I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in DC from October 31 to November 2. It is a fantastic hotel, although it struck me as more of a place to have a nice vacation rather than a work conference (which was the purpose of the trip). Some of the nice things about this place:
- The bathroom in my normal-sized room was huge. Seriously, you could organize a scavenger hunt for a kindergarten class in there. The tub and the shower were separate, and in the tub I couldn’t have my back on one end and still have my feet touch the other end.
- Wifi was free and very fast. Conveniently, the connection in my room used the same credentials as the connection in the conference facilities.
- Free robes.
- Free spa access with a rain forest shower, steam room, dry sauna, and (very) cold plunge pool.
- Really solid catering.
- A location convenient to the Mall and major monuments.
So why do I say it was a better place for a vacation than a work trip? For one thing, an amazing spa in a good location is something I am more likely to imagine for leisure travel. For another, some of the things which were missing weren’t great for business travelers. There is no bill underneath the door on the last night, and (for those of us whose employers require a receipt and who have had automated TV systems not send them) that means that you have to stand in line to check out… at the same time the conference is ending for everyone else. Second, while there were plenty of electric plugs in my room none of them were particularly close to the dining table. Third, there was a dining table and chair rather than a work desk. None of those things would be a problem on vacation, but they presented minor annoyances when trying to work.
Two other items of note. The bar prices were high, although not unreasonably so for a luxury hotel in a good location in a big city. Second, I had room 940. Avoid rooms ending in 40 as they are near the elevator and you can sometimes hear noise. These were pretty minor things, though, and I would certainly stay here again. I would just be more likely to do it for a personal trip than a work one.