Review: Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC

Review: Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC

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This Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review is from our holiday season site inspection stay. We also reviewed The Conrad Washington, DC and The Four Seasons Washington, DC.

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Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Location and Check-in

The Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC is located at 1330 Maryland Ave. SW, about an 8 minute walk from the Smithsonian Metro Station, a less than 10 minute drive from National Airport (DCA) and walking distance to the Smithsonian museums; the Air and Space Museum is ~15 minute walk.

When we arrived in the early afternoon, our Club Room wasn't quite ready, but we were able to access the Club Lounge in the meantime; we'll have a separate review of the Club Lounge soon.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review

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Our stay was just after Christmas, so the hotel had its holiday decorations over the entrance and in the lobby.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: Entrance
Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: Lobby

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 TravelSort Clients enjoy Mandarin Oriental Fan Club Benefits that are superior to Fans of Mandarin Oriental benefits:

  • Daily full breakfast for two
  • Celebratory amenity if celebrating a birthday or special occasion
  • $100 hotel credit for use during the stay
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in
  • Complimentary internet
  • Early check-in and late check-out subject to availability

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Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Club Water View Room

Club Rooms, Club Water View Rooms, Deluxe Rooms and Deluxe Water View Rooms are all 398 square feet (37 square meters) in size. This is comparable to the entry level Deluxe Room at the Four Seasons Washington DC and the Deluxe Room at the Conrad Washington DC.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: Club Room

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The King Bed was extremely hard and uncomfortable, and when we asked Housekeeping if there were any mattress pads that could make it softer, the reply was an apologetic no. We didn't sleep well at all, but if you like to sleep on the floor, this is the bed for you.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: King Bed

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While ostensibly this was a Club Water View Room, the view was at best partial, with primarily a view of the rest of the hotel. Club Rooms are on the highest floors, and we were on the 8th floor, the same floor as the Club Lounge, which was convenient.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: Partial Water View

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The bathroom marble was in good shape, thanks to a 2016 renovation, but sadly the renovation didn't include modernizing all aspects of the bathroom. There was only a single sink, the toilet wasn't in a separate chamber, and there was a regular shower head, not a rain shower.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: Club Room Bathroom
Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: Club Room Bathroom Soaking Tub
Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review: Club Room Shower

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Bath products were by Atelier Cologne, with a fresh orange scent.

Atelier Cologne Bath Products, Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review

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Here's our Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC YouTube Video Review:

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Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Fitness Center and Swimming Pool

Not many Washington, DC hotels have a swimming pool, so the Mandarin Oriental DC is especially popular with families for its pool. Keep that in mind, however, if you're not keen on sharing the pool with kids: the pool here had kids in it each of the four times I dropped by the pool during our stay, unlike the Four Seasons Washington DC pool, where my husband and son were the only ones using it on both of their visits.

Swimming Pool, Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review
Pool and Pool Loungers, Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review
Lounger, Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review

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On the other hand, the gym, with its Technogym equipment and Peloton bicycles, was completely deserted. Then again, if you're visiting during a regular weekday and not during a school break, it's likely to have fewer kids.

Fitness Center, Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review
Fitness Center Infused Water and Chilled Towels, Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Review

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The Verdict

While nothing was particularly wrong with our stay at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC, nothing was especially great either. The Mandarin Oriental Club Lounge was much lower quality than the Conrad Washington, DC's Sakura Club in both the number and especially the quality of its food offerings, and service was mediocre there as well, compared to the attentive and friendly team at the Conrad.

While our room was clean and the bathroom marble was attractive, the bed was extremely hard and the Housekeeping staff didn't have anything to make it softer. A mediocre fruit plate was offered as an apology. The Club Rooms are quite small, at under 400 square feet, and the bathroom lacks the touches you'd expect in 2020, such as there's no separate toilet chamber, only a single sink, and regular shower head.

Overall, I'd only recommend choosing the Mandarin Oriental DC if it's important to be in this location, either for meetings or for easy walking distance from the Smithsonian museums. Otherwise, choose the Conrad for a much better club lounge experience, or the Four Seasons for its superior service, more comfortable beds and lap pool (since the Mandarin's pool is very popular with families during school breaks).

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