Planning on taking 5 kids, yes 5, to DC this summer and using points. I'd like to avoid renting a car so access to the Metro is important and proximity to the usual touristy things. Also the littlest one is 6 and won't stand up to very long walks. So what hotel would you recommend? Free breakfast is always nice, and being able to cook a bit in the Residence Inn is good, but connecting rooms like you find in the JW or Renaissance brands are also good so my husband and I don't have to stay in separate rooms (kids arent old enough to be in an entirely separate room from us)...and I don't see any 2 bedroom suites available via points. I would appreciate any advice...
I have stayed at Marriott Metro Center which is downtown and right at the Metro Center metro stop which is super convenient. It's a full-service Marriott, but the rooms are probably not big enough for 5 kids unless you get a couple of rooms. They have suites, but who knows if you can use points for those? Metro Center is your basic Marriott flagship hotel with the typical furnishings, so it's fine but nothing special to look at. The service was excellent. There are shops and restaurants nearby, including a Macy's across the street. I've also stayed at the Mayflower which is a Renaissance. It's near DuPont Circle and also close to lots of attractions. Farragut North station is about a block away (if even that) so this one is conveniently located for transportation, too. The Mayflower is a beautiful hotel just loaded with character. It's a DC institution, really. I had a large suite (was upgraded) that would be roomy enough for a family. Both of these hotels have CLs. I'd recommend either. I re-booked Mayflower for an upcoming trip because I really love that hotel. It's just beautiful and makes you feel like you're having an authentic DC experience. Metro Center is closer to the National Mall and Smithsonians. Both are fairly close to the White House. Mayflower is closer to Embassy Row.
Mayflower is also near quite a few shops and restaurants, and the DuPont Circle area is kind of fun.
We can spend up to 325,000 points. I realize that I am probably going to have to go with two rooms...even if I could get a two bedroom suite at a RI doubtful it would have 4 double beds, which is what we would need. The problem with adjoining rooms is that they generally aren't double connecting to double either.
any comments on the RI on E street? It looks to be close to everything. I will check out the Mayflower as well.
Our highest priority is location...close to a Metro station and reasonably close to the typical tourist traps.
THanks for the suggestions so far!
Yes, we can split up the adults (not preferred but we've done it before). We are looking at 5 nights in mid July. I made a reservation at the RI on E street as a back up but still looking for the best option. In that one we only have a queen bed and a sofa bed in each room...I'd prefer a send ins reL bed but that's an upgrade and I'll have to wait to see if we can finagle one. (If we don't find a better option).
We love the Residence Inn Arlington Rosslyn. The Metro station is close, easy and so convenient with children, lots of restaurant choices there, reasonable parking and the hotel staff is wonderfully accommodating. Even with an unlimited budget, I doubt that we would stay elsewhere. We love that you can walk to Teddy Roosevelt Island (a bit of a hike and tricky to find the walking bridge across - but your kids will certainly enjoy the adventure and find it for you). And, the blue crabs we had at Quarterdeck were exceptional in every way!
You've probably thought of this but staying in the downtown area is going to be ridiculously expensive to eat out for a family of 7. That said, we did a long weekend at the JW Marriott on Penn. Ave and I can tell you there's probably not anything more centrally located for the main tourist attractions. My then 5yr old was easily able to walk to all the various places in a day and getting to other places was very easy from various metro/bus lines.
As for getting rooms on points that aren't listed, I've found calling the property directly or having the plat desk do it can net some really nice rewards. I've had them manually book things for me in the past that weren't on the menu so to speak, using more points but at a good value. Might give that a try.
Alternatively, you could also look for a property just outside of the downtown area that is on the rail system. It can stink to have the 20min commute in&out but you might also find there's more options there, from food costs to hotel accommodations. Of course you'd have to weigh the cost of the train too.
If you have the points, definitely consider the JW though. It's literally a 5min walk to the museums, the National Mall, the White House, 10mins to the Capitol, WWII memorial, 15mins to the Lincoln/wading pool.
here's the view from our room when we were there. We got a pretty amazing upgrade but you can see pretty easily how central this place is. From this view you can see the south lawn of the White House, the Washington Monument, National Mall and in the distance the Lincoln and even farther out the Pentagon.
In this picture you can see the tops of the Smithsonian Museums are just two blocks away, where the first crane in this picture is where they are building one of the new museums. Most of the others are to the left at that corner, so a very easy walk.
Here's a look down the road to the Capitol building. Again not far and there's a ton of sight seeing things along the way.
I agree with the JW.. It is great. That being said the RI and CY Capital View in Arlington (crystal city) next to the Renaissance Capital View are wonderful and offer shuttles to the metro, which are just a short ride to the monuments and attractions. Also, the kids can watch the airport if the rooms face that way which kids love.
While you are in DC, you should check out using the Circulator, which is a bus run by the metro district but only costs $1 a trip, with weekly and other fares. Much quicker and more efficient than the city busses and run place the metro doesn't, like Georgetown. You can get an app that will tell you how long til the next bus, which is a great thing with kids.
The JW has the best location for tourists as far as I'm concerned. Just walk out the door and the White House is a block away, the mall is steps away and you can see the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue.
However, there are some negatives such as relatively small rooms and no weekend breakfast for gold and platinum members. While some rooms have great views as shown on the photos in this thread, many rooms have views of other rooms or buildings. I wouldn't count on getting one of the view rooms on Pennsylvania Avenue unless you can specifically select it as a category when you book it. Upgrades to a view room may or many not happen.