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I recently had a one night stay pop up in the Washington DC area, so I got to pick a hotel to visit at for the night. I always find it to be a really fun task to pick a hotel since it gives me a chance to either revisit an old favorite, try out a new place, or maximize a hotel promotion that is out there. In this case, I was coming fresh off a stay at the Park Hyatt Chicago, and while I had a slight hiccup on that stay with the Diamond room service breakfast, I still very much enjoyed the hotel and wanted to try another Park Hyatt. When I checked and found that the Park Hyatt Washington had award availability for the night I needed, I transferred some Chase Ultimate Reward points to bring my Hyatt account to necessary 22,000 points for this Category 6 Hyatt and I booked the room. There were corporate and government rates that were fairly affordable for the night I needed, but the “best available” rate and AAA rate were both $500+, and that wasn’t going to happen, hence the decision to use points.
The Park Hyatt Washington is located in the West End section of DC very close to George Washington University. It isn’t the closest hotel to the main tourist attractions, but it is a little under two miles to the White House, so it certainly isn’t very far. The closest Metro is the Foggy Bottom/George Washington University Station that services the Orange and Blue lines. The Metro is a few minutes walk from the hotel. The Park Hyatt Washington is less than five miles from Reagan National Airport.
Here is a shot of the entry into the hotel and a shot of the street the hotel is located on.
The Lobby and Check-in:
The hotel has a very simple, but comfortable decor. For example, while it feels very “fancy” and modern, there are still rocking chairs placed around the property. I loved the cherry blossom mural! There were always people at the door to help with your bags, to get a cab, etc.
The check-in process took a little longer than normal as there were people scrambling all around the property when I got there. There must have been some sort of function going on as employees in suits were zig-zagging all around the place. They did apologize for the slight delay in helping me check in. When I booked the room, I had selected to get an “e-Standby” upgrade for an Executive Suite if it was available for a little over $100, and at check-in I was informed that it was available. There was no real reason I needed the suite, but I knew I would be in the room working a bunch while I was there, so the idea of having an actual table and more room to spread out was appealing.
The only real negative to the check-in experience was being told that the Diamond breakfast is restricted to the “American Breakfast”, and was only available in the restaurant, and not via room service. I asked what would happen if I wanted a different item for breakfast, and I was told that I would then be charged for my order, and the breakfast benefit would not apply. This was the first time I had encountered a Hyatt that told me I was restricted to a specific menu item, so I tried to not be disappointed like a spoiled over-entitled Diamond member, but I was a little bummed (however this turned out to not be the case).
I was proactively offered 4PM late check-out and asked if I wanted the points or food and beverage amenity. The food and beverage options seemed to include wine and cheese or apple pie. To be honest I couldn’t totally understand what the options were, but apple pie from the Blue Duck Tavern Restaurant was definitely one of the choices on the list. I opted just to get points as I already had plans for a big dinner, but I did order the apple pie later for desert to see if it was worthy of being an amenity. 😉
I got a good laugh out of some of the elevators having benches where you could sit while riding up to your floor! I didn’t try out the bench, but I am sure it is helpful for some who have mobility issues (or are just carrying lots of kids or luggage).
The Park Executive Suite:
The floors at this hotel are not just one long hallway like at some hotels, but they curve around a bit.
Once I opened the door to my suite, I immediately knew that my $100-ish investment to upgrade was a good decision. This 1000+ square foot suite was awesome! First there was a little dining/work table directly in front when you walk in. The table was located right next to a wall outlet, so I was able to plug in all my electronic gear.
To the right there was a living room with the longest couch I have ever seen in my life. It was almost strangely long, but would be a great place for an older kid or two to sleep. Heck it would probably fit two adults end to end.
There was a flat screen TV and half-bath also located in the living room portion of the suite.
The bedroom was located on the opposite side of the entryway as the living room, and it had a real door that could be closed if necessary. True suites are super important if you have a younger child who needs to nap. With a real door, you can actually carry on during nap time without having to whisper or play “the quiet game”.
I personally found the bed to be a little firm, but I’m not really overly picky about those sorts of things. The sheets and comforter were great! The only downside for me with the bedroom (and rest of the suite for that matter) was trying to figure out how to turn all the lights out. There were a couple lights I actually never did figure out, but that is probably due to my own mental challenges. The black-out curtains blocked about 90-95% of the light, so I was able to get a little sleep after the sun came up, which was a good thing.
The bathroom alone was worth the cost of admission to the suite. It was amazing.
It had two robes and pairs of slippers, which sounds simple, but so many hotels either don’t have a robe at all, or they only have one. I didn’t need two on this trip, but it is always a plus when traveling with a family that each adult has access to their own robe.
The sink, closet, and toilet were all more than fine, but it is the shower/bathtub combo that really impressed me.
If my daughter had been with me, I am certain she would have called this space her “castle”. I think she would have played in the shower area for the duration of the trip…which would have worked great until I used the shower and it got wet and slippery!
This tub filled up quicker than any other tub I have ever seen, so just factor that in if you do other things while running the water. I got pretty close to over-flowing the tub since it filled so quickly. It was so relaxing though – it felt like I was in a spa!
The bathroom and the suite were so nice, I really wished my family had been there to share with, but at least I know for next time that they will certainly love this type of room at the Park Hyatt Washington.
One of the reasons I wanted to try this hotel is I had heard so much about it’s on-site restaurant, the Blue Duck Tavern, and I love being able to earn hotel points at good restaurants. You earn not only more hotel points for the dinner bill, but then when you go to pay for the hotel bill (assuming you charged it to your room), you then can use a card that maximizes hotel charges to earn even more points. It’s basically a win/win. I was lucky enough that Gary from View From the Wing and his wife were able to join me for dinner.
Getting a reservation at this restaurant proved to be a bit of a challenge as there was no availability at a normal dinner time either through OpenTable.com or via calling the restaurant directly. However, I contacted the Park Hyatt concierge via the the e-Concierge option on the Hyatt website and was able to get a reservation at a normal dinner time. I was pretty excited about that since I had almost given up. The only downside was the email I got back from the concierge said the reservation was at 6:00PM, while the restaurant had us down at 6:30PM. I found this out when the restaurant called a few days before to confirm the reservation, but sounds like there was a communication slip-up there.
The restaurant was very elegant, but also very dark, so the pictures are even a little worse than normal!
The restaurant sources local food whenever possible, which I think is great. They advertize the dishes as somewhat family style, but the three of us pretty much ordered our own courses. I had the apple and endive salad as an appetizer. The apple fritters in the salad were delicious!
My main course was the Maine sea scallops. We don’t have any restaurant where I live that offers sea scallops, so I almost always order them when they are a choice on the menu. It was more food than I needed for just myself, but I enjoyed every bite I could fit in my mouth.
You order the sides separately and we had brussel sprouts, fries, and roasted vegetables. I personally liked the salad and entree better than the sides, but the sides were still way better than pretty much anything I could get in my hometown.
Even though I wasn’t really hungry anymore, I had to at least try the apple pie that is offered as a food/beverage amenity option for Diamond members. It was indeed very delicious -especially with a little bit of vanilla ice cream. This is by no means an inexpensive place to eat dinner. I did see some kids there, but I personally would save this restaurant for “adult” dinners where you can take your time and enjoy. Our meal lasted between two and three hours, and my daughter would have lasted no where near that long.
A more affordable way to try out Blue Duck Tavern is to visit the restaurant for breakfast. Despite being told that my complimentary Diamond breakfast was restricted to the American breakfast, the waiter informed me I could order anything on the menu up to the price of the American breakfast ($32). Anything over that would be on my own tab.
I selected fresh orange juice and the jumbo lump crabmeat with egg whites, spinach, avocado, cream cheese, and multi-grain bread. It was $15, so well under the $32 limit, and it was a memorable breakfast to say the least. It kept me full until late in the afternoon, so it counted as breakfast and lunch! There were many more kids in the restaurant at breakfast time, and I would not hesitate to bring my daughter there for breakfast. It is a more laid back atmosphere, more affordable, and the food comes out much quicker than at dinner. Since it was below the $32 minimum, a bill wasn’t even presented for me to sign. Very nice!
Overall my stay at the Park Hyatt Washington was really fantastic, and I would not hesitate to return if the price was right, or I had another 22,0000 Hyatt or Ultimate Reward points to utilize.
Have you been to this hotel? What did you think?