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  1. #1

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    Hotel in Washington DC area

    We're going to go back to Washington for our vacation this year. I'm looking for a hotel like a Holiday Inn, Homewood Suites or the like near a metro station. As in walking distance, in a not scary area. Doesn't have to be in Washington ('cause that's waaaay expensive).

    Any thoughts? I've done all the normal looking, but I'm clueless as to where the metro actually goes and how long it takes to get places. We don't mind a 30-45 minute ride if necessary. We're trying to go for 12 nights in October/November.

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    Several years ago I stayed at an Embassy Suites hotel in Alexandria, VA. It was across the street from a Metro station; the name of which escapes me. IIRC there was also a Hilton in the same block.

    The Washington, DC Metro pocket brochure has a list of popular tourist attractions in the District with the nearest Metro station.

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    I like the Hilton located above the Ballston metro stop. I've gotten some good deals there and the metro ride downtown is not bad at all - no train changes, etc.
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    We've stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Alexandria a couple of time and the rates were reasonable and it's a short walk to the metro stop. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...rd-alexandria/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Civic View Post
    Several years ago I stayed at an Embassy Suites hotel in Alexandria, VA. It was across the street from a Metro station; the name of which escapes me. IIRC there was also a Hilton in the same block.

    The Washington, DC Metro pocket brochure has a list of popular tourist attractions in the District with the nearest Metro station.
    It's at King Street. I also like the Ballston Hilton, which is RIGHT on the Orange Line (as in right on top); however, for things to do around the hotel Alexandria is much better. Also look at any of the major chains at Crystal City. I don't recall if there is anyone other than the Ritz-Carlton at Pentagon City (I lived up on the ridge above it) but there might be, and that's right at a mall, restaurants, and the Blue and Yellow lines. The Virginia Arlington/Alexandria Metros are going to be cheaper than in the District proper, and there's a lot more tourist-friendly things along the Blue and Yellow lines than in Ballston, which is basically GMU and offices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by another sk8rmom View Post
    We've stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Alexandria a couple of time and the rates were reasonable and it's a short walk to the metro stop. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...rd-alexandria/
    I generally like Courtyards and actually work right next to this Marriott, but I think the walk to the Metro is less than desirable... not because of safety concerns, but because you're stuck walking up & over an overpass high above a mess of freeway ramps below. That's not to say I don't do the walk. On nice days I always walk to/from the Metro & my office, but I never find it to be a particularly pleasant walk since it isn't the most pedestrian friendly area.

    My assumption is most hotel brands within walking distance of the Metro are going to be more expensive than the same brands not within walking distance. Having said that, there is a Holiday Inn on the other side of the overpass I mentioned above (the more convenient side where the Eisenhower yellow line station is located) that might work.

    http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/...td/hoteldetail

    Across the street is a Starbucks and a large movie theater. And about 10-15 minutes north-northeast is Old Town Alexandria.

    There's also a Residence Inn located in the Carlyle area of Alexandria (the area near the Eisenhower station... basically in between Eisenhower & King Street).

    http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...ia-at-carlyle/

    If you're flying into Reagan National Airport, you can easily hop on the Yellow line right outside the terminal and be at the Eisenhower stop in 10 minutes or less.

  7. #7
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    Alexandria is great because it is close to the city and it is a nice tourist destination on its own.

    Crystal City has some nice rates especially on weekends, but it isn't so great for walking around especially at night. Far more deserted than Alexandria or Bethesda.

    Bethesda MD is right on the red line, and there are tons of restaurants/shops to walk to, but it won't have the water/city views that Alexandria has. There is a Residence Inn, a Hyatt, and this boutique option that I have never been in, but people say it is a hidden bargain -- something like 99 to 170 a night depending on the time of year:
    http://www.bethesdacourtwashdc.com/index.cfm

    Friendship Heights on the DC/MD border is also on the redline and there are a number of hotels, including an Embassy Suites, a Marriott execustay, and a Courtyard. Lots of shops and restaurants though not as charming as Alexandria:

    http://www.therealplaces.com/hotels-...ndship_heights
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    If you do want to try being in DC, the Tabard Inn is fantastic. Right by DuPont Circle, and 5 blocks from the White House.
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    I like the Key Bridge Mariott in Arlington, VA, which is about a block away from a Metro station or about a 30-45 min walk from the National Mall (and just across the bridge from Georgetown). The price is usually pretty reasonable, although the last time I went it was quite a bit higher so I booked at the State Plaza in Georgetown. That was also very conveniently located, reasonably priced, and had a full kitchen which is always kind of nice when travelling.

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    You guys are awesome. Thanks for the help. We're looking for relatively cheap for the area (under $150 per night), near a metro and safe. Shouldn't be too hard, right???

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffisjeff View Post
    I like the Hilton located above the Ballston metro stop. I've gotten some good deals there and the metro ride downtown is not bad at all - no train changes, etc.
    I've stayed there too and the hotel was very helpful and there were a lot of convenient stores/restaurants in the area. And it couldn't be closer to the metro stop.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

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    And a skating rink.

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    Bumping this up for a little more information from the locals....

    How long does it take to drive from Washington (Reagan National) to Frederick MD, from Washington to Charlottesville (Monticello, actually) and Washington to Fredericksburg VA? I know what the map miles are, but sometimes that has absolutely no bearing on how long it takes to drive there.

    We've got the option of staying at the Wyndham National Harbor and doing these three cities as day (or two) trips with a rental car. The other thought I've got is to fly into Washington and rent a car and just drive a big honking loop around the area. We intend to do Frederick MD area for Antietam and Monocacy Battlefields, go to Fredericksburg VA to see those, and I really want to go to Monticello for the day.

    The plus about driving and not being stationed at the National Harbor is that we can sleep later in the morning and take our time seeing things.

    We're staying in Old Town Alexandria for the last four nights of our trip, so we'll be doing the metro into the city.

    Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christina View Post
    Bumping this up for a little more information from the locals....

    How long does it take to drive from Washington (Reagan National) to Frederick MD, from Washington to Charlottesville (Monticello, actually) and Washington to Fredericksburg VA? I know what the map miles are, but sometimes that has absolutely no bearing on how long it takes to
    Thoughts?
    Completely depends when you will be driving. Traffic is hell here. During rush hour it takes me as much as 2 hours to travel from my home in VA to a skating rink in MD and that is with getting off the beltway and doing the back roads as soon as possible. The total trip is somewhere around 20 miles. Be aware that things can start getting congested as early as 2:30-3:00 PM

    Without traffic you are looking at roughly an hour to Frederick, same to Fredricksburg, and about 2 hours to Charlottesville

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    Quote Originally Posted by jen_faith View Post
    Completely depends when you will be driving. Traffic is hell here. During rush hour it takes me as much as 2 hours to travel from my home in VA to a skating rink in MD and that is with getting off the beltway and doing the back roads as soon as possible. The total trip is somewhere around 20 miles. Be aware that things can start getting congested as early as 2:30-3:00 PM

    Without traffic you are looking at roughly an hour to Frederick, same to Fredricksburg, and about 2 hours to Charlottesville
    Could she take Virginia Rail to Fredericksburg and MARTA to Frederick?

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    if you look at a map and find Fairfax, Virginia, it's pretty consistently a 2-hour drive from there to Charlottesville/Monticello. I live in Fairfax and my SIL/BIL live in Cville, we make that drive pretty regularly.
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Civic View Post
    Could she take Virginia Rail to Fredericksburg and MARTA to Frederick?
    Alas, no. The VRE and MARC schedules are set up for the convenience of commuters. The first southbound VRE train leaves Union Station at 12:55 PM, and the last northbound train leaves Fredericksburg at 12:04 PM. Service is available only Monday-Friday. The MARC schedule is even worse from a tourist's point of view.

    ETA: Traffic between DC and Fredericksburg VA can be truly dreadful. Heading south in the morning, you're at least going against the flow of traffic on workdays. I'd try for Monday-Friday for this trip (Monday-Thursday if you think you might get a late start). Lots of people tend to head south on I-95 on Saturdays and traffic can be very bad. I'd also be worried about traffic conditions driving back late on Sunday, though I don't think I've ever done that.

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    Can you define "very bad" for going the other way during the week? I think we're going to do the driving tour thing.

    Once again, you all have proven that almost all the knowledge needed for something can be found on FSU!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christina View Post
    Can you define "very bad" for going the other way during the week? I think we're going to do the driving tour thing.
    The problem with going from anywhere in Virginia to Frederick, MD is you'll probably need to go around the Beltway. Most of the day, especially during rush hours, it will be congested in both directions.

    Then you'd need to drive up I-270. I did that last Friday around 3 PM and it took well over an hour to go the 30 miles to Frederick. Any later in the day would be worse. Morning might be OK in that direction.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The problem with going from anywhere in Virginia to Frederick, MD is you'll probably need to go around the Beltway. Most of the day, especially during rush hours, it will be congested in both directions.

    Then you'd need to drive up I-270. I did that last Friday around 3 PM and it took well over an hour to go the 30 miles to Frederick. Any later in the day would be worse. Morning might be OK in that direction.
    Basically if you try this during our rush hours, defined from 5-10 AM and 3-8 PM, it will take twice as long as Mapquest says it will.
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