Sheraton Silver Spring (March 2021)

Booking

I needed a last-minute room because of construction in the bathroom adjoining my office. I contacted the hotel at around 7:30 am, and they assured me they could accommodate me for the day, so I booked a single King for $109.61, inclusive of all taxes.

Checkin

The front desk agent was polite and checkin was easy. I was on the 14th floor in a standard king.

Room

Entry and closet
Coffee and bathroom
Bedroom and desk

Food and beverage

All food and beverage service in the hotel has been suspended. No club lounge, no bar, no room service.

Rating (out of five)

Two-and-one-half stars for the flexibility. Room is clean, but the hotel is not operating as a full-service property.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Sheraton Pentagon City (February 2021)

Booking

This is another standard King I booked on a Bonvoy prepay rate. Per usual, I booked through the Marriott website.

Property

If you’ve been near the Pentagon, you’re likely familiar with the concrete Sheraton festooned with wireless infrastructure west of the Air Force memorial. One side of the building faces the Potomac River and Washington, while the other looks at Arlington.

Checkin

At checkin, the front-desk agent “upgraded” the room to a Potomac-facing King and for the Platinum breakfast amenity hand-wrote four food-and-beverage comps worth $25 each. At a time when many properties are still suspending food and beverage propertywide, this was the best Bonvoy breakfast benefit I’ve received in a long time (and far better than points).

Room

The room was spacious for a King, with a sink, closet, and separate toilet and shower to the right of the entry and the main room ahead. The large windows provided spectacular views of Washington.

Incredible views from the Potomac-facing King.

The room itself featured, besides the bed, a sitting area, a large flatscreen, and a pretty nice work table with chairs, which had USB-C, USB-A, and American power ports, the first time I’ve seen type A.

A USB C power port in the Sheraton’s work table.

HVAC is via a PTAC, which is questionable for a full-service hotel in my mind. It was, predictably, loud.

You know when the packaged terminal AC starts up.

Overall, a comfortable Sheraton room with an excellent view.

Food and beverage

The hotel provided $100 in food and beverage comps for the Platinum breakfast benefit, and I grabbed dinner and breakfast from the restaurant, both of which were decent.

Service

The service at the property was excellent, with a text message after check-in, checking on the stay so far. I felt bad for the woman working the restaurant, as everyone seemed to be using a voucher and no one seemed to be tipping.

Rating (out of five)

Three-and-a-half stars.

For going above and beyond on the service side and honoring Marriott’s commitments to its Bonvoy members.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Marriott Washington at Metro Place (January 2021)

Booking

I booked a standard King on a prepaid rate in December. When the stay came, DC was facing an incoming storm, which shut the federal government down on top of COVID.

Property

The stay was a couple weeks after the inauguration and the events of January 2, 2021 (the Capitol riot), so the National Guard was in town. I believe the property had some of these bookings. With the federal government shut down on top of COVID, the city was a ghost town. America’s finest, in these oddest of times, are amazing fellow hotel guests.

Dress in the halls was very casual. There were many intra-room-floor hotel rides. The military guests frequented the pool-and-gym floor; I envied the instinct, although not enough to follow.

This brings to mind a story that Defense One picked up about a state guard staying at the Marriot Marquis downtown, who ordered a pizza they claimed came with glass embedded in the crust, an apparent attack on them, which was largely debunked by the Washingtonian.

Sometimes “liberal” DC parodies itself with its legislation, but on behalf of the people here, we honor and respect the men and women who serve in our military. We may disagree with political leadership or policy, but I have never meant a Washingtonian with any animus toward those in uniform, full stop. Everyone is welcome here, especially military families.

Checkin

The front desk upgraded the Standard King to a Corner room on a high floor. The frontdesk agent commented how nice the room was.

Room

The room was nice, with a great view of snow in the city. It was a standard size for a king in an urban, full-service hotel.

Food and beverage

The property itself was beyond closed, with Starbucks offering its usual limited selections, and the Marriott “store,” which included beer and wine in a padlocked refridgerator that could not be opened remotely. No minibar.

Service

The abbreviated service throughout the stay was polite and effective.

Rating (out of five)

Three stars.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Westin Dallas Downtown (January 2021)

Booking

I had originally booked this reservation for inaugural weekend, but with the January 6 events, DC went into lockdown, so I attempted to push it out. I did so by calling the Platinum line and pleading my case. The CSR finally called the hotel who agreed to move the date on a nonrefundable reservation gratis.

Naturally they still charged my card, and I’ve been fighting with the Bonvoy line ever since. The latest is they’re going to “review my call” to independently determine whether they owe me a credit. Meanwhile my itchy trigger-finger is ready to ask Amex for a chargeback.

Property

The property is downtown Dallas in a concrete-and-glass-type, mixed-use skyscraper. Have you ever been downtown Dallas? Then you know what to expect. If not, it’s a bit surreal and a bit underwhelming for a raging metropolis.

Checkin

I booked a traditional King, which they upgraded to a Deluxe Corner (this hotel also has three levels of suites). Supposedly Marriott brand standards were back, so I asked about breakfast as an option (no) and a lounge, which they did not have. The front-desk agent then caught on and thanked me for my Bonvoy membership.

Room

The room was better than expected, both because the ceiling was high and the windows large. This time there are pictures.

The entry was split from the rest of the room by a closet and a bathroom.

The entry and closet were split from the main part of the room.
Hallway leading to living area.

The “living” area of the room featured a bed, a desk, and a small sitting area. Not huge. True to the room’s description, it was a corner room with great views.

Living area of room
Views of downtown Dallas from room.
And again.

Food and beverage

There was a restaurant downstairs that allowed room charges, which was not a breakfast option. I forget what I had, sadly, so it was neither amazing nor terrible.

Service

Service was friendly, if sparse, as is common in the times of COVID.

Rating (out of five)

Two stars.

As it turns out, the property and Bonvoy will not acknowledge the waiver in changing the date.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Le Meridien Rosslyn, VA (January 2021)

Booking

I booked a Classic room online, which they upgraded to an Executive King suite.

Property

The property is downtown Rosslyn, near Deloitte, for those who knows that landmark. It was a ghost town in the time of coronovirus.

The lobby is up the elevator on what I believe is the fourth floor.

The common areas, while small, are very nice. I commented that I forgot how nice this property was, and it is. It is across the Key bridge from Georgetown, and is often reasonably priced.

Checkin

I attempted an early check-in to catch a conference call, but the upgraded room wasn’t ready. I elected to take the call in the business center, as the property was nearly vacant and I felt relatively assured of privacy.

Room

The room was an executive suite, or, as I call them, not a suite. That is, there is no separation of bedroom from living area.

The room contained an exercise bike, which I used on a couple of calls. I am contemplating getting one for the office.

Food and beverage

Nope. As the frontdesk clerk told me, Le Meridien’s tend not to have club rooms. I missed the limited restaurant and bar service.

Service

Friendly, when interaction was necessary, which was infrequent.

Rating (out of five)

*** (a strong three)

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Westin Arlington Gateway (January 2021)

Booking

Booked a one night in a cityview King (the most basic room) on Marriott.com for $93.72 including tax.

Property

I had regarded this as a fairly nice, updated property based on past stays. Most everything was closed with COVID, and the property was fairly quiet.

Checkin

The hotel was very quiet when I arrived. The front desk clerk noted I’d requested an online checkin, which was on my phone. No acknowledgement of Bonvoy status and no upgrade whatsoever.

Room

The room was ridiculously small, with a king bed, small seating area, and small desk. The HVAC and the refridgerator were also both ridiculously loud.

If it were not just me for one night, I’d have asked to be moved.

Food and beverage

Nope.

Service

Nope.

Rating (out of five)

**

This was a disappointment return to a property I’ve enjoyed in the past.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Westin Crystal City, VA (January 2021)

Booking

Booked using Marriott.com for $59 per night before tax. Total room charges inculsive of tax was $133.74.

Property

Once upon a time, this property was a Sharaton (I’d guess around seven years ago). That’s about where the fixtures are in the refresh cycle; worn, but not terrible.

Checkin

Checkin was easy, and they asked if I’d stayed at the hotel. Despite COVID, the bar was open past five, and for breakfast they offered a selection of items from the gift shop on a prefilled card. I got a frozen breakfast sandwich, Kind bar, and OJ both days.

Room

Reasonably large, fairly typical Westin room. Looking at the fire-escape map on the door, it looks like most rooms on my floor were the same.

Food and beverage

I did get several very strong vodka-tonics from the bartender, who was very nice.

Service

Service was friendly and helpful.

Rating (out of five)

Three stars.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Annapolis Waterfront Hotel (December 2020)

Booking

After confirming the property wasn’t included in Marriott Luminous, I booked online. Having stayed at this property before, I knew I was looking for a waterfront view room with a balcony, which I booked directly, despite a decent chance at an upgrade at checkin as a Bonvoy Platinum and having suite night awards available. The Christmas stay was all about the room and the view.

Property

The Annapolis Waterfront Hotel is literally on the water; there’s no beach, so the property abuts the bay. The waterfront balconies are actually over the water, which makes for a unique experience.

The property has been refreshed since I was last here, with hardwood floors in the rooms and like-new furnishings, which are typical for an Autograph Collection hotel.

Checkin

Checkin and valet were smooth. I confirmed a high floor, while agent confirmed COVID changes, such as no breakfast or room service on property.

Room

The waterfront rooms appear to be X19 through X22, with X being the floor. We were in 519, which is a king waterview with balcony, and a corner at that. You can upgrade to this room using SNAs, although it is most definitely not a suite.

Food and beverage

We spent $70 on food and beverage even with room service closed and the restaurant opening at 11 am, much of that on two very strong vodka sodas. I’m not complaining.

Service

A shout-out to the frontdesk for acknowledging the lack of breakfast with 750 points per stay. Legacy Marriott properties often seem to forget Platinums should receive breakfast at either the club lounge (which this property lacks) or the restaurant (closed for breakfast due to COVID). Marriott has dropped brand standards for now, so 1,500 points is better than nothing.

Rating (out of five)

Four stars. For the view, natch.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.

Westin Washington, D.C. City Center (December 2020)

Boarded up downtown Washington, DC, somewhat near Westin

Booking

Used marriott.com to prepay for a Traditional King as a Bonvoy Platinum. Upgraded one notch to a Cityview King, surprising (in a bad way) for a legacy SPG property. Unfortunately, the unpleasant surprises didn’t end there.

Property

Yes, this is where Marion Barry uttered his infamous catch phrase, and the lobby is a throwback to brutal, semiatrium-style luxury. We all looked better back in the day, so there’s that.

Checkin

Terse front desk associate started off by scolding me for not standing directly in front of the plastic shield. She then explained the “upgrade” and that the hotel had no food or beverages, aside from the bottles water she handed me. Delivery drivers could meet me in the lobby, she helpfully pointed out.

Room

A standard Westin room at the midway point in the refresh life cycle. One “Juliet” balcony and no other windows. Fifty days here would be a bleak path to Platinum.

Food and beverage

Nope.

Service

Nope.

Rating (out of five)

There is a lot of hotel competition in DC, except right now. I’m guessing the Westin brand (and approach to revenue management) keeps this stale rooming house afloat.

Two stars.

The Chaedrol Hotel Guide does not provide “balanced” reviews of stays, but rather our reviewers’ experiences at properties. Star ratings are based on price, so that a luxury or budget hotel may both receive either no or five stars, and factor in extenuating circumstances. Your actual experience may vary.