Mandarin Oriental Hotel - Washington, DC -Their website states that they have been ranked in Institutional Investor magazine's 'Top 100 Hotels of the World survey. However, after my visit there, I would strongly disagree with a ranking like that.
First Impression/Lobby Pulling up to the Mandarin Oriental does give you the feeling you are about to experience a truly 5-star, luxury hotel and walking into their beautiful marbled lobby continues this feeling. Its large and spacious lobby simply decorated oozes class and style. Reception though brought the illusion of class and luxury to a screeching halt.
Reception: Poor service and just as poor an attitude is what greeted me at the reception desk. The check-in process was as standard as it can get, which isn't bad, but the attitude of the front desk agent and the speed at which she worked led me to believe she would have been happier had there not been any guests in the hotel that day. As my first interaction with a hotel employee, it set the tone for the rest of my stay.
The Room: The first room I was shown was a smoking room with a view of the roof, not what I had requested. I moved to another room that had a decent view at best but at least was a non-smoking room, exactly what I had reserved.
The room itself was nice but in now way was it spectacular. Decorated in a light mauve, it gave the room a pleasant feel but somehow the color made me feel like I was in a cheap senior citizen vacation rental in Boca Raton, Florida. Luckily, the bed and linens were first rate but it still was not enough to bring the whole room together enough to say five-star, luxury.
The partially marbled bathroom was on the small side with a single basin sink and separate shower and bathtub. As with the bedroom, the bathroom did not have a five-star luxury feel.
Room Service: The room service menu at Mandarin Oriental - Washington, DC is as varied as you would expect at a five-star, luxury hotel in the States. However, when it comes to preparation and service, the hotel's room service falls far from being first rate. Each of the orders we placed with room service arrived either incomplete, late or both. The lack of consistency on how orders were prepared was remarkable. It was as if they prepared the meals depending upon how they felt that day. If the hotel were graded on room service alone, it would get a failing grade.
Housekeeping: A failing grade is in store for housekeeping as well. Again, there was no consistency from day to day from what to expect from housekeeping. The first day it appeared that the housekeeper was called away halfway through the evening turndown service. The next day, it seemed the housekeeper was either not trained or just did not care about doing quality work. I was shocked with how poorly the rooms were serviced. I began to question whether the Mandarin Oriental was a true luxury hotel chain or not.
Restaurant The Mandarin Oriental has three restuaurants: Café MoZU, CityZen and Empress Lounge. I dined at Café MoZU two times during my stay in Washington, D.C. The first time I dined alone and was blown away by the menu, décor, service and food. It was a perfect lunch. I ordered a sushi combo platter that rivaled sushi I have had from places such as Nobu. It was an incredible lunch.
I was so impressed that I invited a friend to lunch so that I could share my newfound favorite. To my shock, the service was horrible and the preparations of our meals almost as bad.
I could not believe that in just a few days time the restaurant could change so much. It did confirm on thing about this Mandarin Oriental; they are consistently inconsistent.
Overall Impression: Disappointingly, my stay at The Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. was consistently disappointing. It is obvious the hotel lacks a fundamental structure for service. Of all the Mandarin Oriental hotels that I have stayed with, this one ranks at the bottom.