This is my third bad experience at this particular property and I feel obligated to warn others. From check-in, when they didn't have any record of the detailed notes from my Virtuoso agent to the Mandarin contact (which I had an e-mail copy of), to arguing with me that (1) they didn't know my family was traveling with me (a fact stated out in great detail in that e-mail which they apologized for missing) and (2) they didn't do turn-down because my do not disturb light was on (a light that went on after 8:30 pm), to the room that is a few years past the need for a renovation, to the untrained staff (an employee actually squeezed himself into an elevator with six people with a mini-fridge on his shoulders - hovering it over the heads of my children), to the check-out (when the bill was error-laden and we found that my kids were supposed to have received stuffed animals upon check-in), this hotel continued to disappoint. In fact, I had a running list of all the problems with my stay on the desk (things like - the clock was still not changed to standard time three weeks after we changed the clocks, no pen in the room, no trash can near the desk, etc. on this page long list) and the staff read my personal note! But even after eaves-reading, they didn't bother to correct the time on the clock.

I generally don't complain about a few shortcomings in a hotel, but this was so bad that we ended up talking to the staff a number of times about the problems. The result was deliveries of cookies, lots of cookies, repeated cookies, in fact, so many cookies that there will still 10 in the room when we checked out. Unfortunately, make-up cookies are no substitute for good service.

DC is a city full of great hotels - pick one of those and don't waste your money at the Mandarin.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AtlantaTraveler7740
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2009

(1) The room was located above the train tracks and there was constant noise throughout the night and day, which woke us up in the middle of the night. Sound proofing of the hotel was not done appropriately.
(2) The valet service returned our car covered with bird feces
(3) The bathroom had a very inconvenient shower - the water was not easily adjustable and the bathtub always filled up with water as the drain plug was right in the middle. The close-up mirror almost came out of the wall throughout the process.
(4) Lack of normal lunch menu on Sunday was quite disappointing, given that we had our daughter with us and the $65 buffet was not convenient or economic, and lack of ANY other immediate non-room service options was quite horrible.
(5) the cable for internet access did not work, we had to
dig up our own cable.

Definitely not five star.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MNML
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
315 reviews
125 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2009

Have just returned from a four night stay at the mardarin oriental. I was very impressed and was given top quality customer service throughout my stay.

Took taxi ride (around 55$ from dulles airport) after flight from uk.

checkin was very smooth, with receptionist coming out from behind the desk to chat face to face which i thought was a nice touch.

room was large, and very clean. had a 7th floor room, with view over city. i could see washington monument. (if i looked down i could see the rail track, and empty parking lot, although this was not a problem). beds were excellent, large choice of tv channels and wonderful bathroom - both shower and bath. again it was all very clean.

had breakfast at onsite resturant. great buffet, wonderful quality food (22$, so not the cheapest option). tables with view over tidal basin. my colleague also ate at the cityzen resturant for an evening meal, and again it was quality fare.

checkout was swift, and storage of bags no problem. took taxi back to airport again.

overall, this was a great stay, if you can get affordable rate. fully recommended. i will be back.

  • Liked — quality service
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank nickss1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 December 2008

Please let me begin by saying that this hotel is quite beautiful. Lovely rooms and bathrooms.

My problem with it was mainly the service. Not all of the service -- but some of the most important parts.

Basically it just seemed like the staff kept trying to shunt me off to the least desirable options -- for example, the lower-floor room next to the (loud) railway tracks or to the lonely table at the back of the restaurant. I found that I had to become a 'pesky customer' and continually _ask_ for them to give me the nicer options. At a hotel of this caliber and for the exorbitant rates I was paying, I just feel like they should have given me the 'good' options without me continually ask for them. That is the kind of service I would expect!

Otherwise, the service (in terms of the maids, waiters, doormen, etc.) was quite nice.

  • Liked — beautiful room
  • Disliked — spooty service
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank KHE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC

Property: Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
Address: 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC, DC 20024-2100
Phone Number:
Region: United States > District of Columbia > Washington DC
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Washington DC
#9 Luxury Hotel in Washington DC
#13 Business Hotel in Washington DC
#14 Green Hotel in Washington DC
#17 Family Hotel in Washington DC
#24 Romantic Hotel in Washington DC
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC 5*
Number of rooms: 373
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Summer is when the Nation’s Capital is most welcoming. Visitors can fill their itineraries with fun outdoor festivals, live concerts, thought-provoking museum exhibits, professional sports, along with some of the world’s most recognized monuments and the nation’s most cherished memorials. As Washington’s only hotel featuring views of the monuments and the water, Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC is at the center of everything. Now featuring dramatically refreshed luxury guestrooms, MO is located just steps from the Jefferson Memorial and the beautiful cherry tree-lined Tidal Basin. Our honored guests also enjoy very short walks to the National Mall, museums of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington Monument, and the White House. Business travelers will appreciate swift transfers between Ronald Reagan National Airport, Union Station, U.S. Capitol, and House and Senate Office Buildings. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is famous for providing legendary service, excellent dining, arresting design, and immersive spas that rejuvenate body and mind. Our hotel presents you with an experience that is uniquely Washington and always mindful of our oriental heritage. Are you a fan? ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mandarin Oriental, Washington d.c. Hotel Washington Dc
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Washington Dc
Mandarin Oriental Washington Dc
Mandarin Washington Dc
Washington Dc Mandarin Oriental

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