Monday, July 27, 2009


I was on my way here to post about hotel blocks when I noticed that Miss Fairfax just did the same thing. It seems like we all get the same ideas at once!

When I started this wedding planning process, I was determined to not let certain things stress me out or become difficult. Hotel rooms was one of them. I've traveled enough personally and for business that I thought I knew what I was doing. And I live here, so I'm familiar with the streets and metro stops. How hard could it be?

Well. It's pretty hard. To begin with, I've had trouble getting people on the phone from these hotels! Wedding blocks sometimes go through a hotel's event planner, sales office, or regular reservation desk. But none of them pick up the phone. And not many of them return calls. Ugh.

Right now I think it's down to three properties, and I need the advice of other DC brides. The wedding ceremony is at the Universalist National Memorial Church, at 16th and R NW. It's not confirmed yet and I don't want to blow the surprise until it's sure, but the reception will probably be a few blocks away. Both venues have parking. I think many of our guests will want to do some sightseeing while they're here, and the wedding is actually the first day of the 2010 Cherry Blossom Festival. So here we go.

Courtyard Washington Embassy Row

Image from www.marriott.com

The reservations person was very friendly on the phone. The hotel is less than a half mile walk to the Dupont metro. I tend to think of Marriott's as a bit outdated and Courtyard's in particular as lacking amenities. Online reviews are really all over the place, with the main complaints being small rooms and a noisy building/location. She quoted me $149 per night plus $28 for parking but suggested I call back in a few weeks to see if rates have gone down at all.

Hilton Washington Embassy Row

Image from www.hilton.com

I was first planning to check prices at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue. My mom has stayed there a few times and always found good prices online, I think through Expedia. It looks like the regular rates are just too high for what I want though, and there are a few conventions there that weekend. So I submitted a request online (which the lady who answered the sales line told me to do) to the Embassy Row Hilton. I've had good experiences with Hiltons but don't know anything about this one. It's very close to Dupont Circle. I haven't received a response to my online request yet, but regular rates for that weekend seem to be $170 plus $35 for parking.

Hotel Palomar

Image from www.travelhero.com

I just heard back from this property. I've heard very good things about them, and even about wedding receptions there. The location is very comparable to the Hilton. The prices are $119 for a queen bed, $139 for two queens or a king. Parking is $35. If we book 95% of the block and stay there ourselves, our room will be upgraded to a suite. The block expires 4 weeks before arrival though, while the Courtyard holds it until three weeks before.

Phew - that was exhausting. Our save the date's are going out in the next few weeks and I'd like to make a decision by the time people are receiving them. I guess we have some thinking to do! Thoughts?



Blogger Alison said...

I'm going with the Palomar for my own block for a few reasons:
1) I adore Kimptons! Their service and attention to detail is impeccable and you don't get that "cookie cutter" feel that you get with other chains
2) I think our guests will enjoy Urbana, which is super convenient, very chic and great food and drinks
3) Free happy hour for guests every evening from 5-6pm, plus popcicles on hot days! Who doesn't love that?
4) I've also heard great feedback from other brides who have used them- ie) when something went wrong (and it did) they fixed it and made up for it very quickly and went above and beyond
5) They were super helpful in answering all of my questions- even giving me a tour of rooms and the premises and extensive information when I dropped by unannounced!

Monday, July 27, 2009 8:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bumpy Belly said...

Ooh thanks - that's who I'm leaning towards right now. They just seemed nicer and more personal than the others.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 9:37:00 AM  

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