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A review of the Park Hyatt Washington, DC


Opened in 1986, the Park Hyatt Washington, DC features an interior design and furnishings — which were updated in 2006 and again in 2017 by designer Tony Chi — that celebrate American crafts and heritage via pieces like Shaker furniture, antique gameboards and duck decoys. There’s a touch of modernism as well, with cherry blossom-adorned glass panels designed by Amanda Weil in the lobby and on top of guest room desks and tables.

The hotel’s signature Michelin-distinguished restaurant, Blue Duck Tavern, seems to draw as many locals as hotel guests to its world-class dining experience featuring seasonal menus and an extensive wine list.

The Tea Cellar, which offers one of the best-curated tea selections in the U.S., sits adjacent to the Blue Duck Lounge off the lobby. It’s a semiprivate space with glassed-in areas for private dining, as well as glass humidors with more than 35 rare and limited-production, single-estate teas.

What is the Park Hyatt Washington, DC? 

The Park Hyatt Washington, DC is a part of Hyatt’s luxury brands, so booking this hotel as a World of Hyatt loyalist could be a no-brainer for earning or redeeming points. There are 220 guest rooms, including 134 suites, which are spacious with a residential feel. On-site gourmet dining is available, along with room service.

While the location is close to the Foggy Bottom Metro station, on-site valet parking is also available for $55 per day.

The hotel is pet-friendly, with amenities such as a dog bed, a water bowl and treats awaiting your dog upon arrival. The nonrefundable pet fee of $150 is assessed every seven days of a stay. The hotel’s pet policy states a 50-pound weight limit for one dog and a combined 75-pound limit for two dogs. A portion of the pet fee is donated to the Humane Rescue Alliance.

Related: Best Park Hyatt hotels, according to Globalists

How to book the Park Hyatt Washington, DC

BECKY BLAINE/THE POINTS GUY

I booked the hotel through American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts as I had yet to use the $200 annual credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express in my wallet. I enjoy the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts benefits when traveling because I am usually granted an early check-in time of noon and always guaranteed the 4 p.m. late checkout. Daily breakfast for two is included as a $100 property credit as well, and room upgrades may also be offered depending on availability.

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For this stay, I lucked out and was upgraded from a standard king room to a Park Junior Suite. The total cost for three nights was $1,142, but that was before the Amex statement credit of $200 was applied.

If you are a World of Hyatt member, you can book this Category 5 hotel using Hyatt points. A standard room with one king bed or two double beds requires redeeming 17,000 World of Hyatt points per night, while a Park Junior Suite will set you back 29,000 points per night.

Related: What are points and miles worth? TPG’s latest monthly valuations

Quiet location close to some of DC’s best neighborhoods

BECKY BLAINE/THE POINTS GUY

One of my requirements when traveling is that my hotel must be walkable or near public transportation — and the Park Hyatt fulfills both of those criteria. The hotel sits in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C., at the corner of 24th Street and M Street, about four blocks north of George Washington University and the Foggy Bottom Metro station.

It only takes about 15 minutes to ride the Metro from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to Foggy Bottom and another 10 minutes to walk directly north up 24th Street to the hotel. Best of all, that Metro journey will only cost you a few bucks.

Once you reach the West End area, you’ll notice it’s full of high-end hotel properties — the Fairmont Washington, DC, Georgetown is directly across the street from the Park Hyatt, The Westin Georgetown, Washington, DC is on the opposite corner and The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC is two blocks away on 22nd Street.

Walk west on M Street for five blocks, and you’ll be in the heart of the historic Georgetown neighborhood, which is packed with retail shops and eateries. Or, take a 10-minute walk northeast to reach Dupont Circle, where there are more great restaurants, plus several bars, bookstores and museums.

Related: Off the beaten path in DC: From a historic garden to a travel-inspired restaurant

Rooms are spacious and residential 

Standard guest rooms at the Park Hyatt start at 336 square feet. Each features one king or two double beds, as well as a seating area with a chaise lounge, a table and an oversized chair. All hotel rooms offer soaking tubs in addition to a large walk-in shower.

The Park Junior Suite where I stayed was a generous 544 square feet and had one king bed and a separate living area with the same furniture as a standard room, plus a desk in the living area and a larger bathroom and walk-in closet area with a sliding mirrored door to close it off from the bedroom and living space.

One neat bedroom detail was the wall-mounted TV, which swiveled within the built-in entertainment center so I could watch the TV from bed or turn it so it was viewable from the living area.

The bathroom was impressive, too, as it was large enough to fit a single-sink vanity with ample counter space, a soaking tub surrounded by dark natural stone and a spa-like walk-in shower that could easily accommodate five people. The shower offered both a rain showerhead and a hand-held nozzle, plus a ledge with full-size pump bottles of Le Labo bath products with a Bergamont scent that happens to be one of my favorites.

Beyond the Le Labo products in the shower, the bathroom had similarly scented body lotion and hand soap by the sink. Vanity kits were also tucked into an oval Shaker box made of cherrywood.

On the wall dividing the bedroom from the living area was a minibar hidden in a cabinet above a coffee maker. Despite being empty, the minibar could be stocked upon request via a provided QR code or by dialing zero from the room phone.

The living area itself came outfitted with comfortable chairs and a sofa, plus an open bookshelf set up with cocktail glasses, stir sticks, a bottle opener, a bottle of water and ice freshly stocked in the ice bucket.

An unexpected find was the book of American duck decoys also on the bookshelf. Having grown up in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area — known locally as the DMV — duck hunting with decoys is a common regional pastime, and my grandparents happened to collect decoys as art. So, seeing this book featuring some of the famous Maryland artists I grew up hearing about, such as Lem and Steve Ward from the Eastern Shore, immediately left me feeling nostalgic.

I also appreciated discovering a welcome amenity on the living room side table when I arrived. The 20-ounce bottle of Saratoga natural spring water and the small wooden tube of chocolate-covered cherries served as the perfect sweet treat to enjoy while settling in.

Overall, I loved how bright the suite was thanks to windows all along the living area wall and within the bedroom. However, only one window in the living room opened about 2 inches as a safety precaution, making it difficult to enjoy fresh air in my suite.

This lack of adequate airflow proved disappointing the first night of my stay, as the suite was too hot and stuffy at around 70 degrees, and the air-conditioning unit was only able to bring the temperature down to the mid-60s.

Related: Hotel thermostat hacks to override your room temperature

On-site food and beverage outlets are far from standard

While the property only has one sit-down restaurant, plus an adjacent lounge, a separate tea venue and room service, the Michelin-recognized eatery impressed with its variety of contemporary American dishes.

Dinner at Blue Duck Tavern

On the first night of my stay, I arrived at 7 p.m. and was promptly escorted to a table close to a window overlooking M Street. The restaurant and next-door lounge were both bustling for a Thursday night.

After welcoming us, the server provided a warm bread basket with salted butter while my dining companion and I reviewed the menu.

Everything on the menu sounded wonderful, so it was difficult to narrow down the choices, but after a brief chat with the server, we decided on the tuna crudo ($24) to start. It arrived with a crispy puffed rice garnish on top; the chunks of tuna were flavorful and tossed in a light citrus sauce with marcona almonds.

For the main entrees, we ordered a jumbo lump crabcake ($26) and the roasted duck breast with a confit leg, fruit mostarda and duck bone reduction ($45). The duck breast was crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth tender inside.

Pureed potatoes ($13) and roasted honeynut squash ($18) rounded out the meal and accompanied the entrees nicely, along with a glass of Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc from New Zealand ($19) and an Old-Fashioned-inspired Park DC cocktail ($20).

The dessert options were all seasonal and local. We opted for the pear-ginger sorbet ($5), which was a light and wonderful palate cleanser. The pear flavor was not upstaged by the ginger; it tasted like you were biting into a juicy, fresh pear.

BECKY BLAINE/THE POINTS GUY

Overall, the service was attentive and coursed out well. The ambience was energetic — a few large parties were seated nearby — so the din of conversations and a busy open concept allowed guests to see the staff zipping about.

Since I booked my stay with Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, I was able to apply my $100 on-site hotel credit to the dinner just by signing the bill to my room.

Breakfast at Blue Duck Tavern

I also dined in the restaurant on both Saturday and Sunday mornings of my stay so I could use my daily Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts breakfast credits.

For breakfast, Blue Duck Tavern uses bar seating during the day, and the small two-tops are much quieter than the main dining room near the open kitchen. On the weekend mornings, I observed many families with younger children dining at the venue.

During our first breakfast at Blue Duck Tavern, we ordered the BDT Benedict ($28), the Duck Confit Hash ($29), a side of crispy potatoes ($11) and cappuccinos ($8 each). The service was attentive and quick but not rushed. Our server checked in on us and the dishes once they arrived. Both main dishes were savory and prepared to our satisfaction.

Sunday’s breakfast, unfortunately, was a bit of a different story. I ordered the Sourdough Einkorn Waffle ($23) with a side of pork sausage ($8). While the food arrived promptly, I was presented with pancakes instead of the waffle I had ordered. The server delivering the food was not the same one who took the order, so he immediately returned to the open kitchen, where I could see him speaking to the chef before returning a few minutes later with the waffle.

After that, the service seemed to taper off — we were never checked on again or offered water or coffee refills. When I finally flagged someone down for the check (our server was not visible), it took another 20 minutes for the check to arrive. By this time, it was after 10 a.m., meaning we would soon be past the breakfast window our Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts breakfast credit could be used in. Luckily, it all worked out, and we departed before brunch began at 11:30 a.m.

Afternoon tea at the Tea Cellar

I always enjoy the formality of a good afternoon tea service. However, much to my disappointment, I was not able to partake in the service since I was checking out on Sunday, the only day you can enjoy this experience.

Still, the menu looks fantastic, with an array of savory and sweet treats to accompany all sorts of teas, all for a reasonable price, so if your plans permit it, do your best to fit the service in. You can enjoy afternoon tea on Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. for $75 per person plus tax and a 20% service charge, which must be prepaid on the Tock reservation platform.

Related: Why I love hotel bars, especially when I travel solo

Wellness options are available, though they’re not straightforward

While I expected to find at least standard fitness and spa facilities during my stay, given the Park Hyatt’s high-end vibe, I unexpectedly found them difficult to find and use.

The fitness center was outfitted nicely with Peloton bikes, treadmills, weight equipment and free weights. By the entrance, there was also a wall of equipment like workout balance balls, bands and kettlebells. Additionally, visitors could take advantage of complimentary bottled water, rolled towels and sanitizing wipes.

However, the gym was challenging to locate, as I had to take the main elevator to level 3, then follow a series of signs down a long corridor of rooms to a stairwell door directing me to go down one floor to find it close to the level 2 exit.

Similarly, the “spa” area around the corner was a bit of a letdown. Rather than a traditional facility with massage rooms and shared relaxation areas, there were only a small indoor saltwater pool and a separate hot tub for soaking … and the ambience was lacking. Despite a few wooden lounge chairs outfitted with cushions and rolled towels, there was noticeable damage to the ceiling above the pool lounge chairs that needed attention.

If you’re set on enjoying a treatment during your stay, you do have the option of booking a service through the concierge, though it’s outsourced to a local company called Detox Massage and can only be provided in your guest room. Note, too, that because the hotel outsources all spa treatments, any guest who booked their stay via Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts cannot use their $100 property credit to cover a spa service. This was a bummer to learn, as I’d hoped to apply my credit to a treatment.

Related: From city sanctuaries to desert retreats, these are the best luxury hotel spas for every type of traveler

Reasons the Park Hyatt Washington, DC might not be for you

BECKY BLAINE/THE POINTS GUY
  • The hotel’s lack of an on-site spa will likely be a letdown to those who crave a dose of pampering while in D.C.
  • If you are searching for inexpensive meals, this might not be the best location for you due to the fine-dining nature of the restaurant and the high room service prices.
  • The design of the hotel (i.e., a lack of permanent ramps for entering the lobby) makes it a challenge for guests with mobility issues to traverse.
  • Fresh air is limited in guest rooms due to the design of the windows, so if you prefer controlling a room’s temperature by opening a window, you may be disappointed in the inability to fully open your accommodation’s windows.

Related: The best Washington, DC, hotels to stay in when visiting the US capital

Accessibility

BECKY BLAINE/THE POINTS GUY

The Park Hyatt offers accessible guest rooms with features such as closed-captioning for TVs, lowered thermostats and light switches, emergency strobe-light smoke detectors and doorways measuring 32 inches wide.

Keep in mind, though, that other areas, such as the lobby, are not as accessible. Upon entering the lobby, there are steps down on three sides that do not have permanent ramps. However, you will find a permanent ramp into Blue Duck Tavern from the lobby walkway (at the opposite end of the lobby from the check-in area), which you could take to then exit directly to the sidewalk outside via the restaurant’s main entrance door.

There are also chair lifts available at the pool and the hot tub, though those spaces may require some extra assistance to reach due to the quirky location of the wet area.

Related: How to make sure you get an accessible hotel room if you need one

Checking out

BECKY BLAINE/THE POINTS GUY

Overall, my stay at the Park Hyatt Washington, DC was relaxing and enjoyable. The checkout process was seamless, the location was incredible — it was the perfect jumping-off point for so many nearby attractions — and the food from Blue Duck Tavern was exceptional for a hotel. Not to mention, the property provides a ton of value when you book with World of Hyatt points or through the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program.

I look forward to returning to the Park Hyatt for a future stay. With a bit of luck, my next stay will coincide with the Tea Cellar’s afternoon tea service so I can partake in that experience and make my return visit even more memorable.

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