While researching hotels for my trip to Washington DC, I came across the Kimpton brand’s “Third night free” promo, which made their stylish design hotel Kimpton & Rook seem like a very good deal at around $150 a night including taxes.
The hotel is located in a fairly quiet residential zone just next to the 14th street business area, and if you like us prefer mostly to walk around, it is possible to walk both to charming Georgetown and to Downtown, The White House and the other sights from there.
It is, however, not exactly in the middle of everything, so be prepared for tired legs (or taking Uber or a taxi for getting around, which mostly is a breeze).
Upon arrival sometime before noon the first impression was solid, with a upscale looking exterior and a gorgeusly furnished lobby area. We were told that our Cityview Queen Queen room wasn’t quite ready yet, but that we could have a standard room with two beds if we wanted a room right away.
We had just planned to put our luggage in the room and get out to explore the city, so we declined; I wanted the room I had originally paid for. The receptionist confirmed my mobile number, and told me she would send me a text when our room was ready.
I never got any text, but nevertheless the promised room was ready when we returned at about 4:30 PM; room 902. The elevators are somewhat confusingly located at the end of a long corridor around the corner from the reception, and there are only two of them, which just doesn’t seem enough for a hotel of this size. We frequently had to wait, and there is no indicator of where the elevator is on any floor other than the ground floor, so you never know how far away it is.
The room gave the same first impression as the lobby area. Spacious, with a modern, minimalist design clearly put together by someone who knew what they were doing. The city view wasn’t that much to clamor for, however, so I would probably advise you to either save those dollars and go for a regular room or splurge a little extra for the Spa suites with a bathtub, if that’s your thing.
The room had the advertised two queen beds, a lounge chair in the corner, as well as a gigantic Samsung TV and a fairly spacious, but maybe not as impressively designed bathroom.
The beds were great, however, striking a nice balance between firm and soft, and the bedding was lush. I slept very well here, even though the hours were somewhat off due to my jetlag.
The airconditioning system worked extremely well, and responded instantly to changes in the desired temperature. My only complaint is that it was a tiny bit on the noisy side, and that the location of the fan under the window was unusual.
The street outside is in itself fairly quiet, but the construction site on the other site was definitely not. This is of course not a fault of the hotel, but maybe it’s worth asking for a room facing the other side if you are a noise allergic.
A few misses
And smashing decor aside, Kimpton has made a few presumably cost-cutting measures. One of them is not offering coffee making facilities in the rooms. You can ask for a coffee maker if you want, but what they will send you is a Keurig pod coffee maker with a very limited supply of pods.
When ours was delivered it came with only two pods: One with Earl Grey tea and one decaf coffee. That said, the hotel has complimentary (and good!) coffee and tea in the lobby every morning.
I also had a few gripes with the bathroom. First of all there is only one hanger, which seems ridiculous when the hotel gives you the standard choice between having your towels changed if you put them on the floor or to keep them if you hang them. But hang them where? The bathroom is clearly spacious enough to put a few hooks on the wall, so please do.
A greater disappointment was the water pressure in the shower. It was very low, and in addition the temperature was nowhere near consistent. It took a long time to get warm water, and then it kept going from hot to lukewarm to almost cold and back to hot again. This definitely didn’t hold up to the good standards of the rest of the room.
The Mason & Rook stocks Atelier Bloem toiletries in big, non-removable bottles. While I guess that’s cost cutting for the hotel and also friendlier to the environment, my internal mini size hoarder cannot help but feeling a little disappointed.
The body lotion came in a small size, but these were not restocked either during our stay. Other than that, I must say that these toiletries were absolutely luscious, with great scents and leaving your skin and hair feeling great.
The hotel has a rooftop pool, but we were never able to go up here. The first two days we were out all day, and then the hotel had closed off the rooftop for a private event, which was a bit of a letdown.
I was planning to go check it out on our last day, but it didn’t open until 10 AM, so we prioritized getting something out of the day before leaving for the airport at around 2 PM.
Daily wine hour
A pleasant feature of the hotel is their daily wine reception, however. From 5-6 PM every day you can have complimentary wine and beer in the lobby area, and although I don’t think they are serving the finest stuff, it’s a very nice offer to have when returning from a long day of seeing the sights of the American capital. Be aware that seats are pretty limited, though.
They say that wifi is free for members of the Kimpton Karma program, but it seemed like you could just register with any email address and get access. Speeds were not exactly fantastic, but good enough for checking some emails and getting a little work done. The wifi service had a limitation on the number of users, though, so in the mornings you would often be denied access on those grounds, which was fairly annoying.
The wifi service had a limitation on the number of users, though, so in the mornings you would often be denied access on those grounds, which was fairly annoying.
The service was professional, but not exactly forthcoming. I don’t recall having seen one smile from any of the receptionist staff while visiting, and while requests were mostly tended to promptly, they more often than not seemed bothered by the nuisance than happy to help.
The male concierge was an exception, however. Maybe you should train your staff better, Kimpton?
All in all I would say that the Kimpton Mason & Rook is a gorgeous hotel with a few annoying faults that shouldn’t really be all that hard to make right if the hotel management is willing.
Nevertheless we had a nice few days here: The location is alright, the decor beautiful and the rooms spacious.
All kinds of travel rates the Kimpton Mason & Rook: 4 out of 5
I liked: Gorgeous decor, spacious room, comfortable beds, huge TV, great toiletries, free wine reception every day and coffee in the morning
I disliked: Low water pressure in the shower, construction noise from across the street, no coffee maker in the room, somewhat cranky staff, user number limitation on the wifi