W Washington D.C. Hotel Review

Looking for a unique business hotel in D.C.? Check out our review of the W Washington D.C.

W Hotels are cutting-edge, contemporary, design-led lifestyle hotels by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Each is unique, integrating local influences with the hotel’s unique architecture and interior. They’re also places to see and be seen. The W Washington D.C. doesn’t disappoint. Located between 15th and 16th Street, it is the closest hotel to the White House, and was opened in 2009 after a complete renovation (the original hotel was constructed in 1888 and opened in 1900).

Experience the W Washington D.C.:

  • W DC Marvelous Suite Desk W DC Marvelous Suite Desk Courtesy image
  • POV Roof Terrace at W Washington DC POV Roof Terrace at W Washington DC Located on the 11th floor, POV Roof Terrace has two bars and plenty of seating. Enjoy drinks or a cocktail reception while taking in spectacular views of the capital, including the White House. Courtesy image
  • W DC WOW Bedroom W DC WOW Bedroom The WOW Suite (800-850 square feet) has a separate bedroom and includes an oval-shaped conference table for your own power meeting. Courtesy image
  • W DC Living Room W DC Living Room
  • W DC Exterior View W DC Exterior View Courtesy image
  • W DC Exterior View W DC Exterior View Courtesy image
  • WDC July 4 Celebration WDC July 4 Celebration The W POV Terrace offers some of the best views in the capital. Courtesy image
  • W DC Wonderful Room 1 W DC Wonderful Room 1 Standard guest rooms at the W Washington DC are cozy in size, but they are chic in design, such as the white leather chaise in each room. Courtesy image
  • W DC Altitude Meeting Room W DC Altitude Meeting Room Located on the 11th floor, the Altitude room offers outside views for meetings or receptions. Courtesy image
  • WDC Great Room Meeting Space WDC Great Room Meeting Space
  • P.O.V. Lounge at W Washington D.C. P.O.V. Lounge at W Washington D.C. Looking for an amazing view of the capital and its sights, enjoy a cocktail (or cocktail reception) at P.O.V. Lounge on the top floor of the W Washington DC. Courtesy image

As you enter the W living room (the W’s twist on the lobby), you’ll notice many of the hotel’s original architectural elements have been restored, including plaster moldings and majestic arches. It’s a grand and open space, with a digital fireplace and modern decor. You’ll also find a pinstripe, high-back sofa which is a nod to the city’s political culture.

Another “must do” at W Washington D.C. is P.O.V., the hotel’s rooftop bar and terrace located on the 8th floor. It offers views of the White House, the green space of the National Park and Washington Monument,  and the city itself. (And it’s part of our top list of Things to Do in Washington, D.C.)

If you’re planning to stay or host a meeting/event at the W Washington D.C., here’s what you should know:

Guest Rooms at the W Washington D.C.

The hotel has 317 stylishly designed guest rooms, including 23 Marvelous suites, seven WOW suites and an Extreme WOW suite (W’s reinterpretation of the traditional Presidential Suite). The W Washington D.C. has seven room categories, and the suites are completely worth the upgrade. The standard room categories are efficient in size — decorated in shades of black and white — and offer a chic guest experience. The W Hotels bed live up to its reputation. And bath amenities are excellent — Bliss lemon + sage facial wash,  Bliss lemon + sage body butter and Bliss lemon + sage shampoo (pleasantly fragrant and high quality).

Dining at the W Washington D.C.

The Living Room Bar is a great place to hang out at night. The hotel’s original chandeliers have been retrofitted with color-changing LED lights (throughout the day) while a live DJ mixes music. Graphics are projected on the walls for an added visual effect. Enjoy a cocktail and meet others. Or, bring your laptop here to catch up on some emails (as I did at the end of one night, complimentary Wi-Fi).

J&G Steakhouse is on the lobby level and located across from the Living Room. It is a comfortable space with rich dark walls, contrasting with white architectural details and flowing white drapery (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner).

515 Wine Bar is also a find here. Located on the lower level, it also has an outdoor patio (holds up to 86 people) — a great option for anyone looking to host a private party or event.

Meetings at the W Washington D.C.

Speaking of events, the W Washington D.C. is truly a business hotel. About 80 percent of guests are here for business and 20 percent are leisure. Of those, group meetings account for about 45 percent.

The group sales team tries to deliver unique and unexpected levels of service. For breakfast meetings, for example, breakfast items are presented in cocktail glasses. Another approach has been to serve one-bite items and finger sandwiches to make the social aspects of an event more engaging. This is a great — it tends to help control both portions and costs. It also reduces the need for items like silverware. And attendees get to experience a bit of the cocktail culture (typical of D.C.).

The largest meeting space is 6,000 square feet, so the W Washington D.C. seems to be more popular with smaller groups (for example, 50-125, though the hotel can certainly host larger parties). Space options are located on the living room level, lower level, mezzanine level and roof levels (which can work with P.O.V. to host a private event). The W Washington D.C. with a third party A.V. company.

The W Washington D.C. also uses a pre-function room to handle check-in for larger groups.

Other Services at the W Washington D.C.

For those who enjoy a bit of spa time, Bliss Spa is located on the lower level and offers a range of services. Fit Gym is located across the spa. It’s a smaller room, but has both weight training and cardiovascular equipment. The Whatever/Wherever concierge desk is available to help you with any questions, tickets or services you may need (fees may apply and may vary). Pets are also welcome at W Washington D.C.

The Verdict?

The W Washington D.C. offers a new dimension to the luxury hotel experience. And it definitely changes the way you perceive a business hotel experience. Designer Dianna Wong infused bright colors and contemporary design to this Beaux Arts building.

Continuing to evolve the way service is delivered and through elements such as trendy music, general manager Olivier Servat (previously the general manager for W Paris Opera) has brought “cool” to to the U.S. capital.

The W Washington D.C. also hosts a range of events throughout the month, constantly changing their programming to vary and enrich the guest experience for those who return.

The overall experience is chic and vibrant. The living room is welcoming and fun. And P.O.V. is popular with both guests and the locals.

If you’re looking to change the pace from some of the more traditional hotels, you’ll definitely want to consider the W. Washington D.C. for a future stay or meeting.

Rob is editor of Business Travel Destinations. He reviews international destinations for meetings and events -- where business travelers go, the hotels where they stay and their lifestyle preferences on the road. Rob was previously the event planning guide for About.com (owned by The New York Times Company) from 2007 - 2011. His articles also appear in business travel publications and travel sites internationally.

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