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I grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., so on a recent return visit I automatically gravitated to a hotel just across the Virginia border from the nation’s capital: the new Residence Inn Arlington Capital View.
I quickly discovered that while the 325-unit, all-suite property may be on the outskirts of the city, it’s a real insider’s find. For starters there’s the free airport shuttle, which was a definite plus after our long flight to Reagan National Airport. The van ride, which took mere minutes from the baggage claim area to the hotel’s front door, set an accommodating tone for our experience to come.
Assistant general manager Jeremy McCluskey greeted us with a few impressive details about the Residence Inn Arlington. Open since March 2011, it’s the only full-service Residence Inn in the greater D.C. metropolitan area. It’s the third largest Residence Inn in the world, and it’s the only Residence Inn connected to a Renaissance hotel (the Renaissance Arlington Capital View).
“Our primary weekday guests are government travelers doing business in many of the agency buildings located throughout Crystal City (Virginia) and D.C.,” said McCluskey. “Our weekend guests are typically families or couples coming to the area to tour the numerous attractions in the greater D.C. area.”
That’s a broad spectrum of the traveling public, but the Residence Inn Arlington provides the facilities and amenities to suit a wide range of needs.
Accommodations feature plenty of perks
Each unit in the Residence Inn Arlington comes with a large kitchen with granite countertops, a stovetop, microwave, dishwasher, full refrigerator, cookware, utensils and glassware for four. While it’s easy to walk to nearby food stores, we tested out its grocery delivery service and got excellent results.
To call our suite spacious would be an understatement. According to McCluskey, each unit is 50 percent larger than a typical hotel guest room. The comfort level was high, from the luxury bedding with fluffy pillows to the rollaway bed that was perfect for my teenage daughter, who was traveling with me. The free Wi-Fi access, flat-screen television, work desk and ergonomic chair came in handy as well.
Mornings greeted us with a Residence Inn trademark: the free daily hot buffet breakfast, a generous spread of eggs, potatoes, meats, cereals, fruit, baked goods, coffee and juices. Each week, the hotel also hosts three complimentary evening socials where guests can mingle over dinner and dessert fare as well as beer and wine.
Riches await right next door
Residence Inn Arlington guests enjoy signing privileges at the hotel’s sister Renaissance Hotel, an appealing new accommodation in its own right. Its lobby area leads directly to Socci restaurant, an Italian eatery that called to us with its eye-catching decor, at once contemporary and casual. When I ordered the signature Socci Chopped Salad -- a delectable blend of salumi, olives, chickpeas, artichokes, provolone and oregano vinaigrette -- the waiter noted that the dish was recently featured on the Today show.
The neighboring Renaissance also lays claim to Illy Cafe, which became my daily addiction thanks to its smooth, strong coffee and fresh pastries and panini.
Our Residence Inn Arlington visit took place during a lengthy east coast trip, so I put the hotel’s 24-hour coin-op laundry room to good use. It’s conveniently located near the 2,500-square-foot fitness center and indoor swimming pool, so while the clothes were rinsing and spinning, I worked up a sweat and took a quick plunge.
Balanced for business and pleasure
Large framed photos of D.C. sites and monuments hang throughout the public and private spaces of the Residence Inn Arlington, encouraging leisure travelers to get out and explore the area’s wealth of tourism draws. Once again, the hotel stands ready to please by offering free shuttle service to the Crystal City Metro stop. From there, it’s an easy light rail ride to such one-of-a-kind draws as Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian, Kennedy Center and National Mall.
For business travelers, the hotel is convenient to the offices of PBS, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and government agencies like the Pentagon. For gatherings on property, it boasts 3,628 square feet of meeting space including a 2,700-square-foot meeting room with built-in A/V, perfect for small conferences and executive retreats.
McCluskey told me he hopes his guests “will have a lasting and memorable experience that will leave them considering (the Residence Inn Arlington) as their hotel of choice when returning to the D.C. metro area.” Based on my experience at the promising new property, I’m willing to bet his wish will come true. The Residence Inn Arlington is a smart choice for travelers who like to stay on the D.C. fringe.