I was attending a conference nearby and decided to stay at this Embassy Suites hotel for five nights in August 2014. Boy, what a mistake that was.
As a Hilton HHonors Gold level member, I stay with Hilton portfolio properties whenever I can, to ensure a consistent experience with a certain level of recognition. Additionally, as an entrepreneur, I pay careful attention to my travel expenses as they come out of my own pocket. I'm looking for a good value and a great experience that won’t break the bank.
This Embassy Suites property did not deliver on any of these counts. From the moment you step inside, it's clear this is a hotel without a heart, geared towards families. The staff is cold, unfriendly, and run ragged from dealing with parents and kids all day long. Not a single “hello,” “how are you,” or “how are you enjoying your stay,” from any of the staff members I walked past through out my stay (one exception being a member of the housekeeping staff). Some employees even seemed to avoid eye-contact as guests passed by, including with me.
The lobby, while modern, is showing it’s age from wear-and-tear. Just touch a door handle or enter the elevator and you’ll see what I mean. Sticky fingerprints from children on mirrors/walls and crumbs/small debris littering the floor, for example.
The rooms don’t fair much better. There were general maintenance issues: stained lampshades, a broken electrical outlet plate, and a non-functioning refrigerator. The one upside is that the king bed is pretty comfortable.
But even if you can see past that, you won’t like the noise issues. I experienced lots of noise coming from adjoining rooms and from the hall. Management has tried to fix the issue by instituting evening quiet hours. But let’s be honest, a sign asking for guests to be quite doesn’t really work in a hotel over-run with families. There needs to be physical additions to the hallways, like acoustical panels and heavier doors to dampen noise.
The breakfast buffet was absolutely abysmal for many reasons. “A” for effort, “F” for execution. The selection is vast, but the layout, organization, and delivery were just terrible. Not to mention some quality issues with the food and drinks.
There’s little thought put into how the line should flow, where guests should stand, how things should be arranged. Coffee is located on the other side of the service bar from the cream and sugar, for example. The self-service hot bar is not clearly labeled and is sometimes full-service, sometimes not.
Most glaringly, the omelet station was staffed by employees who were completely overwhelmed. Production volume trumped care and hospitality. There was only one female chef at the station who took the time to show warmth and engage in conversation. The others just yelled orders to staff and barked ordering-related questions to customers, without a smile. Not a great first impression in the morning for a guest.
The quality of the food and drink are no better than what you would find at Denny's. Overly-runny eggs, overcooked sausage, undercooked pancakes, and juice from concentrate. The coffee was absolutely terrible too.
The dining room was a zoo as well with many un-bused tables and an inattentive staff. Additionally, I was confused as to whether we should bus our own tables or not, due to a lack of guidance.
The key here is to get to the breakfast area before 7:30am, or it’s game over. When the patience of the staff reaches the boiling point because of the volume of business, guests become harried and frantic as well. Not a great combination.
The evening reception was equally concerning. Held in a bar area that was way too small for the volume of customers waiting to be served. I didn’t even try to get a drink, given the line. But I did take a passing glance at the snack bar. The reception is basically drinks and crackers, served with a side of long wait times.
Bottom line, this property has many small problems that added up to a big problem. The staff here is going through the motions, but not understanding what Hilton’s brand of hospitality means. Basically, there’s a lack of care, warmth, and understanding of front-line “soft skills” that’s oh-so-important at hotels.
This was my first (and probably last) time at an Embassy Suites. I’ve taken to calling it the "Embarrassing Suites," given how many service issues I observed and experienced. I have visited Hampton Inn’s and Hilton Garden Inn's (lower price point Hilton portfolio hotels) and have received much better service and hospitality than here. I openly wonder if my experience was in line with the brand standard and expectations, as described in Hilton’s brand handbook.
To an occasional traveler, it’s would be easy to give this property a pass. After all, the service here would probably meet the expectations of a leisure traveler with a family. But to me, as a perceptive business traveler with an eye on value, service, hospitality, and loyalty recognition, this property doesn’t make the cut.
If it weren’t for the two-room suites and the location, I doubt this property would see as much business as it does today. I am very disappointed and will stay away from Embassy Suites in the future, but not from other Hilton portfolio hotels.
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- Also Known As:
- Embassy Suites Washington Hotel Washington Dc
- Embassy Suites Washington Dc
- Washington Dc Embassy Suites