Hotel Review: Waldorf Astoria Washington DC

Waldorf Astoria, Washington DC is a luxury hotel steps away from the National Mall. Room rates, and points redemptions, reflect the location and fanciness. It is a good thing that it is possible to stay there without using points or cash! The building is old but was turned into a hotel in 2016, then changed to a Waldorf Astoria in 2022. I stayed there during a staycation over Memorial Day weekend. There were parts I enjoyed a lot. However, there were more things I wouldn’t say I liked than I anticipated.

Porte Cochere of the Waldorf Astoria Washington DC

Waldorf Astoria is one of Hilton’s luxury brands. What does that mean for you? It means using Hilton Honors points to stay at the Waldorf Astoria DC is possible. Cash rates are over $500 before taxes and fees. Redeeming points starts at 110,000 Hilton Honors points! While it isn’t a bad redemption, it isn’t what I call a good one either.

How can you stay without paying a lot of money or points? Use a free night certificate! Hilton free night certificates are relatively easy to earn. Hilton calls them “free weekend nights.” No matter what they are called, they can be used any day as long as a standard point night is available.

There are a few ways to earn a Hilton free night certificate. One is more challenging than the others. The American Express Hilton Aspire card comes with one every year. It has a $450 annual fee, but the free night can provide more value than the annual fee. I have recommended it as one of the best cards to get. Another way is to wait until a free night certificate is included with the sign-up bonus of a Hilton co-branded credit card. Those don’t come around often, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. The more challenging way to earn one is to spend $15,000 on the American Express Hilton Surpass or Hilton Business card. If you have a lot of credit card spend and think the card will provide value, go for it. However, you could get more value by spending on different cards.

Waldorf Astoria Deluxe King Room

Due to our Hilton Honors status, we got upgraded to a deluxe king room. The room was spacious with high ceilings despite “only” being on the 4th floor. It may be the highest ceilings in a hotel I have ever seen. It appeared to be at least 12 feet high!

A hotel room with a moulded high ceiling and chandelier. A king size bed is against the back wall.
Deluxe King Room at Waldorf Astoria DC

The room’s most remarkable feature is the executive desk in the corner. I was able to picture myself doing work or writing all day. The desk has outlets and USB ports built-in.

TV and desk in a Deluxe King Room at Waldorf Astoria DC

Aside from the desk, I did not care for the decor. It was way over the top. There was gold trim on nearly everything. The rooms were untouched when the hotel became a Waldorf Astoria. Everything was as is from the previous owner. It was like someone boasting about their wealth because they are not genuinely wealthy.

A large white marble lined bathroom with two sinks. There is gold trim on the sinks, mirrors, and shower door.
Deluxe King Room Bathroom

Food & Beverage at Waldorf Astoria DC

Before dinner, we sat at the bar and had a couple of drinks. Although they were pricey (even for the venue), the drinks were good, and the bartender was friendly – a Jack Daniel’s costs over $15. Notably, the bar was stocked with some exciting liqueurs and libations.

A white plate with four sprigs of asparagus on it. A top the asparagus, is some caviar. Next to it is a small amount of polenta.
Asparagus with polenta and caviar at The Bazaar by Jose Andres

We had dinner at The Bazaar by Jose Andres, which is inside the Waldorf Astoria. The entire experience, from start to finish, was excellent. All of the food was delicious. Even the dishes that other tables ordered made me want them.

A plastic red dog with sunglasses has a metal plate in its mouth. The metal plate has a canale on it.
Dessert (caneles) served by the coolest “employee” of The Bazaar

There is a prix fixe menu that is $150 per person. We decided not to do it because there wasn’t enough that appealed to us. The table next to us did order it, and they said it was too much food. Instead, we got four places, two desserts, and four drinks. Everything was very creative, especially the drinks. Our table was next to the bar, and watching the beverages made was entertaining.

A waiter, in a vest and tie, pours liquid nitrogen from a white container into a bowl while stirring
Our waiter makes frozen caipirinha (a traditional Brazilian drink) with liquid nitrogen

One of the best parts of the evening was being an elevator ride away from our hotel room. We were at the restaurant until it closed at Midnight. Being able to go upstairs to go to sleep was so lovely. One of the last things I want to do is walk somewhere late at night after a big meal.

I don’t usually mention how much I spend on food and beverages. It is rarely relevant. Our total for the entire stay was roughly $310. So why is this appropriate this time? 

There are two reasons is one reason, but we thought there were two. First, we get a $25 food and beverage credit per person with our Hilton status. Also, we thought the Waldorf Astoria DC is considered a resort to take advantage of the $250 credit from my American Express Hilton Aspire card. Our entire stay should cost about $10 out of pocket! My girlfriend assumed I had looked, and I thought she had looked. Oops! Talk about an expensive mistake! 

Checking Out

After a relaxing morning, we decided to get on with the day and check out. We asked to see a list of the room charges, and to our surprise, our drinks from the bar were not on there! At the time, we still thought we had my $250 credit and mentioned our drinks were missing from the bill. The front desk representative checked again and couldn’t find a charge. I even joked that I still had $50 to spend. 

Despite making a $200 mistake, I had a good time. Albeit, The Bazaar saved the stay. Aside from that and the bar, I was not too fond of the Waldorf Astoria Washington DC. If I use my free night certificate for a staycation in Washington DC again, I might opt to stay at the Conrad instead. 

Apply for the American Express Hilton Aspire Card

150,000 Hilton Honors Points after spending $4,000 in first 3 months
Free weekend night
$250 Resort Credit
Diamond Status
$250 Airline Credit
…and more

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