I am headed to DC with my family again this summer and am thinking of staying downtown for the first time so I thought I might see which properties are recommended (and also writing down my thoughts like this helps me to compare and decide even if nobody chimes in.)
JW and RC are above per diem, so I've already ruled them out. So, I'm pretty much only looking at Marriott or Renaissance brands since they are the only remaining properties that would have a lounge (CY does have some convenient locations though, so maybe I should reconsider.)
So, I guess here's what I'm looking, as ranked by TripAdvisor "Just for me", along with my thoughts:
Washington Marriott at Metro Center - "Indoor swimming pool closed for renovation" (but OTOH none of the others have pools at all.)
Marriott Marquis - Shiny and new. The Dignitary Bourbon bar I've heard good things about and might meet some friends at. No pool.
Mayflower Renaissance - Seems to be the favorite of a few forum members and good reports of upgrades.
Renaissance Downtown -
Marriott Georgetown - First forum post I found about it was not promising.
Renaissance Dupont Circle - Decent forum review
I'm kind of leaning toward the Mayflower due to the good reviews, potential for an upgrade, and that will get me the R badge. Also, it's geographically the center of the bunch.
So many potential answers....
Broader advice here:
I've only stayed at a few DC area hotels. The Mayflower is so my favorite! Great rooms, great public spaces, great CL, great lobby bar/restaurant, great location.
If the pool turns out to be more important than being downtown, I really liked the Crystal City Marriott. Nice rooms, nice lobby and restaurant for breakfast when the CL is closed, very nice CL. Sits on top of the blue/yellow metro line. Also, Crystal Gateway Marriott is very nice too, with pool.
If I remember correctly, you're pretty familiar with the area.
We stayed at the Gateway last time in 2013 and it was not bad at all. Quite a few restaurant choices nearby. We'll only be there a few days, so I don't think a pool is too important. I want to try and finally get to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. And, I have business downtown this time, so I think we are better off downtown.