A couple of weekends ago, my wife and I traveled down to Washington DC with another couple for a little relaxation. We flew down on a promo fare from Southwest that had cost us 4,200 Rapid Reward points each (VERY cheap!) and stayed for two nights at the W Washington DC Hotel – a SPG hotel. Here is a little review of it. Sorry for the lack of photos 🙁
W Washington DC Hotel
- 515 15th St. NW, Washington DC 20004
- Across the street from the White House
- SPG Category 5
- Cash & Points 6,000 Starpoints and $110
- Award Nights – 12,000 – 16,000 Starpoints / night
We chose DC because of the Southwest Airlines fare sale and we knew we wanted to stay at a SPG because of our points that we had in common. We were able to get our rooms for 28,000 Starpoints for the two nights we stayed there because of the higher rate on one of the nights. At the time, the room cost was $397 total each night so this put our Starpoint value at 2.8 cents per point. That is higher than what I deem to be a minimum, so it was a good redemption. Especially since I would never pay that much for a hotel room. 🙂
Lobby and Welcome
We arrived from BWI via the MARC train and the metro. That was very convenient and inexpensive – keep it in mind as a transportation method to get to DC from Baltimore! When we arrived at the hotel, we went to the check-in counter. My friend is not a SPG elite member while I am a SPG Gold member so I was curious to see if there was any difference in the way we were treated or rooms we were given. Due to a hometown connection, my very kind representative gave y wife and I two breakfast vouchers for the restaurant, the J&G Restaurant. I was also given a one-room upgrade from the reservation we had as a Wonderful King to a Spectacular King room. My friend got the Wonderful King. It appeared the major difference between the two rooms was the view – our room had a view of the Treasury Building (in the White House complex).
The lobby was quite spacious, colorful and pleasant. We did hang out there a little bit each day with the complimentary coffee that they offered throughout the day. It was a very nice place to sit and chat. That cannot be said about every hotel lobby I have stayed in!
We were in a hurry when we checked-in, so I had not taken the photos before we settled in. The photos below are from the W’s website. It was a very comfortable room with a generous sink and mirror across from the bathroom. The bathroom had a spacious shower with a great shower head (which is extra-appreciated by people who come from a well at home!). There was a small leather lounge couch that was comfortable yet did not seem to be as deep sitting as it could have been. The king-size bed was excellent. It was lower to the ground than you would normally find such a bed but not strangely so. The room overall was simply decorated yet very comfortable.
I have stayed in Washington DC many times before, but this was the first time I stayed downtown. I have normally stayed in Georgetown or Dupont Circle, so it was really convenient to stay this close to everything. We have seen everything down there before and this trip was about relaxing so it was nice to be able to just walk into our hotel in the afternoon for a rest instead of having to take a metro train to get there. The White House entrance area was visible from our hotel entrance. That is really cool! I did get to go out one morning for a run and it was a beautiful route right from the front door! I did a 7 mile run that encompassed the Tidal Basin, the White House, all of the memorials, and some of the Smithsonian Museums. It is a truly beautiful place for a run and one that I thoroughly enjoyed!
There are several fine restaurants within walking distance of the hotel (after all, the White House is within walking distance of the hotel!). Also, the lounge on the roof, the POV, is known to be one of the most popular places on the weekends. In fact, the Friday night we were there was the night before the White House Correspondents Dinner so the New Yorker was hosting a party in our hotel. We had to show our key cards to get past the ropes upon entering the hotel that evening and the elevator would only go the floors that our rooms were on.
On Friday afternoon when we were returning the to the hotel, I saw what looked like a running race staging area being assembled. Of course, this really intrigued me so I asked one of the workers and found out it was the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon. This was taking place about 1/4 mile from our hotel! So, if anyone wants to run this race in the future, know that this hotel is perfectly situated!
On Friday, we used our vouchers to go to breakfast with our friends. Since we were planning on having a nice breakfast somewhere anyway, we just figured we would split the total tab. Three of us got the American breakfast ($20) and one of us got the Continental breakfast ($17). The voucher could be used on either one. This was my only real complaint about the stay. The waiter took my vouchers and applied one to the Continental breakfast and one to the American breakfast instead of doing the better thing of applying both to the American breakfast. You would think at a place like this that a waiter would be eager to please the guests, especially when it is not costing them anything and that taking initiative like that would prompt a nice tip. Of course, doing it the way he did it could prompt the opposite :). It was a nice breakfast but certainly not one for which I would pay $20. You are definitely paying for the location and not the meal itself.
One highlight of the trip was seeing Joan Benoit Samuelson (first woman to ever win the Gold medal in the Olympic marathon – 1984) at breakfast and then again later going out for a run. She is a very pleasant woman and I only wish I could have gone for a run with her!
Unfortunately, if you plan on departing on Saturday, the MARC train does not run on weekends so that cheap, easy way to get to the Baltimore airport is out. You can still take the bus, metros, Amtrak, etc. However, we took the SuperShuttle. It cost only $2 more per person than doing multiple legs of public transportation and we were picked up at our front door and dropped off at our terminal. I highly recommend the SuperShuttle given the ease of the transportation and that you can pay for it on your phone as well as including the tip before you step on the van.
Getting the points
As I mentioned, we stayed there for a total of 28,000 Starpoints. If we did a Cash&Points stay, it would have cost us $220 and 12,000 Starpoints total for the two nights. To me, the 28,000 Starpoints was an excellent redemption and one I would do again. If you sign up for either the business or personal American Express SPG card, you will receive 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase and an additional 15,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months of card membership. That makes for a total of 30,000 Starpoints that you will have after meeting the spend requirements. That easily covers two nights at this great hotel. If you are looking to run in one of the area’s fine races, such as the National Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, the Army 10 Miler, or the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, the W Washington DC Hotel would make a fantastic race base for you. If you are interested in getting either of these cards, you can click the Apply links below. If you choose to do that, I do get a commission for that if you are approved through those links. Should you do that, please know that I greatly appreciate it!
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