Hotel Rouge Washington DC Review – Funky & Fresh
You know a hotel is special, when even after 8 years, it is still one of the first things that come to your mind when you think about a city. Hotel Rouge in Washington DC is one of those hotels. I had stayed there almost 8 years ago with my friend Leila for a girls getaway and I still recommend it to people when I hear they are planning a trip to the District. So when the husband and I decided to add on a long weekend to our business trip to Washington DC, I immediately booked our stay at Hotel Rouge. Would it live up to my memories?
Disclosure: As a travel blogger, I sometimes get a few perks during my travels. In this case, I was offered a reduced press rate in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and I strive to share with you an objective review about my experience at Hotel Rouge.
Check in and Welcome at Hotel Rouge
First impressions matter, when you arrive in a hotel. A welcoming lobby, short wait time and friendly staff are essential to a good first impression and Hotel Rouge succeeded at that. The lobby is quite small but super cute and funky. I love the design and the furniture invites you to hang out and relax.
When we arrived, we walked straight up to the counter for check-in and were greeted by a very friendly lady working at the front desk. She welcomed us to Hotel Rouge, looked up our reservation and informed us that we were upgraded to an Executive Suite. Sweet 🙂 Those are the kind of words that I like to hear. She gave us our keys, told us about some of the hotel perks and gave us the WIFI password. The Check-in was welcoming, fast and efficient and we were on our way to our room in less than 5 minutes.
In our room, we found a cooler with a complimentary bottle of Pino Grigio (my favorite white wine) and a mouthwatering fruit and cheese tray in our room, as well as a copy of the latest issue of AFAR Travel Magazine and a Washington DC travel magazine with a handwritten welcome card. Those little gestures mean so much and really take a hotel’s service to the next level. And what could be a better way to start a vacation than getting into a relaxed mood while freshening up and sipping on some cold white wine and munching on cheese and strawberries?
Our Room at Hotel Rouge
Our Executive suite at Hotel Rouge was large and very inviting. With 481 sq ft (nope I didn’t measure it, but the website says so), this was probably the largest city hotel room I have ever stayed in. A small hallway from the door opened up into a large bedroom with a spacious seating area that included a sleeper sofa, chairs, and a large desk. Next to the desk was a small study that hosted the mini bar and access to the bathroom. Definitely more than enough space for 2 people, but easily large enough for a family with 2 kids or a group of 3-4 friends sharing a hotel room.
The king size bed was inviting and the huge red leather head board was definitely an eye catcher. The husband and I both slept great on the medium firm mattress and I liked the soft, yet thicker sheets that keep you warm, yet are breathable and you don’t wake up a sweaty mess. After walking around and exploring the city all day, it was heavenly to just lay down and fall asleep instantly without much tossing and turning like it is the case in so many hotel rooms.
Compared to the size of the hotel room itself, the bathroom was tiny, yet functional. If you are staying there with 2 people, it works great. If you are a group of 3-4 girlfriends trying to get ready for night in town, you might strangle yourself or your girlfriends with the curly iron cable or poke out an eye or two when applying your eyeliner. However, there is a huge, floor to ceiling mirror in the living room that is perfect for a few mirror selfies and making sure that the outfits look just right.
Design – Hotel Rouge
When you walk into the cozy lobby of Hotel Rouge, you will immediately notice the bold design. Funky, fresh and pretty cool. Like the name suggests, Hotel Rouge has a thing for the color red. And red it is.
The design is a bit retro with a hint of 60s, funky and fun with a lot of attention to detail. The Zebra striped robes match the carpet in the hallway, and I instantly fell in love with the throw pillow on our bed. The style of the hotel is sexy and stylish, making it perfect for a romantic getaway. But it is not so boudoir that you can’t go there with a group of friends or as a family.
Some of the hotels that have a “Motto” just overdo it and throw anything that is remotely related to the theme into your room. Hotel Rouge has a unique and elegant style without turning it into a motto party and I applaud them for walking this fine line successfully.
Hotel Rouge scores a solid 5 stars when it comes to location. Dupont Circle is just 3 blocks away and has an abundance of bars, restaurants, art galleries and shops. Yet it is also a very residential neighborhood with beautiful brick row houses that make you dream of becoming a Washingtonian. You find quiet and lush little green spaces with nannies sitting on park benches and the kids running around and playing. Dupont Circle is also home to many hip little bars and shops, like Kramerbooks that not only has an excellent selection of books (the largest travel book selection I have ever seen in a book shop), but also hosts a bar in the back that offers great food and an amazing selection of local and domestic craft beers on tab. It is a fun neighborhood to stay in when you go and explore DC.
I love taking public transportation when I travel, because I don’t get to do that at home (sorry, but San Antonio public Transport plain and simply sucks!). From Hotel Rouge, I can walk to the red line Metro stop at Dupont Circle (3 blocks, ~ 5-7 minute walk), or the Blue, Orange and Silver line on Farragut West or McPherson Square Metro stop (6 Blocks, ~ 10-12 minute walk). Hotel Rouge is just a few blocks (5 to be exact) away from the White House, and from there, you can walk to the Mall and explore the monuments. DC is a great city to explore on foot or by using public transportation, so put on your walking shoes and charge up your Metro Card and explore.
“If you didn’t post it on Instagram, it didn’t happen, right?” You receive your login credentials at checkin and all you need to do is pull up a new tab or window and put in the password that was given to you and you are ready to go.
Public bikes available (first come, first serve)
DC is a very bike friendly city and touring it with a bike is a great way to explore and see the sights. Hotel Rouge offers complimentary bike rentals on a first come first serve basis. So get up early, grab a bike and ride down to the White House, along the mall and around the monuments. You can even take your bike on the Metro (avoid rush hour though).
Yoga mat in every room
I love that I had the opportunity to work out some of the stress of traveling with a short yoga session every evening before bed. Doing a few downward dogs and sun salutations can be a great way to relax after walking around the city all day.
Complimentary Free coffee & tea
I love coffee, so if you give me free coffee in the morning, I will like you. A lot. So all I have to say is: Thank you Hotel Rouge for providing me with my coffee fix in the morning. I like you. A lot 🙂
You know what I like even more than free coffee? Free wine! And Hotel Rouge offers just that. Every day from 5-6 PM, they have a little cocktail hour in the hotel lobby, pouring locally sourced red and white wines. It is great to come back to the hotel after your adventures exploring the city, freshen up and grabbing a glass of wine and socializing before heading out to dinner.
Pet friendly (no extra fees, no size/breed restrictions)
As dog lovers and proud pet parent, I appreciate the fact that all Kimpton Hotels are pet friendly and that they don’t charge a fee or have size or breed restrictions. Since we do a lot of road trips with our dog, I will definitely look for Kimpton hotels for our upcoming petcations.
If the walking around the city is not work out enough for you, you can get your sweat on in the Fitness Center downstairs. It is small, but you might be lucky and have it all to yourself. I was downstairs 2 times and both times I was the only one there.
$ 1 Continental Breakfast-Upgrade or $ 1 Parking-Upgrade
Ok, I need to be honest here. The husband and I had breakfast in Bar Rouge on the morning of our checkout. They have two options: Continental breakfast for $14 with some cereals, milk, a few pastries, bread and bagels, butter, jams and peanut butter, as well as some fruit, and the Deluxe Breakfast for $17 which added scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and hot oatmeal to the Continental selection. Honestly, I was very disappointed. I’ve had better free breakfasts at La Quinta. The roasted potatoes were greasy and mushy, the bacon tasted like it had been reheated in the microwave several time and the eggs were watery. It just wasn’t good value for the money.
However, you can get a $ 1 Breakfast-upgrade that you can choose when booking directly through their website. I would be fine with what they offer as a continental breakfast for $ 1. If you are not a big breakfast person or just want to grab some coffee and a bagel, the $ 1 option is a great and convenient deal. But if you have to pay full price (like we did), you are much better off to either go to Starbucks for a quick bite or The Tabard Inn around the corner for a great brunch that will only cost you a little bit more and you’ll enjoy amazing food in a beautiful atmosphere!
Insider Tip: If you need to park your car, I would suggest you opt for the $ 1 Parking-upgrade when booking, as parking is very expensive in the city. Here are the parking rates for Hotel Rouge, if you don’t book the $ 1 Parking-upgrade: $ 25 day parking – $ 45 plus tax overnight – $ 60 oversized vehicles – 50% discount on all parking prices for eco-friendly vehicles – 1 night complimentary Parking for RED cars
Hotel Rouge is a Green Key rated hotel and supports sustainable tourism efforts by using eco friendly cleaning products and bath amenities,
Kimpton Karma Rewards
If you are as much a fan of Kimpton Hotels than I am, I would suggest you sign up for their free Rewards Program. You will receive quite a few benefits such as:
- Complimentary WIFI
- Raid the Minibar $ 10 Voucher
- Personalized Room Preferences
- Daily Newspaper Delivery
- Earn Free Nights
The Final Verdict – Hotel Rouge Washington DC
Hotel Rouge is a wonderful and very unique place to stay in Washington DC. Just like many of the other Kimpton Hotels, this property has character and treats you like a welcomed guest, not a room number like too many of the other chain hotels these days. I love their attention to detail and their style, which makes it such a unique and interesting hotel that will stand out in your memory for years to come. You get great value for your money, when you stay at Hotel Rouge. The price you pay for the location and the excellent amenities is a great deal. My husband and I really enjoyed our stay at Hotel Rouge and would return in a heart beat. And for the next 8 years, I will continue to recommend it to my friends, family and readers (at least), but hopefully I won’t have to wait so long to return.
Click here to book your room at Hotel Rouge!
Have you been to DC recently? What was your favorite adventure in the city?
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