where to stay DC or burbs?

Old Jan 10th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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where to stay DC or burbs?

Family of four going to DC in mid March. Wondering where to stay. I have stayed in Alexandria, VA before. Would like nice accomodations with a breakfast included. Anyone familiar with the Embassy Suites in Alexandria? We plan on seeing monuments and some museums. Will be there for 5 days
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 07:21 AM
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The Embassy Suites at Crystal City in Arlington is convenient to the Metro. They also have great breakfasts.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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I've stayed at the ES in Crystal City and in Friendship Heights. Although the latter is technically farther out, it's literally on top of a Metro station; the ES in Crystal City is a few blocks -- far enough for hte hotel to offer a shuttle pickup service when I stayed there. The Friendship Heights metro station is literally in the basement of the mall that the ES sits atop, it's quite lovely to get off the train at hte end of the day and have nothing to do but ride a couple of escalators to get "home!"

I have no expereince with the one in Alexandria, but have been told that it's across hte street form a Metro stop, also more convenenient than Crystal City. Crystal City itself was a bleak collection of hotels and office buildings, not a place a tourist would find anything to do.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Will you be driving or renting a car? The problem staying in DC is the parking situation. You will have to pay extra for parking. Parking tickets for those who park w/o paying are very high. I'll bet you'll have to pay in Alexandria as well. But I surely don't advise staying out near the beltway, no matter how much you'd save. Traffic into and out of and around DC is horrendous.

Price and compare. Have fun.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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All of the advice is good.

My one suggestion would be think about how you want to travel. Staying in Alexandria is great, but you will probably find that it means once you leave in the morning, it will be too far of a subway ride to go back in the middle of the day and leave again. Thus, if you want time to rest and relax, and then tour again, you could be out of luck.

OTOH, if you stay in the city you can stop by your hotel in the middle of the day if you want and then go back out sightseeing after being refreshed.

Also, breakfast is the cheapest meal of the day, even for a family. I am not sure staying on the edges is worth it just for the free breakfast. You will have to decide that.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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When we stayed at the ES in Crystal City, they were offering free parking for AAA members, so don't forget to ask about specials and offers. They also comped us a night because we were kept awake by noisy, unruly students.

As Mike says, do think about whether you'll want to go back to your hotel during the day, and if so factor in the time and energy it will take to get there. BUT a hotel that's a few stops farther out of the city center, but right at a Metro stop, will take no more time and energy than a city-center hotel that's a few blocks away from the Metro -- time between stations is short and therefore walking time from the nearest Metro must be considered, too.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 01:33 PM
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Have you tried looking at some of the suite hotels right in DC? There are a few that would be in walking distance (20 minute walk) to the National Mall if you enjoy walking. Try Georgetown Suites (has breakfast) and I think in Foggy Bottom there is the River Inn (not sure of name) or Washington Suites (again, not sure of name even though I see them often). For a family, the kitchen would help cut costs, too. You'll be close Kennedy Center for their free daily shows at 6pm, Foggy Bottom metro stop, and Dupont/red metro line shuttle.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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The ES in Alexandria is indeed across the street from the Metro, which accesses the yellow and blue lines, which in turn take you to many of the top tourism locations. It's also on the end of Old Town, so easy access to some decent shops and restaurants. But for the price, you probably could get something pretty nice in downtown DC, so don't discard that option.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 03:50 PM
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We have many great hotels/motels around the city that offer perks like breakfast and parking. But when you're staying outside the city then you're adding on about 45 minutes each way in commuting. Whereas if you're in the city you can just start sightseeing!!

Many Washington hotels offer specials on their internet sites as well as on Expedia, Orbitz, etc.

Washington is not a difficult city to get around in BUT it is a difficult city to get into. Morning and evening rush hours can be brutal.

There are also Embassy Suites in DC and there's also a lot of nice hotel/motels in Dupont Circle, plus there's others down around the Mall that runs from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol.

Watch the weather reports too cause DC can also get some nasty cold spells in March.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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You will certainly not be 45 minutes from DC if you stay at the ES in Friendship Heights! It's literally AT a Red Line station; door-to-door from our hotel room to the station where we got off for Catholic University, on the far side of DC, was half an hour.
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Old Jan 11th, 2004, 06:59 PM
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Betsy, consider staying in Rosslyn, Va. a community just across the Potomac from Washington, in Arlington County.

The Best Western Key Bridge Hotel there is within a block of the Rosslyn Metro station, which is the last Metro stop in Va. before D.C., instead of several stops from D.C. as the King St. Alexandria station is. From the Best Western, whose rate I believe includes breakfast, you can easily walk across the Key Bridge to the heart of Georgetown in D.C.

A block or so from the Best Western is the Key Bridge Holiday Inn, which has a rooftop restaurant with an excellent panoramic view of the Potomac and Washington's monuments as well as of Georgetown. I took my mother, a newcomer to the Washington area, there for her 75th birthday, and she loved it. I think it is open for three meals a day.

Not far away in Rosslyn are a Marriott, a Marriott Courtyard, a Hyatt, a Quality Inn and some non-chain choices. Rates in Rosslyn are generally substantially lower than they are in D.C. just one Metro stop away.
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Old Jan 12th, 2004, 07:56 AM
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I've stayed at the ES in Alexandria. We filled up on the free breakfast, usually skipping lunch. It was a nice place, and it was nice to walk down King Street at night. You could throw a ball from the hotel to the Metro Station. We didn't have a car, but I doubt the parking was free. We did spend more time than I'd like to going into the District, but most of our group wanted to stay there, so we did.

I second JohnCharles suggestion of Rosslyn Metro area of Arlington VA. It's the first station in Virginia on the Blue & Orange lines, and is generally less expensive (don't forget the taxes!) than DC hotels. I've stayed 3 or 4 times now at the Quality Inn Iwo Jima, where parking was free and there is an enclosed pool. It was about a 10 minute walk to the Rosslyn station. The other hotels JohnCharles mentioned are all closer to the station than Quality Inn. Next to QI was "Motel50" which did not appear to be anything fancy, but looked clean & well-cared for.

We seldom go back to our rooms mid-day when we travel, so being in the outskirts is no problem. We've even stayed in Laurel for about $45/night, driving 12 minutes to the Greenbelt Metro with maybe a 25 minute ride into town. We've also stayed at the RedRoof in DC, next to MCI Center. It's all a balancing act of time vs money vs convenience. The only thing for certain is you don't want to be driving around DC.
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