Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C. – Hotel Review

By Ramsey Qubein on 16 May 2013
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Mandarin roomSituated on the edge of the tidal basin and within minutes of the city’s main tourist attractions along the Mall (including the Smithsonian museums, Capitol building, and Washington Monument), this hotel caters to both tourists and business travelers. It is just a short stroll from the Smithsonian metro station putting it within a few minutes’ distance of any point in D.C. including National Reagan Airport.

Doormen stand at the ready to glide open the glass portals to this Asian-inspired hostelry. Its heritage is evident throughout by the presence of Asian-inspired artwork, impeccable service, and even the familiar arrival greeting that includes a warm towel and scented drink to refresh after a long journey. Guests are welcomed with a hearty smile and reminded of the hotel’s amenities.


A walk through the marble-clad lobby past the reception desk and the window-walled lobby bar leads to the quartet of elevators where there’s never more than a minute’s wait. My room was on the Tai Pan floor (concierge level) situated on the eighth floor.

Mandarin bathThe room’s foyer featured a full-length mirror on one side and a spacious closet on the other. Moving past what was clearly a large marble bathroom I saw what the room had to offer for a view, a large window overlooked the Potomac with Reagan National’s busy runway and the Pentagon off in the distance.

The duvet-topped bed had a leather-cushioned headboard and the digital alarm clock had a bright large display that was easy to see from across the room. In one corner, a chaise longue faced the window by a glass side table. . On the other side of the room was stood a large cabinet housing the coffeemaker and minibar, topped with a flat-screen cable TV.

The bathroom was spacious and featured a glass-enclosed shower stall with drenching showerhead plus a deep soaking tub facing a flat-screen cable TV. A marble covered vanity area held a generous assortment of Molton Brown toiletries awaiting use. Towels were tucked into every corner and crevice of the bathroom insuring that I was covered in terry cloth comfort. A robe and slippers waited behind the door, and a scale was provided for guests concerned with their diets.

Tai Pan floor guests have access to a club lounge with a full breakfast spread, nonstop snacks and drinks throughout the day, and a complimentary happy hour from 5 to 7pm serving cocktails, beer, and wine. The latter two offerings are available throughout the day without charge, and the staff remembers guests from previous visits and treats them as if they were family rather than hotel visitors.


Mandarin deskWireless and wired Internet was available throughout the hotel and the wireless mode worked well in the club lounge, lobby, and even outside on the terrace; guests booking the Tai Pan floor receive complimentary access.  The cushioned desk chair was comfortable, and the glass-topped desk had a shelf with a see-through panel to store room service menus in order to keep the surface clear for work. A banker’s lamp illuminated the large desk.

Meeting rooms are well-equipped with the expected audiovisual amenities. However, it is the Mandarin work ethic that sets the bar high here. Nothing seems to be too difficult for the staff. When I needed to print visa forms to deliver to a nearby embassy, the Tai Pan club attendant gave me her personal e-mail address, since there were no printers available for my use, so that she could print them. . Conference groups are typically of the high-end variety. This is not the sort of place that a meeting of 5,000 would book; groups here are more intimate, more international, and more reserved.

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