25 Jun Property Profile: A Weekend at the JW Marriott Washington, DC
I recently collaborated with Marriott International by visiting JW Marriott DC, but all feedback and opinions are my own, and based on my personal experience of #JWtreatment. Washington, DC is certainly making headlines on a daily basis these days, and wanting to explore this intriguing destination further; I checked into the JW Marriott Washington, DC for a weekend getaway. While I have been visiting DC for a lifetime, and lived in the immediate area surrounding the District for a number of years now, I admit that I rarely take the time to simply be a tourist and see the area through the eyes of a visitor.
Just a short drive into the District from the direction of the DCA Airport, and past the Jefferson Memorial; I passed through the National Mall a few blocks later with the Capitol Building off in the distance on the right and the National Monument rising above the skyline on the left. Just beyond Constitutional Avenue, The JW Marriott DC is conveniently located at the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Even with the District traffic living up to its reputation of being horrendous, arriving to the hotel was rather simple. Unfortunately, as with most hotels in the District, the process of waiting in line to get the car to the Valet was somewhat painful. As a note, allow time at check-in to deal with parking, and they even suggest 20-30 minutes when requesting the car during your stay (I had to wait almost an hour one evening) — with the overnight fee being rather high, if you can rely on Uber or similar modes of getting to/from the hotel, do it!
Walking through the front doors, I had a “wow” moment, as the enormous lobby was very unexpected with so many hotels in the District having small (intimate) lobbies. Pausing inside before proceeding to check-in, there is a lot happening in the lobby with towering crystal chandeliers, escalators going down to the restaurants, lounges and meeting spaces, and family and business travelers bustling around the lobby as they go about their days.
Always on the lookout for unique features about hotels that I am sure to remember, the elevators here are certainly memorable; as they require some explanation by the front desk staff, and a time or two of trial and error — instead of up/down buttons, you enter your destination floor, and it indicates which elevator to enter and it “magically” stops on that floor (one advantage is that kids cannot press every button merely to see them light up since there are no buttons inside the elevators!).
Guest rooms are fully renovated, and many have a number of large windows. The Larger Guest Rooms have ample space, and guests should request a corner room to have 2 full walls of windows – many with great views of the city. Spread over 15 floors, JW Marriott has 755 guest rooms and 22 suites to provide plenty of options. Bathrooms are not large, but they have been fully renovated with the exception of many of the original tubs still being used.
Food and drink options inside the hotel includes Avenue Grill, which is a very casual American restaurant overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Also available for bar bites and drinks is 1331 Lounge, which is a popular meeting place each evening. The “Rickey” is DC’s native cocktail invented in 1883 at Shoomaker’s at 1331 E Street, and can now be enjoyed at 1331 Lounge — the official birthplace of the Rickey! Always a fan of learning more about American history, I felt obligated to enjoy a “Rickey” while relaxing in one of the nice lounge areas of 1331 Lounge. (Note, there are a few options with the “Rickey” and my favorite was the Gin Rickey with Club Soda) Remember to stop-in for Happy Hour during the week to take advantage of the discounted pricing on several appetizers and drinks – the calamari is always a favorite.
Room Service is also available 24-hours a day, and a full-service Starbucks is also inside the hotel when you need a quick pick-me-up. Other amenities include an indoor pool, gym and nice Executive Lounge for the Concierge Level rooms and suites (note that it is closed on weekends and holidays).
Within steps to several of the most sought-after Washington, D.C. landmarks, the JW Marriott has something to offer the entire family. Immediately next to both the National Theatre and Warner Theatre, a number of live performances can be enjoyed without having to venture more than a block away from the hotel. Sitting along Pennsylvania Avenue, guests are just steps from the White House, National Mall and Capitol.
For those craving the opportunity to be up close and personal with the political scene, it is all around you at the JW Marriott, including being ideally situated for the Inauguration festivities and parade (including the ultimate “Presidential Ovation Package” being offered at the hotel for an over-the-top Inauguration package). However, for those wanting to avoid the political chaos completely, the Smithsonian Museums, Newseum and numerous other cultural hotspots are never more than a few blocks away. The JW Marriott makes a great hotel destination for guests to the Nation’s Capital, or those of us simply looking for a little staycation…
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