on August 28, 2008
Using Priceline to find cheap DC hotels has definitely yielded some mixed results this past summer. Perhaps the quirkiest hotel that I stayed in though must be the Kimpton’s Topaz Hotel. The oddities started from the time I spotted the hotel (it looks like a cozy apartment building nestled in Dupont Circle instead of the chain hotel I was expecting), but did not stop there. Upon my arrival, the over-friendly concierge inquired about everything about my trip. "You’re staying for 4 days? Have you been to DC before? Business or pleasure? What area attractions are you interested in? Where do you like to eat? Do you like to go out in the evenings" Et cetera. I found it a little odd; I’m not one that likes to engage strangers in long conversations. I guess the staff was friendly enough, but it did seem more like an apartment concierge than a front desk; everyday I passed through the entrance after work they asked twenty questions about my day and whatever. I found this exceptionally strange for American hotel staff behavior; perhaps they were used to catering to a mostly European clientele that expects this level of interaction.For the night staff’s level of curiosity, the morning staff was quite the opposite. Every morning when I would go out for my run at 5 o’clock I would return to find the doorman sleeping behind the desk. One morning I had to bang on the door for five minutes until he woke up and let me back inside! This was most annoying to me.The rooms at the Topaz Hotel were very strangely decorated. Perhaps it’s because I just saw the new Batman movie, but I thought my room looked like something the Joker would have designed. Dark purple sofa, striped walls, harlequin print headboard, and ruby velour curtains created a strange mix indeed! The rooms came complete with cheetah printed robes and accessories. Despite my mostly mixed opinion of the décor, I did appreciate the fact that they hung Fedex envelopes conveniently in the closet for my use. My room was very clean and the mini-bar was surprisingly well stocked. My biggest pet peeve from my stay though was the housekeeper’s insistence on placing some of my items in the closet everyday. I looked through my suitcase eight times one day before I realized they had put all of my shoes in the closet. So it goes sometimes.The Topaz Hotel has many amenities such as wireless internet and a free daily wine happy hour in its first floor cocktail lounge. Overall, I would say my stay was a bit strange, but I wouldn’t entirely mind staying here again. The price was reasonable and it was clean; those are the most important criteria for me in hotel selection. Oddities aside it wasn’t too bad.
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