Washington, DC is my favorite city in the world -- I've lived here for nine years, and can't think of a prettier place in April when the weather is (usually) phenomenal and the cherry blossoms are in bloom. However, because of its popularity, Washington's hotels can be incredibly expensive, especially during the summer and Christmas tourist seasons.
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If you're planning a trip to our nation's capital and are finding the price of the downtown hotels highly priced during your visit, here are some other hints that I hope will be helpful:
1. Look just across the river in Rosslyn
Rosslyn is directly across the river from Georgetown, and is an unattractive area of high-rise office buildings. However, the advantage of hotels in this section of Arlington, Virginia are the views (as well as the prices). Washington, DC has a height limitation for all buildings -- nothing can be taller than the U.S. Capitol -- and, therefore, very few of the hotels have much of a view inside the city limits. However, Rosslyn has many hotels which have incredible views of Washington, DC. Some recommendations are the Hyatt (the nicest hotel in this area), the Marriott Key Bridge (just a short walk to Georgetown), and the Holiday Inn (probably the best views of the three mentioned here). You can expect to pay around $75 to $125 for these hotels on weekends at any time of year.
2. Explore Crystal City
Crystal City is another unattractive Arlington area that is composed of office buildings and hotels -- meaning a very busy area during the week, but almost deserted on the weekend. However, in contrast to Rosslyn, Crystal City has a number of hotels with especially cheap prices on weekends. This area also has two Metro stops, and sits in between National Airport and Washington, DC, so is very convenient for those travelers who come to DC by plane and want to explore the city without a car. Expect prices ranging from $50-60 (for the Days Inn and Howard Johnson) to $90-$110 (for the Marriott and Sheraton) on weekends.
3. If you ever wanted to stay in a Ritz-Carlton, try it here
The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City is what you'd expect -- a beautiful 5-star hotel with all of the amenities. However, on weekends, this Ritz sometimes lowers its rates to around $139 -- and this includes parking and continental breakfast! Pentagon City is also on the Metro line, and the mall that is attached to the hotel is the best in the area. Splurge a little for this hotel if you have the chance (and funds).
In addition, the Westin Fairfax in the Dupont Circle area used to be a Ritz Carlton, and is still home to the famous Jockey Club. While no longer a Ritz Carlton, the hotel still has the same charm and outstanding rooms and service, but with a cheaper price -- sometimes around $120 on weekends.
I hope these ideas help in your travel planning ... and I hope you enjoy this outstanding city as much as us "full-timers" do ;)
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