The essentials about my stay:
Rate: $119/night – “We’ll put the Happy in your Birthday!” special rate
Room type: King Deluxe Room with balcony (upgraded from a King Deluxe room for $9 through the Madera eStandby Upgrade program)
When: August 2012
Booked: by email, using a birthday promotion to get 20% off my stay!
Breakfast: Not included
Rewards program: InTouch
Special bonus: Happy hour in the lobby – free wine & drinks; a $10 credit for the minibar for Kimpton InTouch members; and a free dessert in the adjacent restaurant for my birthday!
To start off, let me say that I have stayed at 2 Kimpton Hotels, and so far I am a big fan of the Kimpton chain. They are always friendly, and the fact that I have been greeted by a cocktail upon arrival during the manager’s happy hour each time has been a great welcome to each of the locations I have stayed at! 2 points for that!! (Side note, the other location was the Hotel Solamar in San Diego, for a friend’s wedding a couple of years ago and I was greeted there with a glass of sangria).
When I arrived at the Hotel Madera, I was just in town for a quick overnight, so location was very important to me. The proximity to Dupont Circle was key, and the valet parking made it very convenient. I was able to meet a friend in the adjacent restaurant for dinner, which I will talk more about in a moment, and another friend for breakfast 2 blocks away before heading out to my meeting in the morning. Another point for location.
My room itself was exactly what I needed. It was clean, quiet, and spacious, allowing me to feel a little bit pampered leading up to my meeting the next day – which I was actually a bit nervous about. OK, I guess I can admit now that it wasn’t really a “meeting” but more of a job interview…. I can say that now that I am no longer working for the same employer as I was in August 2012! Anyway, because of the reason for my trip, having a quiet and calm environment where I could get a good night’s rest was very important to me. 2 points for filling that need perfectly! The bed was comfortable, and I did sleep very well in it – another point! The only negatives about my room were that 1) one wall was actually a partition wall, so I think that the room could be expanded into a meeting space; and 2) there was a weird large closet in there (see first picture above, on the left side) with folding tables and stuff stored in there. Minus one point, because I really think they could store stuff like that some place other than inside a guest room. And the couch pictured above was the one piece of furniture that I didn’t really care for – it didn’t seem to go with the rest of the decor and was a little bit dated. I didn’t end up using it for anything other than putting some stuff on it. Minus a half point for the couch that looked like it was just thrown in there without any thought. But I’ll add a point because I was worried that there might be noise coming through the partition wall, and it wound up being perfectly quiet!
Another thing that I liked in my room was the bathroom. It was a good size, and a nice layout. Plus one. Elegant decor. Plus another point. Nice toiletries. Another point. No complaints about the bathroom, where I was suitably able to primp & prepare myself for my interview by, yes, practicing some of my answers to potential questions in front of a pretty mirror! And as far as I’m concerned, this is one of those times that talking to yourself is entirely OK! 😉 Anyway, Hotel Madera gets an extra point for giving me a perfect no-stress environment to mental prep to be at my most impressive!! While I didn’t get that job, I was happy with how the interview went, so that’s all a Chitalian girl can ask for, isn’t it?
Now, something that I really like about Kimpton hotels is their loyalty program. It is personalized, so you get special offers for your birthday and the like – and while that isn’t a unique concept for loyalty programs, I feel like they do a better job with it than others. They somehow make it feel more personal. Plus a point. Of course, they have the usual stay X number of nights, get a night on them promotions, but I like the birthday discount in particular! And I got to enjoy my birthday a little early with a dessert and, if memory serves, a cocktail, when I had dinner at the Firefly Restaurant, which is adjacent to the hotel. Plus another point. Oh, that’s another thing about Kimpton hotels, actually – I’ve found that the restaurants connected with them are always quality restaurants! Another point there!
Let’s talk a bit about the Firefly restaurant. I met my friend O there – he had dinner plans already, but kept me company while I ate (and enjoyed the above dessert!) We got to catch up, as we hadn’t seen each other in months, since we were both in Djibouti the prior Thanksgiving, as we enjoyed some delicious bites from the kitchen. The chef here focuses on locally & sustainable sources for his ingredients, and that means that whatever you get is fresh. Score two points for this earth-friendly and tasty approach! And their wine list is all-american. While many would still say the best wines come from Europe, American wines are often underrated – they are great and improving every day, so I love that American wine makers are spotlighted here. Plus another point.
My final verdict? Well, I didn’t take advantage of everything that this hotel has to offer as I was only here for one night, and in town for a very specific purpose, but nonetheless, Hotel Madera scored a 12.5 not including the restaurant’s points or 15.5 Chitalian points if you include the extra 3 points the restaurant alone “brought to the table”, forgive the pun. I think it is only fair to include the restaurant, so 15.5 it is! Pretty good considering I didn’t do much there!! I would definitely go back to the hotel, though I might actually prefer to try out another of their DC locations if I need a DC hotel – not out of any issue with the Hotel Madera, but just because I like the chain so much, I’d like to experience more of their hospitality!
Until the next post!