Washington DC is a fascinating destination.
The city’s urban atmosphere along with the lack of high-rise buildings gave me some London vibes, although on a smaller scale and with a much stronger governmental feel.
You’ll have a lot of choices for hotels when exploring the Capital but if you were thinking about staying in the Mount Vernon Square area then you might want to strongly consider the AC Hotel Washington DC Convention Center.
In this article, I’ll give you a detailed review of the AC Hotel Washington DC Convention Center.
On a road trip where we knocked out 13 states in the Northeast, we decided to kick everything off in Washington DC.
We had never explored the DC area before so we wanted to be relatively close to the National Mall, where we could easily get into full tourist mode for a day or two.
After searching for hotels in the area we settled upon the AC Hotel Washington DC Convention Center — a Marriott category four hotel that would allow us to use our free night certificates for both nights.
This is a new Marriott hotel that just opened up in the fall of 2020 (a few months ahead of schedule) so we got to experience it when it was about one-year old.
Tip: Don’t get this property confused with the nearby AC Hotel by Marriott Washington DC Downtown, which unfortunately did happen to us at one point.
Although the room rates can be low for this hotel, the rates were actually quite high during October.
For the standard rooms we would’ve been paying around $600 for two nights which meant we were getting about $300 in value from each of our free night certificates. That’s really great value so we did not hesitate to jump on this booking.
I also applied suite night awards to the booking and got confirmation about five days prior, which is how we landed the corner room on a high floor.
One thing that I thought was interesting about this hotel is that they offer rooms with two king beds — something I had not seen a lot of.
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Location overview: Mount Vernon Square
The 13-story hotel is located in Mount Vernon Square although it also closely the borders Chinatown.
The Mount Vernon Square area seemed to be a pretty busy area with a lot of business travelers which is no surprise since this where you find the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
There are tons of hotels, restaurants, and shops nearby the hotel, and although I don’t know DC very well, it felt like we were right in the heart of the city.
Back when we lived in the UK we fell in love with Nandos so we had to hit it up, as DC is one of the few places in the states where you can find it.
For a quick lunch we tried the Sol Mexican Grill which is located just next-door to the hotel and it was okay but it’s hard to compete with Tex-Mex.
Other dining recommendations you could try include:
- The Capital Burger
- RPM Italian
- Busboys and Poets
- Farmers & Distillers
There’s a good amount of shopping nearby including the Apple Carnegie Library which is pretty iconic. Also, just next-door is a CVS for your all-purpose needs.
The Capital One Arena is only a couple of blocks away. We ventured out just before a Washington Capitals game which meant that a lot of the restaurants were filled with fans so try to time your meals accordingly.
This hotel is also a great location for visiting the National Portrait Gallery.
As far as getting to the National Mall you are about a 20 minute walk from it.
We parked on the side of the road in temporary parking so that I could go in and ask about the parking situation. There are three different lots you can choose from that are pretty much neighboring the property.
We chose to use an uncovered lot that was fenced in just across the street. Parking ran $30 a day.
My recommendation would be to head to your parking lot first as we found it very difficult to maneuver around the area due to a lot of traffic.
After we got the parking situation figured out, we made our way in the lobby.
Large floor to ceiling windows cast a lot of natural light into the lobby area, which has a very modern and sleek feel. The property stresses an open appearance that holds true in both the lobby and the rooms.
The lobby has plenty of lounge seating and a bar at the end which always seemed to be pretty busy during the early evenings.
The agents at check-in were nice and we were issued room keys and sent to our upgraded room on one of the 12th floor in a matter of minutes.
The corner room
It had been a little while since we had stayed in a luxury hotel and so it felt very refreshing to have such a nice view.
With floor-to-ceiling windows, the corner room had some nice city views but use caution with those shades pulled open because people in nearby high-rises can see directly into your room.
The corner room set up that we had was a little bit different from what was advertised on the hotel website. It seems this is a more upgraded version of the room, perhaps with more space?
While this was one of the top floors, DC has strict limits on high-rises so you don’t really get a true high-rise experience in this part of the city. Still, from 12 flors up the views were pretty solid.
The hotel bedding was fresh and clean and the mattress comfortable enough to offer a good night’s sleep which we needed considering the crazy amount of walking that we did exploring the National Mall.
Seriously, I was exhausted after day one!
Both sides of the bed have lamps and power outlets along with USB ports.
There’s a small sitting chair and table right next to the floor to ceiling window.
You can actually crack one of the windows behind the chair to help you control the temperature.
There’s a minimalist workstation attached to the wall with a rack for your luggage as well.
On the left, you’ll find a lamp and power outlets along with USB ports at the workstation.
As always, I suggest you read my guide on USB ports before plugging in your device.
If you’re looking for entertainment while in your room you are in luck because a 55″ TV screen hangs overhead the desk.
Next to the workstation was a large mirror.
In the entry area you have a mini-fridge and coffee maker, along with the iron and iron board.
If you pull out one of the drawers you’ll find the Gideon Bible and Book of Mormon along with forms for hotel laundry.
The bathroom is pretty spacious and elegant with hardwood floors and modern fixtures. The toilets have a European feel (square seat and dual flush) which is a signature of the AC brand.
The bathroom amenities were from Korres, which offer natural Greek skincare and beauty products inspired by homeopathic remedies.
They were high-quality and we did not have to bust out our own soaps and shampoos which is always nice.
The sink area is quite spacious and beautifully backlit. I always say you can tell a lot about a hotel room by the bathroom and this room certainly had quality bathroom features all around.
The fitness center
The hotel has really nice gym in the basement. You’ll find plenty of cardio equipment and quite a few TV screens to keep you occupied. Towels and earbuds can be found down there as well.
We were out and about so much that we did not spend a lot of time in the hotel and unfortunately did not get to try out the restaurant: the AC Kitchen which offers European-style breakfast with French croissants, artisan Berkel-sliced Prosciutto di Parma and other cured meats.
To get more of your European fix you can also try out the AC Lounge which offers Spanish tapas and a curated drink menu, including the brand’s signature Gin+Tonic cocktail.
There’s also the penthouse: Estrella Lounge, which offers a rooftop experience with live music but we did not have time to check that out (assuming it was even open when we stayed).
Overall, I was very pleased with his hotel stay. Everything feels modern and fresh and the service was solid. I thought this was a great hotel to choose for a home base when exploring the National Mall, even though the hotel is designed to cater to business travelers.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.