Located in the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol, the Waldorf Astoria Washington DC opened in June 2022 at the site of what used to be the Trump International hotel. The hotel retains a lot of the character of the Old Post Office building while still delivering a modern and elegant atmosphere. But the hotel’s greatest feature is its location, which is second to none. Overall, my first stay at this new property was quite good, with breakfast service being the only blemish.
Standard rooms at the Waldorf Astoria DC go for 110,000 Hilton Honors points per night. Despite being a new property offering fantastic value for points, standard room availability has been relatively easy to find. The cash rate for my two-night stay was $1,588 per night. This made redeeming 220,000 Hilton points for this stay a no-brainer. I ended up getting 1.4 cents per point in value, which is an excellent value for Hilton points.
Hilton points are easy to earn with Hilton’s portfolio of co-branded American Express cards. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card(review) currently offers the opportunity to earn 130,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Hilton is also a transfer partner of American Express. While we usually do not recommend transferring Amex points to Hilton, there can be instances where it makes sense to do so.
The Waldorf Astoria DC is in a fantastic location. The hotel is just steps from the National Mall, across the street from a Metro stop, and close to downtown DC. This puts you close to some of the city’s best restaurants. You’re also within walking distance of Capital One Arena, where you can catch hockey and basketball games. An Uber or Lyft ride from Reagan National Airport costs less than $30 without traffic.
The Waldorf is better located than any of DC’s other luxury hotels. The only comparable hotel in terms of location is the Willard InterContinental, just up the street. The Park Hyatt is too far from any of the tourist attractions and not close enough to downtown for business travelers. The Conrad’s location isn’t too bad, but it’s still farther from the monuments and museums compared to the Waldorf. The St. Regis is close to the White House and to downtown but not much else.
I arrived at the hotel at around 11:30 am. Despite the Old Post Office building’s grandiose front, the entrance is tucked away on the side of the hotel. From the driveway, you have a short but steep set of stairs to get to the entrance. The bellhops and valet drivers were all very willing to help guests with their bags up the stairs. I noticed all the employees in the area greeting guests warmly as they stepped out of their cars. This made a great first impression.
The check-in desk is near the main entrance to the lobby and easy to find. I waited for a couple of minutes while the front desk staff assisted other guests. Once it was my turn, the front desk representative was pleasant and polite. She offered me a bottle of water while looking up my reservation. As soon as I handed her my driver’s license, the representative began addressing me by my last name. She also thanked me for being a Hilton Diamond member, which I earned by having the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card(review).
The representative apologized that my room wasn’t ready and offered to store my luggage. I said I had no rush to get to my room since I had a busy day ahead. I also asked whether any suites were available and that I would be willing to wait as long needed for suite. The representative said she was still in training and asked the front desk manager to assist. The manager showed her how to look up suites and explained to her that she should look to upgrade Hilton Diamond members to suites when checking them in. (Fingers crossed for future visits!) The manager said they didn’t have any suites ready at the moment, but they would text me when my room was ready.
I received a text message at around 5:20 pm saying my room was ready. I was still out and didn’t return until a couple of hours later. At that point, the staff at the front desk had changed. I asked again whether any suites were available, and the representative said they did not have any available due to multiple conferences in town. Indeed, the hotel appeared quite full and hotel rates for those nights throughout the city were exorbitant.
Overall the front desk staff was friendly and attentive. I noticed staff members being particularly friendly with young children.
The lobby and check-in desk are located in a massive atrium in the heart of the building. This massive space also houses the Peacock Alley bar and Bazar, one of the hotel’s restaurants, which is set to open by the end of the year. The atrium opens to the hallways where all the guest rooms are located. This allows guests to peak over into the lobby as soon as they step out of their rooms.
The lobby features many different lounge areas with ample seating for guests to enjoy some cocktails. Breakfast is also served here.
The hotel has electronic house music playing in the lobby throughout most of the day. The music just didn’t match the classic and elegant atmosphere of the hotel. I could hear the music in the hallway as soon as I stepped outside my room. This got old pretty fast.
Although I didn’t score a suite upgrade, I receive an upgrade to a deluxe king room. This is one level above a standard room. Overall, the room was great and I had no complaints.
The layout of the room was a bit unusual, though in a good way. As soon as you enter the room, you have a closet on either side of a long hallway that leads to the bedroom itself. Further down the hallway is the bathroom and a third closet.
The spacious room was elegant and classic without being too opulent. The room featured a nice writing desk, a dresser, and a cabinet with a fridge, minibar, and Nespresso machine. Meanwhile, the bed was extremely comfortable.
The bathroom was elegant and quite large, featuring a big tub, a spacious shower, and a double vanity with plenty of Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries.
Peacock Alley is the hotel’s main bar and lounge and is located in the atrium. The bar takes up an entire wall and guests have access to ample seating throughout the lobby. In the evenings, Peacock Alley was vibrant with plenty of guests enjoying cocktails and bar bites. This is also where breakfast is served in the mornings. The hotel also features the Michelin-starred Sushi Nakazawa, and Bazaar by José Andrés is scheduled to open by the end of the year.
I had breakfast at Peacock Alley one morning and was thoroughly underwhelmed. Service was extremely lackluster despite the restaurant not being full. A little over half of the tables had guests at them. I noticed several guests having to chase down servers to ask about how to order food, where should they go to settle their check, etc. because servers rarely came by. Oddly enough, there were plenty of servers to be seen, but they just weren’t interacting with guests! It took someone 10 minutes to greet me when I sat down.
Breakfast dishes took a long time to come as well. I heard one guest trying to cancel his order because it had been so long.
The breakfast menu was very expensive, even for a luxury hotel. Hilton Diamond members receive a $25 food & beverage credit per guest for up to 2 guests per day. Yet most dishes cost more than $25, without including tax or tip. I ordered an avocado toast and didn’t have any coffee or juice. After tax and tip, my bill came to $36. The food was mediocre at best.
On future visits, I’d much rather use my Diamond credits at the bar for some drinks in the evening. It’s times like these that I enjoy Hilton’s flexibility with food & beverage credits.
The hotel also offers a spa and a gym. The 24-hour gym was very large and features plenty of equipment. There is also a separate space for yoga and stretching. The spa’s reception area looked nice but I did not have a chance to check it out.
Few–if any–hotels can rival the Waldorf Astoria’s location in DC. The rooms are large, elegant, and comfortable. Overall, the staff was pleasant and attentive. Breakfast was the only disappointing part of this stay (although the incessant house music playing throughout the day wasn’t welcomed either). If you’re looking to tour the nation’s capital while enjoying some classic luxury, then the Waldorf Astoria is definitely worth a look.
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