Which cheap Hilton family hotel near Washington DC (including Virginia area)?

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by Valentine, Jun 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Valentine

    Valentine Silver Member

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    Hello all!

    I'll be heading down to Washington for Independence Day weekend, and am considering between the following more affordable properties (all around the $89-$109 range):

    DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC - Crystal City
    Hilton Crystal City at National Airport
    Hilton Arlington
    Hilton Alexandria Mark Center

    We're quite open to staying at around Arlington or Alexandria VA as they're just a short drive up to DC, and parking's way cheaper.

    Please do share your experiences with any of the above hotels. Thank you!
     
  2. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    I'd pick one that has the best connection to the Metro. Driving into DC is a pain in the tush. How old are the children?
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    First of all, the Hilton Crystal City is not at National Airport. Crystal City is a modern area/development of offices, apartments/condos, and hotels not far from the pentagon (but not walkable). Some of the hotels, in particular IIRC the Hyatt, are too far from the Metro station to be walkable but offer shuttle service.

    I know the Hilton Arlington quite well. It's located in the Ballston area of offices, apartments/condos, and a big indoor shopping mall. The area is somewhat uninteresting and empty on weekends.

    The hotel is on top of the Ballston Metro station, although you must go outside briefly to access the Metro (meaning you can get wet when it's raining). From DCA, a transfer in Rosslyn is required. I think they have a valet parking garage (probably expensive). For activities on the 4th, your best bet would be to take the Metro rather than trying to navigate and find parking in the district, although you should expect a reduced schedule on the holiday weekend.

    There are club level rooms, but the lounge has been relocated to the lobby. I think some room renovations were done at the same time, a few years ago. The hotel has a decent restaurant and bar on the second floor. There is no pool. The hotel has about nine stories with maybe 150-200 rooms and private meeting/function space. The standard rooms are pretty small with small bathrooms but the rooms have good desks and comfortable lounge chairs. The building is probably about twenty years old; IIRC outside of the hotel in the same building you will find a small newsstand and a quite good vaguely Italian gourmet food and wine store which might be closed over the weekend. Some of the long term hotel staff are pretty good but others can be frustrating. This property is really meant to be a business hotel and has nothing for kids and families.
     
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  4. Valentine

    Valentine Silver Member

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    No kids!

    One of the vaguely random things we were considering was that Alexandria may be near the Old Town, which we could visit once we get bored of Washington. But otherwise, we're planning to just use the hotel as a place to sleep comfortably and have a decent breakfast (especially if we can get complimentary ones as Gold). Not expecting much in terms of additional facilities.

    Thanks dgreen12 and MSPeconomist for the tips so far though!
     
  5. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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  6. MSPeconomist
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    I like the idea of Old Town Alexandria if it's near the Metro. It would be a lot more fun and offer some places to eat.
     
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  7. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    That one is very near at the metro. Keep in mind that most of "old town" is near the water which is about a mile down King Street. So you will need to take the free trolley to get near most of the restaurants and such. It’s a fine walk down and back with lots of shops and things to look at - but it is a long way.

    Out of all the hotels you list I'd recommend against the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center - that is really sort of in a multi-story office park/compound with nothing to walk to - expect for a large nicely landscaped large pond/lake with a fountain and such. All the others will have something you can walk to outside.
     
  8. upgrade

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    Any reason you're not considering the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown DC (14th St NW between H and I [Eye] St)? BAR is $129, and there's a promo rate for $122/night -- and both appear to have availability all weekend.

    I'm an inveterate cheapskate, and I'd pay the extra -- which isn't much -- to be 3 blocks from the White House. Instead of Metro'ing in from Crystal City (ugh; talk about a sterile locale), you can walk to the Mall in 5-7 minutes. And if there's somewhere further away you want to go, there are 2 Metro stops within easy walking distance (including one literally across the street).

    EDIT: Is the cost of parking driving your decision? You might consider dropping the car at DCA's economy lot ($12/day max) and taking Metro into town.
     
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  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I've done 4th of July in DC only once, but I recall that the Metro was a complete zoo after the fireworks show. So if that's of any interest, the ability to walk back to the hotel would be worth some extra $ for me.
     
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  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    For me, I'd pay a good bit extra to be right in the center and able to walk to things, but the OP specified a short list of hotels. My instinct would be to look for otherwise more expensive business-oriented hotels with good weekend rates and splurge a bit. Except for the fireworks show, the city's better business hotels should be pretty empty.
     
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  11. msv
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    msv Gold Member

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    Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn (share same bldg) and Hilton are in Silver Spring MD and a short walk to the metro and there is a public garage a block away where the parking I believe is free on the weekends.
     
  12. travelinmike33
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    travelinmike33 Silver Member

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    I stayed at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center and also the Washington Hilton (near Dupont Circle, $116 AAA rate this weekend) last week.

    Definitely agree about Alexandria Mark Center. The shuttle is supposedly fairly good, but can't vouch too much as the day my wife used it was when they found the guy wandering Arlington Cemetery and roads were closed. Parking is definitely cheaper here than in the city, but I echo the sentiment to do as little driving as possible. I think this would be an ok choice as long as you are aware that it will take some time to get into DC to see the attractions.

    Though not on your list, the Washington Hilton is located very well for the price. Tons of restaurants and things to walk to, and about 5 minute walk from the metro. Parking was $30/day I think, so that's a downside if you're keeping the car with you.

    If you haven't already seen them, check out some other DC Hilton info here: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads...-in-washington-dc-for-a-family-vacation.9102/
    and Hilton Alexandria Mark Center review here: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/hilton-alexandria-mark-center-report.7776/
     
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  13. upgrade

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    So true. It's mayhem just walking back from the Mall to my house on Capitol Hill; can't imagine what the Metro crowding would be like.
     
  14. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Now that everyone is talking about the mayhem, also keep in mind that if you are using a hotel shuttle you'll experience the same mayhem as you try to get back from the metro. I’d like to see 30 or 40 rooms worth of people try to get back in a 8-12 person van…. Not to mention there will be a good bid of traffic leaving the district.
     
  15. Valentine

    Valentine Silver Member

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    This looks like a fabulous promotion! I've called the Reservations hotline and they didn't see any problems with booking it either (even though it appears to be for the Washington Caps's season ticket holders when I Googled for it).

    Is the reason everyone's advising against driving into downtown DC because of parking or crappy traffic conditions?
     
  16. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Reminds me of the year I watched the fireworks at the Jefferson Memorial and then followed the crowd out. Somehow ended up in the parking lot of the Pentagon (that''s where everyone was walking to). Grabbed Metro there over to Crystal City. I had no idea where I was going.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I was watching the fireworks from the grassy area within a freeway cloverleaf (US-50, I think) near the Iwo Jima memorial. Nice view over the city and mall and quite a crowd even there.
     
  18. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    You must have been right across from the park I was at in 2009. It's between the Marine Memorial and Netherlands Carillon:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. upgrade

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    Assorted reasons:
    • parking at the HGI itself is expensive ($35)
    • essentially all the parking downtown is metered -- on many blocks, that includes Saturdays and late evenings -- or in commercial garages
    • parking will be scarce in any event, as lots of visitors come to town for the 4th
    • there are extensive road closures on July 4
    Also, some aspects of the DC street plan are unfamiliar or baffling to visitors, and can lead to dangerous driving situations. I'm thinking of the numerous traffic circles, especially Dupont Circle (where out-of-towners routinely ignore the special "Mass Ave only" lane markings and risk T-boning other cars at 40mph).

    So leave the car & bring yourself. DC is best experienced on foot, and Metro and/or the Circulator bus will get you anywhere else in the downtown core/Capitol Hill/Georgetown that you're likely to want to go.
     
  20. upgrade

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    What did you decide on? How did it work out?
     

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