Review: Grand Hyatt Washington DC

On my last trip to the District of Columbia, I stayed overnight at the Grand Hyatt Washington, DC. Although not luxurious, it is extremely practical and is still a hotel I will return to.

Grand Hyatt Washington, DC review

Reservation

When I traveled to DC for Dole’s funeral, my friends in Vienna, Virginia were out of town, so I decided to stay in downtown Washington. I originally looked at the Thompson, now part of the Hyatt, but the Grand Hyatt Washington, DC, at $120 a night plus tax, was less than half the price. Since I just needed a place to lay my head, I chose the Grand Hyatt.

Check-in (+ late check-out)

I arrived at the hotel around 12:30 p.m. and found the lobby deserted. The lobby is a huge atrium with rooms on all four sides.

A very nice agent checked me in, thanking me for my Globalist status and apologizing that there were no suites available. Despite having 897 rooms, the hotel only offers 26 suites, and all of them were apparently booked. I asked if a late checkout (beyond 4:00 p.m.) was possible, noting that my flight back to Los Angeles the next evening didn’t leave until 10:00 p.m.

Without hesitation, he asked me if 8:00 p.m. was late enough and coded my card for that duration. Despite low occupancy, my room was not ready and I was asked to wait at the Grand Club on the top floor. I went upstairs and worked for 90 minutes, then took a coffee break (walked up to Bluestone Lane… the coffee in the living room isn’t great). By the time I returned, my room was ready.

Guest room

The rooms are totally lacking in character. With fluorescent lights, drab colors, and a tired US Capitol print on the wall, I found the room rather depressing. Also, every time I’ve stayed here (four times now) I always get a room with a courtyard review (and a window that doesn’t even open).

However, the sockets were near the bed and the desk, and the alarm clock had a pair of USB-A sockets.

A hotel guide and room service menu have been replaced with QR codes.

The bathroom was even more industrial – I can’t believe the toilet had the kind of flush you see in a gas station bathroom. The granite countertop and dark wood finish, while probably in vogue 20 years ago, is past its prime. But actually it was good. It was clean. It served its purpose.

The toiletries were from Balmain and I prefer the Pharmacopia brand in Hyatt Regency hotels.

A refrigerator (empty) and a small coffee maker were also in the room. The coffee machine used Keurig pods, which were provided.

Fitness Center

For years, the Grand Hyatt has owned (or at least used) the Washington Center Health Club for its guests, which sits just outside the hotel’s south entrance in an office lobby.

Without even thinking about it, I went there to train. The door was unlocked and I enjoyed a really nice workout and then 20 minutes in the sauna afterwards.

But when I walked into the hotel I saw a sign for the fitness center saying it was on the lower level. Indeed, I discovered that Hyatt no longer operated the adjacent Washington Center Health Club and now had its own (smaller) fitness area…with no showers or saunas…on the lower level (it was actually a real maze to find it).

Whoops.

Meeting space + common areas

Below the lobby are several ballrooms for banquets, weddings or meetings.

On the lobby level is a Starbucks and one level below is a Fed Ex office.

Grand Club Lounge

As a Globalist World of Hyatt member, I had access to the Grand Club, which includes breakfast in the morning, snacks throughout the day, and appetizers and alcoholic beverages (for purchase) in the evening.

During the afternoon while I waited for my room, trail mix, whole fruit, cereal, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and fresh cut fruit were available along with coffee, soft drinks, juices fruit or milk. I wasn’t hungry, but I appreciate that breakfast seems to go on all afternoon if you’re sleeping.

Wasn’t there for the evening, but when I returned in the morning I found the exact same selection as the afternoon before, plus croissants, muffins and hot breakfast sandwiches .

It’s a far cry from what breakfast looked like before the pandemic, which included smoked meats and salmon, scrambled eggs, French toast and yogurt parfaits.

To eat

Breakfast is served each morning in the Cabinet Restaurant, one level below the lobby, which offers a buffet and à la carte articles from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Cure Bar & Bistro is open from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily and bills itself as a “farm-to-table” restaurant.

Site

I mentioned the location earlier and I must point out that is the main reason I chose this hotel. After landing at National Airpot, I took the subway blue line to Metro Center, which is a few blocks from the hotel. From the hotel I easily walked to dinner and the next morning walked to the Watergate building for a meeting. For tourists and business travelers, the location is hard to beat.

CONCLUSION

I appreciated the friendly service and late check out at this hotel. The location is also very convenient. Other than that, there is nothing in the hotel that is particularly noteworthy for good or ill. I would definitely stay there again, but it’s not a hotel I’m passionate about.

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