Donovan House, Washington, D.C. – Hotel Review

By Jesse Sokolow on 8 May 2014
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Washington, D.C.: home to many iconic institutions, locations, and structures, among them the Washington Monument, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and of course, the White House.  Just a ten-minute walk away from the living quarters of our president, though, is another house – the Donovan House.  Perhaps not quite as well-known, thoroughly guarded, or as annually visited, the Donovan House, a Kimpton Hotel, is however, quite unique and special in its own way.

Located at the junction of four major Washington, D.C. streets – Massachusetts Avenue, Vermont Avenue, 14th Street, and M Street – the Donovan House looks out on Thomas Circle, which is dominated by a statue of General George Henry Thomas on his steed. Across the circle from the hotel stands the National City Christian Church, a handsome neoclassical structure, and next to it is the Washington Plaza Hotel, another popular D.C. hostelry.

Upon entering the Donovan House, I strode past the smiling doorman and welcoming fireplace, and saw that the lobby offered a variety of places to sit, including a long, cushioned bench with small tables positioned every few feet, a partially walled-off area in the middle with chairs set in a certain degree of privacy, and an elevated alcove along one wall with cushioned seating.  Most unusual to me were two plastic, spherical seats hanging from the ceiling, and which were situated directly in front of a display on the opposing wall showing various news channels throughout the day.


Check-in was straightforward and quick, and although there was only one elevator to service the entire property due to ongoing renovations at the hotel at the time, I was on my way to the room with no delay.


The most striking feature of my King Premier room which immediately became the focal point of my attention upon entering, was a large, white, cylindrical structure projecting into the center of the room.  Examination of the bathroom revealed that the tube was the exterior of the shower stall – a seashell spiral-like shower enclosure, the likes of which I had never seen before, and something that placed the stall directly in the bedroom.  Indeed, it extended out from the bathroom wall and into the room, effectively making itself the center of attention.

The rest of the room was not nearly as exciting as the shower’s architecture, but the bed was comfortable enough, and a large swiveling flat screen TV was conveniently placed facing it.  Large windows on either side of the TV offered great views of Thomas Circle eight floors below, and a cozy couch with a circular ottoman provided a nice place to relax.

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