Hotel Review: Capital Hilton, Washington, DC

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I’m back in Dallas and still reeling from an incredible trip this past weekend to Washington, DC, for BAcon 3 (BoardingArea’s conference for the blogger crew).

The more I stay in hotels, the more I feel it’s the staff that makes a good stay above all else. Location is probably second. Yep. Followed by breakfast. All I ever want is breakfast.

I took a Lyft for the short ~4-mile ride from DCA to downtown DC for my stay at the Capital Hilton. It was nice to see the foliage, and feel the fall chill: two things I’ve been missing in Texas.

capital hilton washington dc review

Back like a heart attack

I was in DC this August for FTU Advanced. So it was nice to be back, twice in a year.

The location of the hotel is incredible.

Easy walking distance to

Easy walking distance to so much good stuff (Click to enlarge)

You can easily walk to the White House, and Logan Circle or 14th Street for bars and restaurants. And anywhere downtown. Or take a quick Lyft to the Smithsonian museums, Washington Monument, and Lincoln memorial (or just walk it – it’s a beautiful part of the city).

It’s also 2 blocks from the subway, for those who like to ride the train. The location is the biggest reason I chose to stay here – it was the closest Hilton hotel to my conference location.

Arrival and check-in

The ride in took about 20 minutes. The employees at the door opened the car door, greeted me, and asked if I needed help right away. I only travel with a carry-on, so I was good. But it was an extremely nice gesture.

Lobby

The lobby

There was a separate check-in line for HHonors members. It was empty, so I swooped in.

The desk agent acknowledged my Hilton Diamond elite status.

Now, mobile check-in AND digital key were available here, but I did not use either. Why?

By selecting a room in advance, you give up your chance for an upgrade. They’re hoping you’ll pick a room so they won’t have to upgrade you. Tricksy, isn’t it?

So I asked if any upgrades were available (I booked a “King Pure Allergy” room). And got a King room on the Executive Floor. She said that was my upgrade. I never plan to spend much time in my room, so ultimately, it never matters. It’s just, ya know, the little things.

I got info about the Executive Lounge, a wifi password, and was welcomed to use the MINT health club attached to the hotel, which looked fully-stocked with equipment, had yoga classes, the whole nine yards.

Hallways of the Capital Hilton

Hallways of the Capital Hilton

As I headed to the elevator, I was at least hoping for a nice view.

My room, 1441

My room, 1441

Especially because it was on the top (14th) floor.

The room

When I walked in, I thought, “meh.” It was fine. 

View upon walking in

View upon walking in

The decor was stodgy, and it was a little compact, but that’s to be expected in a major city.

There was a comfy couch, a desk, TV, and a bed with two nightstands.

Closet with

Closet with ironing board, safe, hangers, extra bedding

Desk

Desk

Couch

Couch

TV and dresser

TV and dresser

The bed

The bed

And yes, I did make sure to unpack my shirts as part of getting settled in. I love and encourage this habit!

Then I made my way over to the windows…

View from the window

View from the window

…and was met with a particularly uninspiring view:

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Oh, OK. Wow.

Basically a gigantic hole in the ground.

Then to the bathroom. It was big enough for me. And I loved having the magnifying mirror. I also liked having the shower behind another door within the same room.

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Bathroom (and harro!)

Peter Thomas Roth toiletries

Peter Thomas Roth toiletries

There were high-quality bath products. And of course, I packed some coconut oil in a travel tube.

Shower

Shower and toilet

Overall, the room was clean and quiet. And the premium wifi was super fast. I only had to reconnect every other day to the hotel’s internet.

The A/C in the room was a unit under the window, next to the bed. It made a gentle clacking sound as it blew air. I was fine with the white noise. And mostly grateful I couldn’t hear any of that god-awful construction outside.

While I would’ve loved an upgrade to a suite, this room was fine. And the staff were all very gracious and welcoming.

And, I wasn’t really in there but to sleep, anyway.

Breakfast and Executive Lounge

Breakfast was served in the Executive Lounge. There was a selection of fruit and yogurt, pastries, bacon, and eggs. There were also a few juices, coffee, and boxes of cereal.

That’s about it. I was rushing each morning, so I barely had time to grab a banana and go.

I’ve honestly had better breakfast at Hyatt Place hotels than here. I don’t eat pork, so… and the eggs were that mass-produced kinda globby tasteless variety – you know the kind.

So I loaded up on fruit and had a croissant or tart. I’m glad it was included, but if this was intended for top-tier elites, it was lackluster.

At other times, there was always fruit, cereal, and coffee and available. And plenty of bottled water. I took a couple of bottles up to the room each time I visited. And filled up on coffee. So those were incredibly nice perks to have.

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Fruit and cereal in the Executive Lounge

And they had cheese cubes, crackers, olives, and one small hot item each evening for “cocktail hour”.

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Evening snacks

But to my chagrin, there were no cocktails – just beer and wine. And you had to pay.

$6 for beer and $8 for wine. *side eye* So I skipped that completely.

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Seating in the Executive Lounge

On another note, I notice these “big city” Hiltons give you less and want you to pay for more. I got better food and free drinks at the DoubleTree in Murfreesboro, Tenneesee. But similar service at the New York Hilton Midtown.

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Free bottled water and 24-hour coffee – lifesaver

Bottom line

I enjoyed my time at the Capital Hilton. But I’m finding I like Hilton’s sub-brands more. Particularly DoubleTree. And I’ve heard good things about Hilton Garden Inn.

Homewood Suites is… OK.

DC is a Hilton haven

DC is a Hilton haven

Washington, DC, is flush with Hilton in its many iterations, and many other hotel chains, too.

I wouldn’t rush back to the Capital Hilton. Instead, I’d try another location or sub-brand.

The Executive Lounge and breakfast was just OK, the room was nice enough, but I feel like they skimped on the details. Like the upgrade, and those other “little something extras.” A few more hot items at breakfast and actual cocktails for cocktail hour, how bout?

But the staff were wonderful. And the location is incredible. I had a great time here, but wasn’t blown away. I’d say… 3 stars?

If you’ve stayed here, or elsewhere in DC, how does your experience compare? I’d love to hear if there’s a better hotel, or if this is the norm in that part of town.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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