Philip and I stayed at this property at the start of our trip to the East coast in January 2013, and found the Mandarin Oriental Washington to be luxurious, welcoming and perfect in terms of location. It is very much a business oriented hotel, and in that regard shares a similarity with the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco in terms of its clientele, however, that being said the hotel would suit leisure travellers just as well due to its proximity to the vast majority of Washington DCs tourist attractions.
We arrived at the hotel after flying in from JFK following our transatlantic flight on British Airways, First Class, from London. We had elected to fly into Reagan via a domestic connection rather than flying direct to Dulles from the UK as the flight time was better, and the routing pretty much guaranteed us the New First product with British Airways. The domestic connection on American Eagle was functional rather than enjoyable, but given that the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC is only a five minute journey from Reagan then it seemed a worthwhile compromise.
The property is located at 1330 Maryland Ave, equidistant from the Smithsonian metro to the north and the Jefferson memorial to the west, which are both a five minute walk away. This is one of the hotels key selling points, it’s close proximity to all the major museums, the National Mall, monuments and government centres; however, despite being close to all of the above, the property remains a welcome retreat from the capital should you wish it to be.
Upon entering the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC, you are presented with a large lobby area with the front desk a sweeping curve to the right. The lobby reflects the neoclassical grandeur of the Capital, with imposing columns framing a large seating area which looks out onto the Potomac basin. Afternoon tea and drinks are served in this space, where guests can choose from a wide variety of native and oriental teas, all of high are organically sourced and expertly prepared.
We were met at the front desk by one of the hotels management who personally welcomed us to the property and escorted us to our suite on the sixth floor. En route he thanked us for our continued high value patronage of the Mandarin Oriental brand and made enquiries concerning our plans for our stay; this’s seemed both genuine and heartfelt, rather than a pre-rehearsed routine. We noted this behaviour amongst all of the staff at the property; a passionate interest in their guests. As with subsequent stays at Mandarin Oriental properties, check in formalities were completed in suite and welcome tea was offered.
We had elected to stay in an Executive Water view suite, as our preferred option, the larger Ambassador suite, was not available for the dates we required. Our suite offered attractive views of the Jefferson Memorial and Potomac Basin, with the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery visible in the distance. The suite itself was 900 sq ft, with an entry corridor that opened up into a reasonably sized living space, tastefully decorated in a style that carefully reflected the eastern routes of the hotel brand, with elements drawn from the colonial roots of the city it overlooks. The master bedroom was reached though the living space, with a king bed positioned so its occupants can enjoy the pleasant views from the wall height windows. The bathroom was well apportioned with a rain head shower, deep soaking tub and Molton Brown amenities, although the lack of natural light in the bathroom was a slight disappointment.
The hotel has two restaurants on site; Sou’wester and CityZen, in addition to the aforementioned lobby where tea can be enjoyed at any time of the day. We ate at Sou’wester for breakfast on several days, and were impressed with the quality of produce available and the overall menu, which offers both staple favourites and healthier options for the fitness conscious. There is also the option of a buffet breakfast, again offering similar choices to the table service options. CityZen, the hotels premier restaurant, was unfortunately not open during our stay, however the menu looks of a high standard and it is constantly rated as one of the better restaurants in Washington DC. The property additionally has an on site fitness suite and spa, both of which are well equipped and offer views of the Potomac.
As we have found with other Mandarin Oriental properties, the concierge team at the hotel are fantastic, with no request being too small or complex. They also seem to take an active interest in their guests, with the team making a point of enquiring about our dining experiences as Restaurant Eve and Minibar by Jose Andres the following days.
Overall, the hotel met all our expectations of the Mandarin Oriental brand, with professional yet friendly staff, a welcoming environment, and comfortable, spacious, accommodations.
For reference, a three night stay in an Executive Water View suite, transport, and sundry expenses was $3800.00