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Washington on a budget

Old Mar 29th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Washington on a budget

We are two middle aged brits who have some airline vouchers that enable us to take a free trip to Washington and are planning to do so next month - possibly 23-26 April. Having checked the hotel prices they seem to be very high or not available for that weekend. Also we would prefer to get about by public transport rather than hire a car.
So I have two questions 1. Where would it be best to stay - never having been before.
2. Any recommendations for budget hotels that provide some comfort.
Many thanks
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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What's your budget for a hotel? Be sure to find one that's within walking distance of a Metro station. Dupont Circle is a good place to start. April is high tourist season in DC, so hotels may not offer the lowest rates. You may also want to check out places near the Metro stops in Alexandria and Arlington across the river. They may be less expensive.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 01:03 PM
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I agree that you should stay within reasonable walking distance of a Metro stop. It's a good system, and you won't need a car at all.
Dupont Circle is always my recommendation, because it's a vibrant neighborhood that will give you loads of dining options at all price levels when your sightseeing is done; the areas closer to the museums tend to be either dead after 7pm or quite expensive. Foggy Bottom/GWU is another good neighborhood, less trafficked but still alive after hours. Old Town Alexandria (which is in Virginia, across the river from DC, but connected vby Metro) ditto, although hotels aren't much cheaper there than in the city.
As for hotels, try the Kalorama Guest House, which is near Dupont but strictly speaking in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood; Jury's and the Radisson Barcelo in Dupont, both of which sometimes run very good (say, $99) specials. If that's not budget enough, I hope others will chime in here with their suggestions.
Please note, too, that all the museums belonging to the Smithsonian Institution (which is to say, 99%of the museums in the city) and all the monuments are free admission, so staying on a budget in DC isn't as hard as it may appear! Good luck!
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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Srtongly agree that Dupont circle area is the best to stay in. Attached is a map of the area surrounding the Dupont Circle metro station. There 13 hotels that are indicated as "dark brown". I would contacct the lot of them, they are all OK. The Tabard Inn is particulary affordable.

http://www.stationmasters.com/System.../dupontci.html

http://www.tabardinn.com/
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 01:14 PM
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Oh, great, bardo! I always forget the Tabard, and you're right, it's a really good option.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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All the places mentioned are very nice and often found at a deal - but not always! You might find some good prices in Arlington VA, such as at the *Hyatt, *Holiday Inn, or Best Western near the Rosslyn Metro station. A bit further, but walkable (maybe not with your luggage tho) is the *Quality Inn Iwo Jima. A few stations west, at Court House, another Quality Inn is located. There is the *Holiday Inn Eisenhower adjacent to the Eisenhower Ave stop. Near King St stop is *Embassy Suites, Hilton, Hampton Inn (but probably a bit more costly than some of the others). A *Days Inn on Connecticutt Ave is near a Metro stop (VanNess?) as well as the *Days Inn - Camp Springs MD, walking distance to the Branch Ave Metro station.

Keep in mind that the dollar savings ends up costing you time riding the Metro. Branch Ave & Eisenhower are at or near the extreme ends of the tracks.

I have stayed in *Red Roof Inn in Alexandria (Richmond Rd/US1) which I suppose one could walk to Huntington Ave Metro from, but a cab shouldn't cost too much. It is recently renovated and while not luxurious is clean, safe, and budget-priced. More so is a *Red Roof in Laurel MD, but you'd need a rental car to stay there. It's 15 minutes to drive to the Greenbelt Metro stop, which is at the northern end of the Green Line, so takes about 1/2 hour to get to the center of DC. The *Red Roof Inn Washington DC is almost adjacent to GalleryPlace/Chinatown, but probably won't have good deals at that time, but check into it, it's probably the closest thing to budget within DC.(*=I have stayed there) Hope you have a terric stay
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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Hi

Your time choice is a popular one. If you would like a budget hotel then I would recommend the Hotel Harrington. It's not new (about 40 years old) but serviced and clean and it has one of the best downtown locations in DC. It's on 11th St NW right off Pennsylvania Ave. You can walk to the Capitol, the White House, Natl Gallery of Art. I checked it out on Trip Advisor and most people said that it was a very good deal for the money. Here's someone's comments on it and a tip on how to get a money off coupon too. You can probably get it for under $100 a night and you won't be riding the subway morning and night.

Washington DC: Harrington: "Pretty Good Place to Stay: Coupons Will Make It A Lot Cheaper"
Date: July 24, 2003
Reviewer: A TripAdvisor User, Boomer, NC
Compare prices with:
Hello, I just returned today from a vacation in the D.C. area. I spent 3 nights here at the Harrington this week. Back in this hotel's prime, it was probably a very expensive, luxourious place to stay. It was built a while back, and still has an interesting vintage look to it. I liked staying here, and probably would again. If you do stay here you must get a coupon to lower your room rate. On the back of my door, it said my room was around $120 a night, but I got it for $85 and a day of free parking with a coupon out of one of those visitors guides that have coupons and advertisements. The best offer I found was $80 with parking in the Traveler Discount Guide (traveldiscountguide.com), and you can print it online at roomsaver.com The hotel was very clean and had full cable with many channels. The hotel has a very good location that is within walking distance of many attractions. My room had a nice view of the street and came with a coffee pot and refridgerator. The only downside to this hotel is it's age and a few things look like they could use renovation, but it is still a nice place to stay in Washington.

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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 04:56 PM
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I'd forgotten about Harrington. I've tried to get rooms there a couple of times, but none avail each time. As a budget lodging, I don't think you can get a better deal AND location IF you can get a room. Would you stay at a hostel? Look for the DC hostel (HI/AYH) http://www.hiwashingtondc.org/ (1009 11th Street N.W. )
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 06:01 PM
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I would strongly suggest you try priceline ( if you have never used Priceline--look at biddingfortravel.com first--they will help you with detailed instructions).

I just booked 4* hotel Memorial Day week for $68 per night. I have previously booked the 4* Hyatt and Marriott hotels near the white house for less than $80 a night. 4* Budget hotel is not too bad a deal and I can spend my money enjoying myself.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 03:26 AM
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I'd suggest the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, VA also (just across the Potomac from D.C. Stayed there before years ago and it is very close to the metro - blue line (tube) and you'd be in D.C. in minutes. This line also takes you to Arlington Cemetary heading out of D.C. and to the Smithsonians. I'd also recommend all the other suburban places, just make sure the subway is near. If you want to eat fairly cheap I'd suggest the Food Court at the Old Post Office. Every kind of ethnic and American fast food imaginable is there (my fav is the Indian restaurant on the bottom floor). Lots of tourist shopping too. There is also usually entertainment on stage around mealtimes. Use to go here all the time when I worked at the FBI Bldg way back in the 1980s. Old Post Office is convenient to the big sites in the area too like Archives, Smithsonian, J. Edgar Hoover Bldg. (FBI), and Fords Theatre.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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I love that Indian restaurant that Stephanie writes of, as well as the one at the food court at Union Station .. but the prices seem lower at the Old Post Office ... located at the Federal Triangle Metro Stop. In addition, take the free tour of the clock tower in the P.O. building, one of DC's better views of the city (Washington Monument seems to always be closed, or sold out!). Also see the set of bells that your country gave to us! All the suggestions, especially using PriceLine are good, but again, room availability may be limited. Good luck.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Thank you all so much for your helpful suggestions - this is the first time that I have used this site and it certainly won't be the last.
I am thinking about priceline and have checked out the biddingfortravel.com which has some very helpful FAQ's. It does however seem to be difficult and not without it's pitfalls. Any helpful suggestions on this one.
Many thanks
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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I just spent half the morning booking Washington DC rooms on Priceline for our upcoming family vacation. The PL zones known as "Downtown/White House" and "Convention Center - Capitol Hill" are the most centrally located for most attractions, and the 3- and 4-star hotels that BFT lists in those zones are all acceptable. Look through the reports on BFT to see how much people have recently bid for each star/zone combination. But your given travel dates are coming up fast and bookings are tight, so bid soon.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 12:15 PM
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Do you mind me asking what you bid for your hotels via priceline?
Clearly you think that early booking is better than leaving it until the last minute. I wondered if we may get a better deal by leaving it later.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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Many school children on the East Coast are on spring break during the week of April 19, and many others venture to DC in groups on school field trips. (BTW, the Harrington is popular with such student groups.) Right now IS the "last minute" for the dates you gave in your original post, as the high prices and unavailability indicated! If you wait much longer to book, you will find yourself spending either a lot of money, or a lot of time commuting into the city from the suburbs.

My PL bookings this morning, for April 15 - 19, entailed more research, effort, and failed bids than I've ever encountered for PL. My successful bids were for $70 for two nights (4/15-17) in a 3-star hotel in the Convention Center zone, and $70 for the following two nights in a different 3-star in the Dupont Circle zone. Good luck!
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 01:06 PM
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If you are planning to place a Priceline bid you might want to check to see if Priceline will accept your credit card.

Some Brits have written in here and said that their cards were not accepted so perhaps Priceline might accept only stateside cards?? I don't know but it's worth checking on.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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I would suggest you reserve SOMETHING immediately that could be cancelled without penalty. Right now, the Red Roof in DC (500 H Street NW) has rooms 2 full beds for $100. If you reserved, you could cancel by 6pm Apr 22 with no charges. Shop around for a better deal/location and cancel should you find something. Better to have a room now than regrets later.
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