More about aloft Washington National Harbor
Interesting concept hotel; bad location for D.C. travelers
The Aloft Washington National Harbor Hotel is one of an increasing number of trendy, minimalistic-inspired hotels that caters to young professionals. While I found the hotel to be rather nice, though not my style, its location was horrible for anyone expecting a hotel in Washington.
I knew the hotel was located in Maryland's new -- and rather ritzy -- National Harbor borough, but I didn't know how difficult it would be to get to Washington for meetings.
While I should have booked a hotel in D.C., I wanted to stay a little further out in a more relaxed and quiet neighborhood. National Harbor is certainly further out (about 10 miles or 15 minutes by car from central Washington) -- a fact the hotel doesn't readily disclose in its marketing. In fact, the Aloft website failed to mention the closest subway (Metro) system was 7 miles away in one of the roughest neighborhoods. This means you will need to spend a great deal of time and money in transportation to and from Washington; let alone just getting to and from the airport. The taxi charge from Reagan National Airport to the Aloft Hotel is about $23.
The cheapest and easiest way for a day trip into Washington is walking down the street to a nearby competing hotel (the Gaylord) and paying $13 each way for a 15-minute shuttle bus to Union Station. Unfortunately, the last return from Union Station is just after 8 p.m., which means you will have to take an expensive taxi if you stay any later in the evening. By the way, the staff at the Aloft Hotel WERE NOT aware of this service by the competing hotel -- which I found through a search on Google. They suggested I spend $20 (each way) for the taxi to the closest subway station and then a couple of bucks for a fare-card to my destination. I was really disappointed they didn't have a better grasp of the transportation options for guests wanting to visit Washington.
Overall, the hotel was nice and clean. The whole National Harbor borough is rather new with lots of shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels. It's certainly a new development geared towards younger folks -- perhaps a new Arlington or Alexandria for those wanting a chic-meets-minimalistic decor.
In terms of amenities, there is a great large-screen flat television and complimentary wireless internet in each room. Keeping in line with the hotel's theme, the rooms are minimalistic. With the exception of the hotel bar, pool, 24-hour snack shop and some other odds and ends, it's really just a yuppie version of the Hampton Inn. As other reviewers have pointed out, the hotel's styling isn't for everyone. I used it really just for sleeping because I spent 10 hours each day in Washington, so it wasn't too bad. Though I was disappointed in the lack of a bathtub.
Notwithstanding the lousy location for Washington-bound guests, I probably wouldn't stay there again because it just isn't my style. I paid $90 a night, which I thought was a bit high for what was offered -- though it's considerably cheaper than most hotels in and around the country's capital. I suspect hotels in the National Harbor area is a bit cheaper than other areas because it's new and eager for guests.
We stayed here for 3 horrible nights! The rooms are very plain! No pictures , no color! Staff was not willing to help out with questions! We had to go 3 floors up to get Ice when there was no little tiny bags in lobby! then we had no Ice bucket to put it in! Staff suggested to put it in our laundry bag! Get real! Snacks that they did have available were very very expensive! We got awaken at 2 am due to the construction workers setting fire alarms off and had to stand outside for over an hour! for a family of 4 the room was very small ! We felt like we could touch the walls when in bed! very cramped! No cont breakfast ! The place was just aweful! Would highly never recommend this place! Maid never vacumed and sheets where never changed! Son spilled drink on bed first night! When we checked out 3 days later it was still there! We only had 2 towels and one washcloth when we arrived! After asking 2 times for more, my husband had to go get more himself! And this was a room rented to 4 people! Needs better staff that care!And are willing to help out! The swimming pool that is inside was so cold u could even swim! Park was terrible and cost to much! Everytime u left and came back u had to pay $10!
My first visit will NOT be my last!
As a last-minute registrant to the 2009 Bridge Conference being held at the nearby Peabody, I made a reservation at Aloft because they had rooms available, plus I liked what I saw online. Well, from the moment I arrived, I was treated royally, and the place was immaculate, fun, electric... a very funky, cool alternative to the typical higher-end business travel hotels I stay at!
The three days there were very comfortable, the maid service was both timely and top-notch, plus the location adjacent to the Potomac was incredible for late evening strolling and early morning runs.
I will be looking for this chain in other cities that I travel to, and I can give a full 5-star rating to this location... I will be back!
Trendy decor, not my style
We deliberately reserved at this hotel because we were traveling with 2 cats. We made our reservations through the Starwood Perferred Guest reservations center. The reservationist was very happy to accept us with cats, and in fact got us a great rate at $89/night.
We arrived in the evening for a 2 night stay after a 14 hour drive, parked outside, and took elevator to 2nd floor. My husband was looking at me with the "what's up with this place" look. The floors are all concrete, to tile, no carpet. The stairs are in poor shape for a new hotel, chipped at the edges and reminding me of a fire escape or back stairs. The lobby is concrete floors, looks unfinished, 'art deco' furniture, I guess it's a trend, but not what we like at all. The entrance way had cleaning equipment in it, as well as the airport style carts. We really were not sure it was a hotel at all.
Once at the front desk, we say we are checking in and mention our pets. The girl states "we do not take cats". Ok, this is the beginning of a 45 minute argument. Finally, after calling the Starwood reservations, the local Westin, and the manager, we are allowed to stay, if we agree to keep our cats in the bathroom. At this time we would say yes to anything, just to get a room. Apparently cats are in disfavor at Starwood hotels.
My husband needs help with the luggage. Although there are 3 people behind the desk, no one offers to help. The parking is across the street and full to the 4th floor. Obviously not a happy moment in our relationship. We also note, our room is now being charged at $109 - not $89. so once in the room, we have to prove the promised rate by emailing the confirmation to the front desk. Lucky I had my computer.
The room is very sparse, no bath tub, just a glass shower, no door to the bathroom just a slider between the toilet/shower and the sink area, wide open, no dresser, no closet, no pictures. Not my style at all. Bed is comfy, TV is big, there is a frige, hair dryer, ammenities and a safe. No wall between the bed and bath, just a wooden divider with some shelves and a hanging rod covered by a curtain. Only 2 bath towels. The decor gives a look of cheap. Also, how do you keep pets in a bathroom with no door? Lock them in the shower?
It was noisy at night as we faced the street. We did not use the maid service at all because of the cats. Our rate still was not resolved on check-out and had to be mentioned again.
I must say, the manager, Nicole, did contact us after giving a bad review on Starwood's survey, but she only reiterated that they did not take cats because of allergies. I did respond to her, with my cat discrimination speech!
We did not like the hotel and did not like their policy. We will not be back.
I'm impressed. Would stay here again.
Very good choice for young professionals. Everything you need, nothing you don't. We were very happy to check in with our large dog, there was no problems. The room was comfortable with a nice bed, big screen, free wireless and bliss bath products. The lobby seemed to be very big and busy although we didn't hang out there - good scene at the bar. It was a little loud, but we stayed right next to the lobby. For the price I thought it was nice and would stay here again! If you want a typical traditional hotel, you might not like this place, but I thought it was nice.
Had a nice time
This is definately a "budget" level hotel, no bellmen, valet, etc. The price I paid was budget for the area as well. That having been said:
The Reception staff was great. Sincerely nice people.
Lobby had a nice atmousphere.
Room was plenty large, with all the right amenities.
Room was comfortable, good bed, good linens, nice TV, large workspace, plugs to charge phone, etc.
parking was close and easy.
Great location of hotel.
Housekeepers and bartenders were nice.
The pool area was cute, but small. The deck area, with fire pit, was very nice.
The downside was:
That breakfast was overpriced, coffee was $3.95 or something like that.
Avoid the restaurant downstairs, Ketsup. Pretty bad. (not run by hotel)
"Business center " was in the hall by the elevator, and was very slow.
Souped Up Econolodge
I stayed at Washington National Harbor for four days because of a conference at the humongous Gaylord National Resort. The resort was fully booked, as was the Westin, so I had no choice but to pick this "hotel."
First the positive aspects: roomy suite (Room 517) for around USD 300. Nice furniture - very modern - as if they came right out of an issue of Wallpaper, including the table lamp that arched across the small dinner table. The room was as it was conceptualized to be: a corner loft with full body windows.
Now for the negatives. I did not know that this was a "self-service" hotel with NO room service. NO mini bar. NO restaurants for a buffet breakfast. It's hard to call a hotel without these types of amenities as anything above a three star.
Through this experience I learned something about different kinds of bad hotels. On the one hand, you can have a luxury hotel that tries hard to please guests, but fails -- either because of bad staff or because they are crowded with guests. In this case, the entire concept of the hotel was bad. It was not anyone's fault. The hotel was MEANT to be this bad. One is led to think, "Which marketing genius came up with this horrible idea?"
What I am trying to get at is the inconsistent quality of the hotel. Great appointments for the room, but the shower has dispensers for shampoo and shower gel. I had two LDC TVs in the suite, but no glass for water or brushing my teeth -- I had to use a paper cup. The closet which was used to store my clothes had five hangars in a space about twenty four inches deep.
In short, the inconsistencies of the room was too jarring.
I think other reviewers have written about the strange location of Washington National Harbor overall -- it is far away from everywhere else.
The neighboring restaurants were definitely nothing home to write home about. Especially the breakfast "canteen" that opens during breakfast hours at the lobby. They make exact replicas of Egg McMuffins...why copy Egg McMuffins?
Oh and the staff -- very quirkly. The receptionist also mops the floors, calls the taxi, and gives you tips on directions. In other words, they skimped on staff too for cost control, and so you end up with someone who is a disinterested amateur on all of his or her functions. This was consistent for all of the staff and not just one person.
Overall, not a good experience.
This is Not A Very Good Hotel
Staying at Aloft Hotel in National Harbor, MD was comparable to visiting an area and staying on the sofa of a friend who doesn't really like you. The overall feel is minimalist, which is ok if you feel like you're getting a great deal or there is some benefit to the environment, but at Aloft the impression is the lack of great staff and amenities are at the expense of the unsuspecting consumer.
We arrived for check-in pretty late and hungry. Unfortunately, and much to my surprise, Aloft lacks a restaurant, room service or a kitchen. This was very disappointing but not a deal-breaker. What was unacceptable was the staff. I never complain about staff because when I'm at a hotel I pretty much just want to be left alone and don't ask for much. I do expect to have simple questions answered and not stand around feeling like a nuisance if I ask a question. There was one person at the check-in desk who could not answer any of our questions or address our concerns. She repeatedly had to call the manager. He would trudge out of his hiding place and give us the third degree, as though we were inconviencing him although we were paying guests.
I visited the Gaylord and Westin during my stay at National Harbor. After crossing the threshold of both of these hotels I was greeted warmly by staff. Both hotels had full service restaurants, concierges and a full staff at the front desk. I left these hotels feeling like roylaty. I left Aloft feeling like an idiot for having paid to stay there.
Great trendy hotel in a excellent location.
Stayed at the Aloft a few weeks after it opened in April.
Was attending a Hotel conference at the Gaylord Conf center in National Harbour and got a great deal on this hotel for 3nts.
This is starwoods "economy" W Hotel, and they have spent most the money in the lobby, bar, entrance etc. The rooms are nice and comfy, but you can tell they are done with cheap materials.
Would stay here again or at any other aLoft hotels as a matter of fact.
Excellent for business.
A great hotel with an even better staff!
I was attending a meeting at the Gaylord but the price was right at the Aloft.
Being a single female I had my doubts about this new brand and my comfort. Check in was not seamless but the front desk staff was pleasent and that made up for it. When you see the lobby and you are under 40 you will like it . If you are over 40 then you will do a double take and feel like you need to get with the program and maybe a bit more in tune with your hip side. Comfortable lobby resembles a recreation room in the basement .The floor is cement but glazed and there are several cozy conversation areas with contemporary furnishings. There is a very nice bar and which does have limited bar food, They have a ticker running across the wall with headlines and a fireplace that is off the ground and faces inside as well as outside on the balcony.There are several safe places to smoke including an outdoor courtyard with pit fire place and seating areas . The whole area has nice fabrics and colors and is very different and eye catching.There is even a pool table off to the side. The hotel is very popular with the local young crowd and they bring in a DJ to the lobby on Satruday nights. Security with Jerry on duty was awesome and no doubt we were in good hands.The rooms are very comfortable but the thermostat is set so that you can not choose between heat and ac but rather it is set by management. Ann and Brittany were most helpful with anything I needed. Lisa at the bar was the type of bartender you would expect to find in a W hotel she is very good on suggestions for the area. The small grab & go food service will suffice but eat out! No frills here but every comfort I needed and super clean. You will never see a General Manager . However you will see the Director of Operations walking in and then out for the day. He never once spoke to any guest and occasionally snapped at a staff member. It was like the staff had pride in their ability and ran the hotel all by themselves. The Public House had great food & service. Not a destination by itself but when in National Harbor for a convention you can save money by staying here. Just remember like with everything you get what you pay for . Clean accomodations, fair price, Food & beverage is available but comes with a charge. I would go back especially for the freindly service and cool enviroment. The only negative was one young lady who works the evening shift(Rosie or Rosalee) twice forgot to give me my wake up call. Set your own alarm and back it up with cell alarm.