The Fairfax at Embassy Row - Master Thread

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by canucklehead, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. canucklehead
    Original Member

    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Had a recent stay at the Fairfax at Embassy Row (formerly Westin Embassy Row) and thought I would start a thread on the place. Its part of the Luxury Collection, but I often find very affordable rates for this hotel.

    My apologies, but I did not take any pictures on this trip as my camera was out of juice, as was my cell phone everytime I got back to my hotel.

    Location: Conveniently located in Dupont Circle, this is one of the nicer SPG hotels in DC (admittedly, I have not stayed at either the St Regis or W). Its one block NW of Dupont Circle and 2 blocks from the Metro which is how I got there from Union Station.

    Check-in: Perhaps one of the smallest lobby areas ever, there are two check-in agent spaces to the right when you enter (Concierge on your right). When I entered, the place was being mobbed as people were either checking in for a conference or checking out from a previous meeting. One problem is that there really is no Gold/Platinum queue, there is a sign noting Starwood Preferred Guest, but nothing stating its from their Elite members.

    Nevertheless, my wait time was 10 minutes, which was fine as I needed to plan my meetings for the day. As I arrived early, I did not expect to get my room at present, but I did want to leave my bag and check Suite space. True enough, the agent told me there were rooms available, but when I inquired about suites, I was told none were available, but she would block one off and ensure it was mine -- DONE! She asked me if I wanted points or an amenity (4 piece chocolate box) -- Pts thanks!

    Room/Suite: My room was off the elevator - 00 and 01 are junior suites, which have a separate living room which contains an armchair and ottoman, sofa, coffee table, entertainment/beverage center with 42" LCD TV and a desk. To reduce hallway noise, there is also a outer door to separate the hallway from an inner hallway leading to the 2 rooms. The rooms face Mass Ave and are situated above the front entrance of the hotel.

    The bed was nice and comfy, as I have grown to expect from the SPG line (except the Aloft Ikea beds) with Italian linen (I think it was Frette, but I could be wrong). In the closet, there were a pair of Frette bathrobes which were quite comfy for tooling around the place.

    The bathroom had Labatoire Remedie products, similar to what I have used at St Regis, but they did not have the facial cleanser I had used before -- just the moisturizer, shampoo and conditioner. There was also a body scrubber. Unlike the Sheratons, the bathroom was very spacious. Bath sheets were by Frette and the hand and face/wash cloths by another Italian company (or subsidiary). Also in the room was a dreaded glass and nickel bathroom scale (diet cannot being fast enough! ;)).

    Turndown service was nice - ice bucket filled, bottle of water and a glass on the nightstand, tray with menu and other stuff on the bed and slippers and mat beside the bed.

    Restaurant (Prime 2000): located just above the Concierge area and to the right when you come out of the elevator. I used the restaurant for breakfast, which is a nice buffet spread of fresh fruit (canteloupe, melon, strawberries, pineapple and a blue/black/raspberry mix), fresh muffins, cereal, yoghurt, scrambled eggs, bacon/sausage and hash browns with green/red peppers and onions. Fresh orange juice and coffee were also available. I was provided meal chits, but not included was a 16% gratuity that was added onto the hotel bill. Personally, I had no problem with that and left a buck or two extra. I normally not a hotel restaurant purveyor, but the food here was very good (I had fresh fruit and muffins).

    There is also a bar/lounge called the Fairfax lounge, which I did not use.

    Checkout: Madhouse, again. I had to request a late checkout and the person who was checking me in told me they expected a fullhouse again, but confirmed my late checkout, while a woman standing behind her gave me a tsk, tsk. I gave her a look and she quickly turned away, but the woman handling my checkout said not to worry and they would accommodate my request. I told her that if I could finish my work early, I would try to get out early, for which she thanked me profusely.

    One problem I did note was that when I did go to collect my bag and leave, the bottle of water and muffin I was saving for my trip were gone. The bed had been made and new toiletries were set out (I like the Remedie stuff enough to have taken it with my for my next stop -- Sheraton). I was a bit put off by my stuff being thrown out and mentioned it to the agent (same one from the morning). I did not press it, but I did tell her I was irked by it and ask the housekeeping staff to be more careful about it.

    Overall, staff (by and large except for Ms. Tsk Tsk) were very friendly and greeted me every time I walked by. At some hotels (and definitely the nicer ones), a letter is usually given to the guest by the Manager welcoming them, not this one. Perhaps it was the full occupancy for this oversight.

    While I did not use it, there is free wireless in the lobby (of course, Platinum guests get free wireless in their room, otherwise it was $9.95/night)

    My only suggestion -- the Concierge should be moved so that they can have 4 agents to check in staff, as 2 during conventions is insufficient to handle the crowd.
    Kalboz and heakja like this.
  2. RicGarrido
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    RicGarrido Silver Member

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    I heard Al Gore wired the place for internet when he lived here as a kid. Just kidding.

    Restaurant here is very popular. The concierge told me Bill & Hillary Clinton had Valentine's dinner here in February 2011. True story.
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    Original Member

    KENNECTED Silver Member

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    I like this property a lot. All was nice staff and good upgrade. Not many kids here and located in an area with good restaurants.
    canucklehead likes this.
  4. MaryDarling

    MaryDarling Silver Member

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    I recently had the chance to compare the Fairfax (originally the Ritz) to the Capital Hilton. The Fairfax won easily, and will likely my main DC hotel. It's relatively small, the rooms are good, the food is good and the service is excellent. Among other things, they provide real wake up calls, with a human being wishing you good morning, telling you the weather report, and asking if you'd like a second wake up call in 15 minutes. It's a nice touch I grew to appreciate.

    What really sets the Fairfax apart, however, is its location, which is one block from Dupont Circle. This means ridiculously easy access to a wide variety of independent restaurants and shops, a 24 hour CVS a block away, the Dupont Circle metro stop two blocks away, and being at the juncture of Connecticut Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue and P Street, which means it's simple to get to downtown, Georgetown or up towards the National Cathedral.

    I should add that the hotel is surrounded by embassies, which means its in a quiet and safe neighborhood, too.

    If you stay at the hotel, I highly recommend Bistro du Coin (a few blocks up Connecticut Avenue) for dinner and Second Story Books (around the corner from the hotel on P Street) for finding great used books.
  5. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    Can't forget the Krispy Kreme that's adjacent to the Dupont Circle metro (5 min. walk from hotel).

    Have stayed at this hotel a dozen or so times. Been upgraded about 80% as a Plat. Even when not upgraded, hotel is very nice. One of my favorite domestic US SPG properties and never hesitate to stay here.

    Only issue was a rogue valet nearly ran over my wife, which was a total one-off stupid thing that could have happened anywhere.
  6. 7Continents
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    7Continents Silver Member

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    Agree with the above, and I have stayed at the W - DC. A huge MEH for the W location, room size and scene. When the price is right the Fairfax is my go-to SPG property the 7 or so times a year I hit DC. They always treat me well.
    KENNECTED likes this.

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