I am planning a 3 night reward stay in Washington DC for sightseeing with my wife in the middle of April.
It looks like there are a couple of Renaissance Hotels that would be 90,000 points or the JW Marriott which would be 105,000 points.
We are flying into Regan National so parking doesn't matter and I have enough points for either. I am a Platinum member and the stay in from a Thursday through Sunday so CLs are open on Thursday and Friday of my trip but not Saturday and Sunday. I tenttively booked the JW Marriott based purely on location.
From what I read elsewhere and the e-mail I sent to the hotel, they do not offer Platinum's free breakfast on the weekends which seems strange as I could book a rate that includes breakfast for less money than one without breakfast. They also don;t know if upgrades will be avaialble until about a week out which I guess makes sense.
Can anyone provide advice on where to stay in DC? Any other reccomendations as this is our first visit to DC.
Any experience going to the JW Marriott as a Platinum member? Is a Suite upgrade a possibility? (though I know I am not entitiled to one).
Thanks in advnace.
Thank you or the reply.
Since my wife is a 5th grade social studies teacher and I am an engineer, the basic american history stuff and the Smithsonian should fill the days nicely. We have contacted our congressman to try to get tour tickets for the White House, but who knows there.
Other than that, we do enjoy unique restaurants and don't mind spending $100 on lunch for 2 or $200 - $250 on dinner for 2 (Since the rest of the trip is on Frequent Flier Miles and MR Poionts!). Any reccomendations would certainly be appreciated.
You will have a wonderful time in DC no matter where you stay. I have stayed @ the Marriott Hotel near the Ritz Carlton near Dupont Circle. Also, be sure to go to the Capital. I was there in October & visited that for the 1st time. I believe if you ask your congressperson in advance, you can sit in on a session. I had not done this ahead of time, so just got the tour of the building...quite a site for both an engineer & a social studies teacher! Also, be sure to go to ris restaurant on L ST under the Ritz Residences. You will not regret eating here!! It is wonderful! Have fun!
For really cool food unique to DC, you don't really need to spend that much money (unless you drink heavily)...
Three classic DC restaurants are "Old Ebbitt's Grill", "Busboys and Poets" and "Ben's Chili Dogs".
- Old Ebbitt's Grill is really just a "Clyde's Rastaurant" these days, but "location, location, location"... it is right across from the White House in a historic hotel and really cool. Plus, it is an institution.
- Busboys and Poets is a classic DC restaurant. They have two now, but the original is up near "the ever trendy U Street". It is a classic DC restaurant (although if you are a serious Neo-Con, I must warn it is a classic DC restaurant for folks with a little more liberal outlook in life. Regardless of your politic, however, the food is great and nobody will try to recruit you while there). Plus, this is a fantastic part of town to go one night while in DC to check out the night life at U Street and there is a easy Metro Stop right there. Strongly recommend the Tofu Bites appetizer and the Vegan Fudge Brownie Sundae (and trust me, I am war Veteran and love to eat - this is not some weird food for lesser souls. It is good stuff.)
- Ben's Chili Dogs - nothing I can say would do it justice. I think every President (dem and rep) in the last however many decades has eaten at Ben's
We have stayed at both JW and Marriott Metro. We enjoyed both and would recommend either. The JW is a located well for walking around the White House and the memorials but the Marriott Metro is just a few blocks further. And they both have easy access to the metro. I do think that the JW has a little bit more of a conference center feel to it and thought the Marriott Metro had a bit more of a friendly feel to it. Can't go wrong with either. Enjoy!!
To me, JW is a better location to the stuff that you and your wife will want to do (for the most part, it sounds like you'll hang around the Mall, hit the Smithsonians, Memorials and Monuments, Holocaust, etc.). JW is located a little bit better for walking, but not quite as convenient for Metro (not difficult either).
What kind of food are you looking for? I've enjoyed Wolfgang Puck's "The Source", which is especially convenient if you're going by the Newseum anyway (a very interesting museum). There are a number of other good restaurants around - but many of your more fancy/expensive restaurants aren't as close to the Mall as you will be.
Enjoy the nation's capital. It's quite the place. I'm in the suburbs, and while I see the monuments on the way into work each day, it's still fairly awe-inspiring.
(I'm partial to the JW, because my Brother-In-Law worked there, so I know it quite well)
I would suggest the JW I live in DC but stayed there for New Years and it was great. I would also look into the National Theater or the Kennedy Center for shows if you are interested. The Hamilton is a new venue 1/2 block down the street from the JW with great food and entertainment. I am Platium and we were put on the top floor with a great view. It will also be the middle of Cherry Blossom season so expect that there will be crowds.
You can't go wrong at the JW as a tourist, but DC - like New York - is choc full of extremely attractive options - in terms of locations (downtown, across the river, etc.), chains, and pricing. Be sure to keep your eye on the Renaissance options - they're often the most aggressive on last-minute bargains... And - if it's an option - consider the Mayflower. You won't regret it.
Here are a couple of prior threads you might find informative:
It's worth scrolling through for different types of information.
If you have any specific questions, let us know!
A couple of years go I stayed at the Mayflower on points. That was the first - and only time - that I had ever been upgraded to a full suite. Not only a suite, but a two bedroom, full living room apartment. It was quite a memorable stay and a beautiful property that's located in the heart of things.
There is no lounge but I was given vouchers for a full breakfast in the restaurant.
I highly recommend this joint.
Instead of using your points to pay for the room, purchase Marriott Cheques instead. I just bought $1000 worth of Marriott money for 135,000 points (platinum price only). Reserve the room as a cash sale, and pay with the points. You get points for your stay since you paid cash. My next trip was going to cost 120,000 points, but with AAA rate it is only $602.00. I will have an extra $400 worth of cash to spend on more rooms, and I'll get 20-30,000 points for the stays. To find the points, sign in, go to your Account Overview, towards the bottom under Marriott Rewards/How to use Points/Platinum Rewards.
Well, this works only when you use the card at a moderately priced property. That $1000 card will only buy you 1 night at the CE hotel in Paris (assuming typical summer price of $600/nt) whereby for 160k Reward points you could check in for a 5 night stay.
If that $1000/135k points are used for stays at Courtyard's, then it may have some value.
I don't think you'd want to use the $1000 at Courtyard since most are only about 15,000 points per night. It would only use 135,000 points for 9 stays at a Courtyard or any grade C property. Then you'd only get 500 pts. for ck. in bonus and 5 pts. for each $1 spent with an additional 50% bonus.
sdbreaker gave the best advice.
You need to play with the points and the rates for specific properties if you have a particular place to visit.
Discounted rates for higher point value seems to be the best usage of the $1000 reward for 135,000 points, but also remember, that you do get credit for nights stayed if you need that advantage, and you do get points back. And sometimes, those nights might help during Mega Bonus times.
Just remember that each grade level uses 5,000 more points than the previous one, and you only get the best point return value at a full service property.
Thank you for the information Unfortunately, you can not use the Marriot Gift Cheques to pay for a room that is booked with a AAA rate. The little disclaimer on the back of the certificate says it is not valid on any rate that requires an ID or membership. This also means you can't use this on the Marriott Rewards Rate.
This is the information that I got from 3 of the 4 different Marriott customer service people I talked to. I started with the customer service number on the bottom of the letter that came with the certificates. They said I could use the certificates with the Marriott Rewards rate. Then Platinum Reservations said I couldn't, then Customer Care said I couldn't, then the people who issue the gift cards said I couldn't. The last person actually said it was up to the individual hotel but that most wouldn't let me use them on that room rate.
Of course the website where you order the certificates says they can only be used on a pubically avaialble rate. Considering I can book the Marriott rewards Rate and the AAA rate on the internet, I would say that is pretty darn public.
Oh well, I will find somewhere to use my $1000 on non AAA rates.
Thank you to all who responded to my origianl post again.
That's really bad. (edited thoughts)
It seems like the AAA card you'd have to show would be an ID.
It really is maddening that the different people in customer service / reservations will tell different things, but the card does seem like it meets the criteria, as well as the fact that anyone can book those rates without even being a rewards member, as you already stated. Another rip-off of rewards members, huh?
I've booked a room this week for senior citizen rates and was planning on paying with the coupons since it's under $100 for a full service Marriott. These restrictions that are just semi-stated almost seem illegal.
I'm sorry for the bad advice.
I just used the coupons at the Marriott in Columbia, SC with Sr. citizen rates. Someone mentioned that it might be up to the hotel. I was prepared to pay for it another way, but preferred trying to use the coupons / certificates, so I got rid of 4 of them getting 2 nights for 27,000 pts. instead of the normal 40,000.
There wasn't any mention of the restrictions that I saw when I was thinking of buying them and the sales desk definitely didn't mention the restrictions, so it seems like they wouldn't want any bad feelings over something that's meant to be a reward. Our son was so upset when he heard about the restrictions and asked whether or not they'd been posted at POS, and insisted I try to use them when he heard the whole story, He doesn't usually get upset, but doesn't like injustices. :-)
The Washington DC Metro system is expensive ($1.95 per person for just one stop up to $5.00 for a full ride, depending on distance) compared to many other municipal underground railways (like NY or Boston). It has begun to show its age, unfortunately. If you can avoid rush hour you'll save a little money and weekends, there are full day passes for sale. System reliability is so-so, and there are times when track issues slow the trains.
Recently there have been a ton of escalator problems at the stations, another indication that the system is aging. But, cars are cleaner, and relatively graffiti-free (and Italian made), so there is a trade off. Stations are well patrolled and large.
Entry is by paper fare card, like other cities, and there is no cash used inside the stations other than the for purchasing fare cards. But, all that being said once you're in DC you can walk virtually everywhere in the monument area with great ease. Even the Smithsonian Museums on the Mall are close enough to walk between, You''ll need to have money ready to get out of a station if you've depleted what was on the fare card.
That's my take on the system, others may have a different one.
For larger groups and shorter distances, cabs are more economical (IMHO) and you get from point to point faster. A group of four will spend nearly eight dollars for a one block ride on the Metro, and more if you go farther. Plus you can walk ir sue the time spent waiting for the subway to better yourself through cardio stuff!!!!
I would like to thank all of you for your valuuable input.
I think I will end up at the JW Marriott based on location. I think I will also go ahead with the $1000 reward for the 135,000 points. This gives me a little more value per point versus a simple rewards stay (for this specific stay at this specific hotel). As others have pointed out, there might be times where this would not be as good.
Thank you again. I find this site to very useful thanks to all of you.
The Renaissance Arlington Capital View is awesome. Its in Crystal City near the Pentagon, Ronald Reagan airport, shops and restaurants. This is especially nice if you want to stay close to the city, but not in the city. The views from the room when staying out of the city are extraordinary (monument, kennedy center, potomac river, airport). If you choose to stay there request a room facing the airport. There is no airport noise and the sunrise is worth waking up to watch.
We were at theJW DC in December with the kids, and it was fantastic! We actually got a good rate over the weekend, and it made more sense to purchase the room with money, rather than trade in so many points( but we were saving up for our Paris trip). We were upgraded to a jr. Suite, which was great, ESP. With the kids. And, at check in, I asked about the CL and weekend breakfast, and the very nice man at the platinum check in area gave us a coupon for each day. The hotel itself is in a great location...we walked everywhere. The Smithsonian museums are only a couple of blocks away. You will have a wonderful time!
Thank you all again for the great replys. We look forward to our stay at the JW Marriott DC.
Lakeshore - it is great to hear that you got breakfast coupons since the CL is closed on weekends. What I do find interesting is that I e-mailed the hotel a couple of weeks ago and asked if they did this and they said they do not provide breakfast coupons on thw weekend.
We will enjoy our stay whether we get free breakfast or not. I just wish that this stuff was consistent. I can see why upgrades are difficult to guarantee because the hotel might have someone on any guven night who s willing to pay for that suite. But breakfast? Really? They can't make a decision at o hotel level or a corporate level to just offer it? or not? Eitherway, they should just be consistent in my humble opinion.
Still gonna have a great trip. Will just keep my fingers crossed for a possible upgrade and maybe a free bagel!
Thanks again everyone.