Hotel Monaco is a Winner! A review of Monaco Alexandria, a Kimpton Hotel
We stayed at Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton hotel, for four nights in early February of this year. Not only was the hotel offering "grand opening" discounted rates at just over $200/night, we'd found even deeper discounted rates via TravelZoo.com. We paid $169 for Wednesday & Thursday nights, and $99 for Friday and Saturday nights. The hotel had only been open for about a week when we arrived.
I'd like to first say that Old Town, Alexandria is a wonderful place to stay. If we had never ventured into Washington DC on the entire stay we would've still had a great mini-vacation. You can walk for a mile in any direction and really enjoy yourself. Old Town is architecturally beautiful, it's historic, has great shopping, restaurants and bars. Special nods go to both the bar (and bartender) at Restaurant Eve, and the New Majestic. Also, the fantastic Le Madeline, a casual French bistro, directly across the street, was one wonderful meal after another - breakfast-lunch-dinner. Can't say enough about this restaurant.
Back to Hotel Monaco: the staff tells us that this had been a Holiday Inn and that Kimpton spent a full year and a large amount of money, completely revamping it. The hotel's décor (in Kimpton tradition) is funky-chic-elegant. The lobby is a vivid, deep teal/turquoise with various sofas, chairs and tables, arranged in cosy groupings, throughout the area. Nicely done.
There was a profusion of hotel staff - some at check-in, some as doormen, at concierge and just standing around waiting to be of service.
When we arrived at the King Street Metro Station, we called for the hotel's complimentary shuttle service, which arrived within 10 minutes. We availed ourselves of this service every day, and the drivers were invariably courteous and helpful.
Our hotel room was a standard room and not a large room, but oh, what they've done with a small room. They managed to make the most of the space and turn it into a very cool, modern and luxurious room. Top-of-the-line bedding, heavenly pillows (which we chose from the "pillow menu" when we reserved the rooms initially), and a very plush mattress. The two windows were not very wide but were tall and well appointed with curtains and sheers.
The flat-screen TV was large, clear and easy to use, with a good amount of cable channels to watch.
There was room in the stocked mini-fridge for our extra items -- a few bottles of water and a bottle of wine. We didn't need to ask for wine glasses as they come standard with the room, as do plush, animal-print robes (available for purchase at the end of your stay - too pricey, I thought.) The bathroom is bright, clean, and equipped with high-end sundries - L'Occitaine -- a very nice touch. Water pressure was fantastic in the shower and a heat lamp, in addition to other lighting, is just outside the shower/tub.
We all have our quirks - things that are important to us and seem to make or break a good hotel stay...one of mine is lighting. And I'm happy to report that everywhere in the hotel room, both the room itself and the bathroom, has dimmer switches - aah.
Our one problem - and this was a big one - was the heat. While they did a good job in renovating most of the hotel, the heating/HVAC likely wasn't one of them. The heat (which was needed as the afternoon waned and evening began) was just not working properly. We called "maintenance" to come up both on our first night, and then the second day of our stay, when we finally told them that we need a room with consistent heat.
We got first a call from the manager on duty and then a personal visit from him, along with another staff member, to move us to another, upgraded, room - a Mardi Gras room - slightly larger than a regular room, but with a lovely balcony overlooking the new interior courtyard - and a well-working heater. We were very pleased with this arrangement.
My husband had overheard another room of guests discussing a similar problem the following day with the manager, and they also had been moved to another room, so this is probably one of those problems that need to be worked out at a new hotel.
The restaurant at Monaco, Jackson 20, is a nice-looking restaurant, but my husband and I were stunned at how very loud and noisy it was - -we just couldn't bring ourselves to stay for dinner - people were literally shouting to be heard - but seemingly enjoying every minute of it! The bar looked lively and was very crowded each night we were there so they must be doing something right.
In all, we had a very positive experience at Hotel Monaco (especially at the prices we paid) and would definitely stay there again.
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