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Kimpton Donovan Hotel
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Reviewed 25 November 2013

This past weekend, I was in town for a friend's surprise birthday party. I booked a room at the Donovan House on a recommendation from my friend to try one of the Kimpton hotels. I travel frequently to NYC and I was thrilled with the service, room, and location - especially given the price.

I booked directly through the website and was able to select early check-in. If you're looking to do early check-in, that typically means a 10 a.m. check-in time instead of 3 p.m. We arrived around 9 a.m.; though our room wasn't ready yet, Joon was super helpful in arranging for our bags to be held and offered some tips about the wine hour later on. We went out exploring and returned around 11:30 a.m. and were able to check in at that time.

If you're a Kimpton InTouch member, you'll get free WiFi and a $10 minibar credit, which is nice. We booked a king room and loved the platform bed, simple/modern furnishings, plentiful outlets, and vantage point on the 6th floor. The shower is a little strange in that it has no shower curtain or door, but instead it's a swirling tube-like shower where the water stays contained in the middle. Not bad but it meant you might be a little chilly the moment you step out of the shower stream since the steam doesn't stay trapped in with you.

The next morning it was easy to check our bags before heading out to brunch. We returned and managed to get out the door without a problem. One of the Donovan House staff was even able to secure a town car for us to get to DCA at a flat rate of $20, which was nice since we were running late and the Metro trains were on a construction delay over the weekend.

Overall I would definitely stay here again. Joon was incredibly helpful and I'm curious to check out the sushi restaurant associated with the Donovan House. Even housekeeping staff that we ran into in the elevator asked us how we were liking our stay, and I appreciated that.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank jesstg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abe L, Assistant General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2013

Hi jesstg,

Thanks for your review.

What a wonderful testimonial for us! Sounds like just a great stay. I appreciate you sharing this with the TripAdvisor community.

Cheers,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

So in fairness I probably should have checked into this more but one 'feature' about the hotel is that it's pet friendly. While some people would see this as a plus or a non-issue I found it to be a problem. The room had a small but noticeable pet pee smell. The carpet was stained and the bed was damaged. The furniture was very cheap but ok for the price. The shower was spacious but the shower head was awful (low pressure and very compact). The rooms had decent but not fantastic sound proofing (I think it was the connecting room door) What saved this from a one star was the fact that the staff was by and large very pleasant. The free wine from 5-6 was fun and the restaurant was great (I would recommend it even if not staying here). While the price was very reasonable and the location was good there are a lot of hotels in this area and I would have paid a few dollars a night more for a room that was not destroyed by someone's puppy and had a better shower head.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank JaK_travels7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abe L, Assistant General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 December 2013

Hi JamesK_travels,

Thanks for your review.

Yikes, sorry to hear about your experience. We are indeed a Pet Friendly Hotel, but there are specific cleaning methods employed after each furry friend "checks out". I'm sorry to hear about the stain in the carpet, I assure you it was just that. Something positive to look forward to, we have an extensive rooms renovation starting in December that should address all wear and tear issues in the room.

Hopefully you'll give us another chance after the upgrade?

Cheers,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager

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Reviewed 22 November 2013

I anxiously looked forward to my DC trip knowing I had snagged the Donovan House, which is in a great location for sights and transportation -- plus has such a great rep on Trip Advisor. Plus I'm someone who is able to land hotels from opaque travel sites with great success knowing the hotel in advance -- kinda targeted the Donovan House for that reason and it was available.

From check-in through the room through my stay so far, boy was this a total "180" of what the hotel is really all about. Think of a Holiday Inn (this is a former Holiday Inn) converted to chic decor furnished by, say, Ikea. Lipstick on the pig -- doesn't matter if the lobby is 4-star, how about the room and guest comfort? in some respects, an upscale hostel kind of room especially based on the bed.

First impressions weren't great. I arrived early (130ish) on my check-in day, and was told to come back after 3, so I did some sightseeing and lunch and gladly came back toward 5. Had left my luggage in the meantime and was alarmed at the time that they'd just leave it sitting in the lobby where anyone (with distracted front desk person) could grab it. Was told that the concierge guy was busy and would eventually secure my luggage. Then I came back at 5 to get my luggage -- yes after being up since 4 a.m. to travel I wanted it in-hand before I headed up to the room -- front desk said they could bring it up (I wanted it then before i went to room) and went to get it, except it was the wrong bag. As I was waiting the normal concierge guy (who was asked re bags) asked if he could call me a cab -- no I just want my freaking luggage please. So things got off on a wrong foot to be honest. (I'm not hard to please -- usually I write complimentary reviews.)

Then I get to the room, expecting a comfy bed at least. You had to wait forever for the elevator -- only 1 or 2 of the 3 are in service and 1 also doubles as a freight/housekeeping/room service elevator (4-stars huh?). So expect delays.

In the room, Kimpton was so cheap to plop a queen mattress on a bed base that looked all chic. The bed is literally 2 feet off the ground ala a futon -- wooden base, then a base size of queen bed and queen mattress (yeah that's a 4-star hotel?). Mattress isn't very comfy either (having back-shoulder problems after 1-2 nights now). Then I go to reach for a nightstand, which is on an Ikea-like table just a foot off the ground. And the the sheets by the pillow have dried blood or excrement marks (red to brown) -- yes they appear not to be fresh and to have been washed but, geez, 4-star hotels have proper checks/balances to avoid that at all costs.

Want a light near the bed? Go crawling toward the ground for the switch. No chair or table in the room because the remodel to chic included extended the shower into the room space. Of course in the bathroom is a 1-foot by 3-foot odimon that should be in the room but hey some designer thought it looks pretty in the freaking bathroom.The overall decor is bland, drab, with no artwork whatsover. Brown and white walls, light brown low-end, worn carpet.

Also is there any hotel guide of services? No! Only pandering advertisements to make the Hotel Donovan additional revenue. Obnoxious honor bar, with snacks and beverages -- that one can buy for 1/5th the price across the street at the 24/7 CVS. A discount card for the restaurant, an ad for breakfast room service. No info on checkout time, no info on guest services or business center. I have no idea what the metal key is for -- the lock in the frig with beverages pushes in if the key is tried (and the frig was already unlocked).

The hotel emphasis on green is at the expense of guest comfort as well. Heating-cooling system doesnt work effectively...you have to either freeze or heat your room to an extreme to be assured it's warmer or colder and then turn it off. Rounded shower is cute, but cheap fiberglass into the room where if two friends were staying, the outline of one naked showering would be illuminated for the other. The water pressure is beyond awful, just very light overheard stream that ensures discomfort of you wash your hair and cant rinse it fully as a result. The TP is what you would find in a fast food restaurant -- sandpaper one-ply (again guest comfort losing to "save the environment"). And finally, if you need ice, you have to request it through room service at the cost of feeling obligated to tip the delivery person -- that's absolutely crap! -- and again this is Not stated anywhere (you just have to figure it out for yourself).

To summarize, a 3-star at best boutique hotel with cool lobby that wants you to believe its spy theme is art deco across the whole hotel and skimps on guest comfort from bedding to basic furniture and bathroom. Yes, I did get a quieter room as asked if possible, yes the towels are great, the location is convenient...but I will avoid staying at this hotel (to the point of canceling a trip if only one available) the next time I am back in DC.

Room Tip: Beds are not comfy and are more like futons
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank FairmindedTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abe L, Assistant General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 25 November 2013

Hi FairmindedTraveler,

Thanks for your review.

OUCH! This one really stings. You make a good point about the condition, luckily we are addressing this with a rooms renovation starting next month. As for the design, I guess the best response is the "cup of tea" saying. Likewise, I hear many travelers compliment the property on it's sleek, minimalist design. Lastly, I didn't read in the review you contacting us during your stay. I sure would have liked a chance to address some of these challenges. If you have time, please contact me at Abe.liao@donovanhousehotel.com.

I appreciate your time,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 November 2013

My boyfriend is a huge James Bond fan so I knew Donovan House would be the ideal hotel for our recent Bond themed weekend. I have stayed in many Kimpton hotels before, but I was still blown away by the outstanding service provided by EACH and EVERY staff member we encountered. I had emailed ahead to let them know Bond was the theme of the weekend and they were happy co-conspirators. They even had a special note waiting for "Agent Bond" at check-in!

We received an upgrade to a King Premier at check-in and our room had a phenomenal view of Thomas Circle. The bathroom was very large and the deep soaker tub was a delight after an evening in heels.

We had a quick bite to eat in Zentan, the hotel restaurant, before heading out for the evening and enjoyed delicious sushi with Bond-themed names (007, Goldeneye and Octopussy). Knowledgeable servers and excellent food.

Can't say enough good things about this hotel! I would definitely stay there again!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Wandering_N0T_Lost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abe L, Assistant General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 21 November 2013

Hi Wandering_N0T_Lost,

Thanks so much for your TripAdvisor Review.

What an awesome stay! Really appreciate you sharing the love for the entire traveling community to see. James Bond, every guy wants to be him!

Vesper Out,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

Donovan House is a spy-themed boutique hotel which offers its in-Touch members free wifi, a welcome drink and a USD10 credit for its mini-bar food and beverage items, which guests can gain access with a secret note and key. The room and the bathroom are designed with a very chic modern look and the various light fixtures give it a secluded and yet calming ambiance. The arm chairs make one sit very stably and comfortably. The lounge in the hotel offers plenty of cushions and sitting space for guests to enjoy while sipping their morning tea and coffee. Uplifting chillout music is played throughout the hallways and lifts, which are well maintained with scented spray. All in all, the hotel adds a lot of creative touch and value to its facilities, and it makes the stay extremely pleasing and unforgettable.

Room Tip: Request for a high floor to enjoy the surrounding city view
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank jadeite9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abe L, Assistant General Manager at Kimpton Donovan Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 19 November 2013

Hi jadeite9,

Thank you so much for your review.

Unusual in the best of ways! Kimpton InTouch is our ridiculously personalized Guest Loyalty Program. Seems like you took advantage of all the perks and really enjoyed the atmosphere in our Hotel. We try and make it as welcoming as possible, but don't forget the awesome neighborhood that we're situated in.

See you soon,
Abe

Abe Liao
Assistant General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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