Historical Traveller Reviews of Harrington Hotel
We will never go cheap again.
from A TripAdvisor Member
Stayed here April 2004. Very old hotel, but rooms and bathrooms were clean. Had adjoining rooms, queen bed in one and 2 doubles in the second. Each room also had a bathroom. Bathrooms very small. Old fixtures. Heating was steam radiators. Once warmed up the room was roasting, then had to open a window to circulate air. The A/C transom looked questionable for the warmer weather. Our refrigerator did not work. Luckily we brought our Thermos picnic cooler and kept refilling it with ice. Walls are thin. Our first night, the people in the next room kept their TV on til 2:30am and talked loudly, burped loudly and passed gas loudly. Second night they seemed to return to their room or wake up (?) around 4am and turned on the TV loudly, talked loudly, burped loudly. Third night they were gone. Thank goodness. Beds were very soft. Our backs were hurting from sleeping in them. The hotel used electrical extension cords to plug in lights, etc. Curtains were old, they had duct tape on the street side holding some sections together.
Ollie's Trolley - greasy smelling upon entry. Okay food. Watch out for the homeless people that come up to you and sit down at your table and ask for the leftover food you are ready to throw out. It scared the crap out of my young daughter. Harry's Pub/Restaurant - asked for non-smoking - was seated in an area that was very smoky smelling and despite 4 waitresses walking around, we were ignored. So we got up and walked out. Did not even try the cafeteria. Why strike out 3 times ?
Location of hotel was excellent. No doubt about that. Fire extinguisher was missing on the 6th floor next to the elevator. Not reassuring. Also a whole bunch of wires hanging out of the ceiling on the 6th floor during our entire 3/4 day stay. Maybe rewiring ? We stayed on the 6th floor (non-smoking floor), non-smoking room. Our second morning there smelled cigarette smoke from where ? - had to open the window in our room wide to clean out the smell. It was nice to have 2 bedrooms. Gave our children some of their own space. TV reception on the TV in our children's room was terrible. We will never again go cheap/affordable on a trip or vacation. We have learned our lesson.
Night of the Living Harrington
from A TripAdvisor Member
The word on the Harrington in Washington D.C. was that it was an older hotel, more than a bit shabby but also very reasonably priced, with friendly staff and an unbeatable downtown location thats an easy walk to the White House or Smithsonian museums on the Mall. I was also cautioned that this is a popular tourist hotel for groups of visiting students who tend to descend on the lobby in waves and can be quite noisy. All this is true, but there is something else you should think about before staying there.I took my family there for four days and must say I enjoyed the friendly, helpful staff, reasonably priced restaurants (one is cafeteria-style) and easy walks to everything. While I knew up front that the Harringtons rooms might be a disappointment, I spoke to the manager prior to booking and she offered me one of their newly renovated room on the 11th floor. The room, with two queen beds, a fridge and coffee hot pot, was just $99 per night.The Harrington is a turn-of-the-century hotel that spans the entire city block along E Street between 11th and 12th. The "new" wing we stayed in was completed in 1917 - a fact attested to by the pictures of its construction in the lobby. While our 11th floor room had indeed been upgraded with a cosmetic facelift and new furniture, the hotel does not appear to have had any structural improvements since it was built. And that creates some fire safety issues you should think about.While our room had new wall-to-wall carpet, wallpaper, window treatments and fresh paint on the ceiling and trim, the trim paint was gouged and flaking off, revealing old, varnished surfaces underneath. The hallways were similarly banged up, giving the place a dingy feel. On the bathroom door in our room a section of paint measuring 3 inches high by about one foot long had pealed away. It was a perfect setting for one of those gritty crime dramas movies - the ones where the cops kick in the door, guns drawn, and scream "Freeze, dirt bag!" I opened the bathroom door gingerly, imagining the drug dealer inside, frantically flushing narcotics down the toilet.I wasnt far off the mark. The bathroom appeared to have no upgrades other than a fresh coat of paint. The yellow ceramic wall tiles were stained in places, and cracked or missing in others. There was plenty of hot water for the shower, but the vintage fixtures were clearly worn, the sink dripped, there was no ventilation, and bathroom outlets were not protected ground fault circuits. There was hand soap but no shampoo, an ironing board but no iron, and three baseboard outlets in the room. It was, however, clean.In the room itself, cast iron radiators in large, sheet metal enclosures were attached to what appeared to be thermostats, but in the raw, rainy weather of late October these did not appear to be working. There appeared to be no air conditioning, but the windows did open. The rooms had tall, nine-foot ceilings but the hallway ceilings had been lowered, the space apparently used to run new wiring. A dusty louvered vent sat in the old transom over the entry door and appeared to run into this space. No air came out.The small room refrigerator was not near an outlet, so the hotel had run a dime-store electrical cord along the wall. Such flimsy cords are designed to support a light bulb or two, but not a compressor motor. Refrigerators require a grounded circuit, but the hotel got around this by using a three-prong adapter to plug it into the two-pronged extension cord, leaving the appliance ungrounded. On top of the fridge sat the coffee pot, cord dangling next to that same, tiny extension cord. This was a clear fire hazard in my opinion as the combination of both, running long enough, could turn the flimsy extension cord red hot. I quickly concluded that it was unwise to use the coffee pot but then found myself wondering how many of the hundreds of families and school kids in the hotel had a similar setup in the 10 floors below us?My biggest concern, however, was the unforgivably poor fire evacuation routes in the hotel. Because our room sat over first-floor businesses that werent part of the hotel (a burger joint called Ollies Trolley), the nearest fire escape was midway down the hallway. The exit door led to a narrow, wrought iron spiral staircase that spun steeply and sickeningly down through a narrow, concrete chasm and emptied into the center of the second floor. From there one presumably would run to another exit at the far end of the hallway. This traditional stairwell was much wider, but also did not lead outside. Instead, it emptied into the middle of the main lobby. That is, unless you missed the fading gold "lobby" sign painted on the wall and continued to the basement. No fire exit signs marked the way out.I wondered what would happen if a grease fire erupted in any of the three restaurants that surrounded our only exit on the first floor. Would students and families spill down the spiral staircase, only to find the exit blocked by smoke or fire? What would happen to those at the door, as hundreds behind them tumbled down the stairwell in a panic to get out? Perhaps the first floor sprinkler systems on the first floor would help. Then again, my floor didnt have any sprinklers. Did others? These are parental fears that I dismissed during the day, only to have them keep me awake 4:30 in the morning.Everyone I spoke with loved the Harrington. But my opinion is that the Harrington is a tragedy just waiting to happen. I didnt mind the lack of décor. And I dont mind roughing it a bit. In fact the experience was big like some of the youth hostels I visited when I was younger. Still, while Im up for an adventure and a bit of nostalgia I wont go back. While Im all for a good deal, my familys safety has to come first.
would do it again
from A TripAdvisor Member
We stayed at the Hotel Harrington on a recent vacation. It's definitelty not the fanciest or nicest hotel I've stayed at, but I'll stay there again if I go to D.C. I searched around alot and this place is a good value. We saved about $500 on our trip by staying there. It's location is great, just walking distance to everything. It has a couple of restaurants in it, Harry's is excellent. The rooms were clean and the staff was very friendly. And with the money we saved, we got to do alot more on our vacation. If you're looking for a good value and great location, stay there!!
Fair deal for a great location
from A TripAdvisor Member
My wife and 2 kids stayed at the Hotel Harrington. The accomodations were not outstanding, but they were definitely acceptable. The location was great. You do have to park 4 blocks away, but you are so close to the Mall, Smithsonian, and many of the other sights that you don't need a car (or the Metro for that matter). The staff was friendly, the hotel was clean, but old (so things were well worn). For the price and the location, I will not hesitate to stay again.
This is a Great Hotel
My Mom, daughter and myself stayed at the Harrington for 5 nights in October 2003. The hotel is a little run down but has such charm. The rooms were clean enough but a little threadbare and the bathroom was very small. The staff was excellent and to our amazement the gift shop was open until at least 11pm. We ate in Harry's Pub one night and the food was very good. Not so with the other restaraunt, that food was horrible. We would stay there again as the price is right and this place is within walking distance of all the attractions with 2 close Metro stops.
Good value, very accomodating employees
from A TripAdvisor Member
We enjoyed our stay. Everything was nice. Our first nite's room was somewhat noisy from the traffic, so we asked if we could switch and we spent the following 2 nites in a very quiet and peaceful room. Even if we hadn't been able to switch, we would have survived, but we were glad we were able to switch. The staff was always nice and VERY accomodating, we would definitely come back in the future and recommend it to friends and family or any other budget conscious traveler who wants to stay in a convenient location within walking distance to the main tourist attractions and convenient to multiple subway stops. If you are expecting the Ritz, do not stay here. If you want a good value for your dollar (we paid 89), check out this hotel.
Harrington Hotel-good location-but......
Spent 3 days at the Harrington Hotel in Washington DC. A truly budget hotel-$99.00 nitely; good price but even for a budget it was "pretty used up". The interior was not just old, but pretty abused; the bathroom -(shower only which either scalded me or froze me out). I was scared to take a shower. The room was equipped with a light fixture-plug in which did not work-and barely big enough to move around in. The hotel room door-had triple locks on it which were good because even when I thought it was locked, maid pushed it open. Scary-barracaded it at night. No electronic keys. The bedding was clean; but ill-fitting. I had a street room, and the windows did not keep out the noise (until about 3:00 a.m)Good points; nice TV; ample dresser space- Would not stay here again; The location was excellent-walking distance to most sites.I think I would rather spend another 50 bucks a nite; to get a good nites sleep; and to enjoy the times I spent in my room. No coffee POT. signing off.Solo traveler who will not again go budget.
Pretty Good Place to Stay: Coupons Will Make It A Lot Cheaper
Hello, I just returned today from a vacation in the D.C. area. I spent 3 nights here at the Harrington this week. Back in this hotel's prime, it was probably a very expensive, luxourious place to stay. It was built a while back, and still has an interesting vintage look to it. I liked staying here, and probably would again. If you do stay here you must get a coupon to lower your room rate. On the back of my door, it said my room was around $120 a night, but I got it for $85 and a day of free parking with a coupon out of one of those visitors guides that have coupons and advertisements. The best offer I found was $80 with parking in the Traveler Discount Guide (traveldiscountguide.com), and you can print it online at roomsaver.com The hotel was very clean and had full cable with many channels. The hotel has a very good location that is within walking distance of many attractions. My room had a nice view of the street and came with a coffee pot and refridgerator. The only downside to this hotel is it's age and a few things look like they could use renovation, but it is still a nice place to stay in Washington.
from A TripAdvisor Member
On a recent trip (end of June 2003), my son and I spent 2 nights at the Harrington. If you go, I advise you to bring something to clean the mildew off the shower, bring hangers, shampoo and your own portable TV; your own towel might also be a great idea, the hotel's were threadbare and had hanging threads. A thunderstorm knocked out the TV. The car has to be garaged two blocks away. The dining/breakfast room adjacent is fine, the breakfast is to be avoided. The bar/restaurant on the other side of the lobby was great.
79 cents more a night (we moved) buys you more space, a clean, spacious shower with two bowls, fluffy, thick towels, an iron with ironing board, hangers, a working TV and a space in the garage underneath the hotel at the Red Roof Inn in China Town. OK., so you have to walk farther. At this writing, there is a major construction project going on in Chinatown, but it in no way disturbs your sleep. A drugstore (in case you forgot something) is close, a couple hundred feet. The underground is easy to reach from the Red Roof Inn - use it.
Forget the car and book at the Harrington
from A TripAdvisor Member
I stayed solo at the Harrington from May 12 though May 17, 2003 and, unsure what to expect with such a low room rate, was quite happy with what I found. They honored my request for a lower floor; the room was adequate in size, able to sleep 3; the TV was huge and picture quality quite good; plenty of drawer space, adequate closet. Very clean and Housekeeping provided so many towels I had trouble finding room for them all! No control of room air temperature, but it remained comfortable. Staff (24-hour desk) is friendly and helpful. Food is available at 3 places on site (but don't order a hamburger at Ollie's Trolley! Looked like a rock and tasted like canned corned beef) Well stocked gift shop. Location is superb - 2-1/2 blocks to the Mall; close to Ford's Theater, White House, Capitol and more; bus & trolley stop across the street; Metro stations everywhere. Minor drawbacks were a shortage of shelf space in the bathroom and low water pressure in shower. Also some noisy policemen one night. If lots of school kids would bother you, don't go. If you want luxury, don't go. For sensible accommodations -- go! It's a comfortable old establishment in a safe neighborhood, right in the thick of things in D.C.
Top Local Tips for Washington DC
White House at Night
Take a stroll over to the White House after dark. It looks best at night.
The Capitol Steps show takes place Fri & Sat nights at the Ronald Reagan building. Tickets were $35, and the show is great- SNL-type parody songs/skits that center around politics/current events.
the subway is a great way to get around, clean and cheap