Family of 6 going to Washington DC

Feb 13th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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Family of 6 going to Washington DC

Hello. I am lost when it comes to finding the right hotel to book in Washington DC for the last week in March. I have been advised by friends to book a hotel near/on the Mall, but with a family of 6 (4 preteens/teens), I will require 2 rooms and the rooms are very expensive when doubling the cost.
Any thoughts on accommodations for a family of 6? Is booking a hotel such as the Holiday Inn Rosslyn/Arlington feasible for easy access to downtown? Does it really matter which airport you fly into? Most of the flights from my hometown fly into Baltimore or Dulles.

Thanks for your advice.
elzash is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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Re: which airport, I would decide based on how you will get downtown from the airport. From BWI, you could take the MARC commuter train for $6 to DC's Union Station ( The MARC train station, however, is a mile from BWI airport so you will have to take a free shuttle to get to it. From Dulles, you can catch the Super Shuttle, a van that will take you directly to your hotel, with a few other stops on the way if there are other people on the van ( Another option from Dulles is to take the Washington Flyer for $8 to the West Falls Church metro station and the metro from there.

As for a hotel, check for your dates. This will give you a broad view of what hotels are offering over this timeframe, then you can narrow down your choices and book on the hotel's website for possible lower rates. Many hotel websites offer internet direct rates which are non-refundable reservations but with big savings.

It is quite easy to get downtown from the Holiday Inn Rosslyn. Check out for a map of the DC metro system. You can also walk across the Key Bridge into Georgetown for good shopping and restaurants.
kcapuani is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 09:10 AM
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Hotels are expensive in D.C., as in any city of size, and the Mall area is equivalent to downtown. That said, I've stayed at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn and can vouch for its reasonable price and family-friendly accommodations. It's directly across the street from the Rosslyn Metro stop -- one stop away from the District and six stops from the Smithsonian station on the Mall. It's a short walk across Key Bridge over the Potomac to Georgetown and one Metro stop from Arlington National Cemetery, too. Just about any hotel or motel in Rosslyn will be Metro accessible (a 10-minute walk or less), and some offer shuttle services to the Metro and airports.

National/Reagan airport is closest and Metro-accessible, but bargain flights are better through Dulles or Baltimore. If you're renting a car here, you'll be fine either way, but note that Baltimore is about an hour trip. Otherwise, you might want to consider the expense of getting from the airport to your hotel if it doesn't offer a shuttle. Also, some hotels charge for shuttle service; others are free. I think you can take the Washington Flyer shuttle from Dulles for about $15 per person, although I'm not positive about this (Dulles: Amtrak offers weekday train service to Union Station in the District (Amtrak:; Metrorail:

Unless you'll be driving, it probably won't be cheap to get the whole crew into town, but there are definitely less-expensive options. Also, the Metro here is clean, safe, easy to navigate and generally reliable except for rush hour on weekdays.
polyester is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 09:24 AM
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The Holiday Inn Rosslyn would be OK if you are unable to find something in DC within your budget (what IS your budget?)

I would first CALL: the Red Roof Inn in Chinatown, the Capitol Hill Suites, Jury's Normandy, Lincoln Suites Downtown, and the Four Points Sheraton

There is really no diference between flying into BWI or Dulles (about an hour by taxi - or in your case a private minivan driver). However, if you can get a flight into Reagan National for only a few dollars more, it is DEFINATELY worth the extra cost - right on the subway line or a 10-15 taxi ride to downtown DC. Add up the added cost (and time) of of getting into/out of DC from Dulles/BWI vs. the higher cost of flying in Reagan Nat'l (if any) before deciding.
bardo1 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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Forgot to mention that Fodor's sells a great CityPack guide to Washington. It's $12 and includes a detailed fold-out map as well as a little history of the city, tips on getting your bearings, suggestions for things to do (including for kids), etc. Check it out at your local bookstore and see if it fits your needs. And no, I don't work for Fodor's!
polyester is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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I booked the Washington Suites Georgetown earlier this week for friends, a family of five. Cost was just under $200/night but there was family special being offered for less ($189?).

Their deluxe suite can accommodate six people. There are full kitchens plus free breakfast & afternoon reception.

Location is at the upper edge of Georgetown, about 2 blocks walk to the Foggy Bottom metro (blue/orange line) about12 blocks to the Smithsonians and Mall, 6 or 7 blocks to the major monuments.

I've stayed there myself and would do so again. The neighborhood is very safe, restaurants nearby, and (I think) a grocery.

I'm with bardo that Washington Regan is the easiest airport to fly into if cost is in the ballpark.
obxgirl is online now  
Feb 13th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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I've stayed at the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn and it is quite good for families. Last year they had a deal that if you were in their frequent traveler program (Priority Rewards) you got breakfast for free, and they also have free parking. All you have to do is sign up for Priority Rewards at the same time you make the reservation. We had a nice clean room and the hotel does have an indoor pool. It's a 5 minute walk if that to the metro station and then maybe a 10 minute ride to the mall. I would not hesitate to stay there again.
skigirl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 12:20 PM
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Go for the Holiday Inn Rosslyn. I stayed here once and liked it. Remember it being very close to the blue line Rosslyn station and when you stepped outside there were lots of shops and places to eat. D.C. will be like a 10 min subway trip. Didn't know this HI had an indoor pool, that would be a bonus too having a family. If you stay here I'd highly suggest National as the blue line has a stop there and you could go to the Rosslyn stop and you'd be at your hotel in no more than 10 minutes.
Stephanie is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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If you decide to fly into Baltimore, you should know that the MARC trains don't run on weekends and that there's a cheaper alternative -- the B30 bus, which leaves from the main terminal every 40 minutes 7 days a week and for $3 will take you to the Greenbelt metro station.

Don't overlook Embassy Suites, where you can get a suite with two double beds and a sofabed, a kitchenette, free huge breakfasts -- but only one bathroom. The ES in Alexandria and Friendship Heights are very handy to the Metro, the one in Crystal City is not.
Anonymous is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 05:42 PM
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Thank you so much for your advice. I will probably book 2 rooms in Rosslyn due to the ease of the Metro stop being nearby and the indoor pool (for the kids).
One more (stupid) Alexandria just as close or the same as Rosslyn? Sorry I'm so ignorant of the city.

elzash is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 06:35 PM
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Rosslyn is a primarily high rise "neighborhood" in Arlington County which borders the Potomac River and is home to three of the major bridges into DÇ: Memorial Bridge, Key Bridge and the 14th Street Bridge. The City of Alexandria is also on the Potomac River but lies adjacent and south of Arlington. The drive time into DC is just slightly longer from Alexandria.
obxgirl is online now  
Feb 14th, 2005, 06:37 PM
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Rosslyn is the first Virginia stop as one leaves DC on the Blue & Orange lines.

Alexandria (King St) is the 6th stop on the Yellow line, and the 8th stop on the Blue line after leaving DC.

Find maps at
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 06:50 PM
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If you want to go to Alexandria I'd suggest taking the blue line going out of D.C. to National City and then transferring over to the yellow line at that stop. King Street stop is a fair distance from Old Town, takes you 20 to 30 minutes to walk it as an adult, if your children are preteens they should be able to do it at that pace too, its a pleasant walk and you'll like it. There is also a bus that goes there too, you can get transfers at the subway station to get a cheaper fare. The Smithsonian stop is on the blue line so the Rosslyn HI is your best bet, good choice.

Stephanie is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 06:56 PM
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Stayed at the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn several times (daughter in college at Georgetown. Nice Place, easily accesible to subway, free parking (a rarity in Washington) and the hotel taxes are less. Join their Priority Club (free) before you make reservation and breakfast is free on weekdays. Easy walk into Georgetown if weather is good. Lots of great restaurants there.
Travelermebe is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 08:50 PM
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I agree - the Holiday Inn in the Rosslyn area in Arlington is nice (I had relatives stay there before), within walking distance of the Rosslyn metro stop and near McDonalds and other restaurants - safe neighborhood too.

free parking is definitely worth it. No one has stupid questions. About Rosslyn -Arlington is a County in Virginia - no incorporated cities in Arlington, and Rosslyn is just a name of an area in Arlington. Alexandria isn't that far away either - just take the subway , the Old Town area of Alexandria is probably what you are thinking about the touristy spot of Alexandria - lots of nice shops and restaurants.

The other nice thing, is the subway stop is on the Orange and Blue lines - so you can go one way on the Blue line towards Alexandria, Arlington Cemetery, etc..

The other way on the Blue line or Orange line towards downtown - very quick to the sites in DC.

As far as airports - although National Airport is just a few subway stops away from that hotel - not worth it if the flights are cheaper and better from your hometown - than go to Dulles - you can get shuttles or see if your hotel offers transportation.

I'd have BWI has your last choice - as it's about an hour away (without traffic problems) from Arlington.

There is an Embassy Suites in the Crystal City/Pentagon City area of Arlington - not sure if you want to have 6 people in one suite, but might be worth it if you want to save money. There is a subway stop in that area, the website says 2 blocks away from the Pentagon City subway stop. Near a shopping center too.

soapsfan is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 04:45 AM
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I have stayed at the Embassy Suites in Crystal City. The Metro stop is NOT two blocks away -- it's so far that the hotel offered a shuttle. Crystal City has a huge (acres and acres) underground shopping mall, and you can enter THAT within two blocks of the hotel, and then walk for 10 minutes underground to get to the actual Metro train. As I mentioned above, there are two other ES that are handy to Metro stops.
Anonymous is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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Again, thanks to all of you for being so kind. I appreciate all of the information. I feel much better about my travel decisions!
elzash is offline  
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