by Stephen Jermanok
North of Georgetown, the Chevy Chase Pavilion is a large shopping mall that anchors the Friendship Heights district. Set inside the Chevy Chase Pavilion is an eight-story Embassy Suites hotel, featuring its signature family-friendly suites, a pool, fitness center, and complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast each morning at Cafe Cino. After a day of seeing the many sights in town, you can wander into the mall and dine at Cheesecake Factory. Down the street is Italian fare at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurants and a large AMC theater if you want to see a movie.
Affordability and convenience are the main reasons for staying at this Embassy Suites. The hotel is located directly above the Friendship Heights Station on the Metro red line. Within 10 minutes, you can be at the National Zoo, while another five minutes will bring you to the Metro Center stop and all the sights on the Mall. Then simply head back to the Embassy Suites Chevy Chase Pavilion, go for a dip in the pool, grab a free beverage at the nightly manager’s reception, head to one of the many restaurants located in the neighborhood and call it a night.
Learn more about Embassy Suites.
Our Editor Loves
- Complimentary breakfast daily
- Great location for area attractions
- One-bedroom luxury suites
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
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All 198 rooms are suites with the extra living room housing a 37-inch flat screen television, queen-sized pullout sofa, large sitting and eating area, microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker. Most families opt for two double beds in the master bedroom. There's a second television in the bedroom, so the kids can watch their own program while you sneak out to the living room. The bedroom also offers ample closet space, an ironing board and hairdryer. The bathroom has new rounded showers with great pressure.
This hotel's location is extremely convenient. Metro (Friendship Heights on the Red Line), coffee shops, retail, Whole Goods, Giant, etc, are all just steps away. Breakfast is served every morning (though options can be a bit monotone and not exactly on the healthy side). But food is decent overall. Staff are friendly. Mr. Mohamed is a master omeletteier.
Evening happy hour with free snacks, deeps, crackers, sometimes veggies (again, limited options, but free!).
Excellent Embassy Suites, two metro stops from NIH on the Red line. Hotel is right on the Friendship Heights metro stop -- exit towards Western avenue, not Jenifer -- there is a CVS and a World Market in the same building as the hotel. Staff very helpful.
You'll spend the bulk of your day two miles downtown around the Mall at family-friendly highlights like the National Air and Space Museum. Take the 90-minute guided tour to see the lunar capsule that carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon, the original 1903 Wright Brothers airplane, the first passenger jet, the DC-3 used by Eastern Air Line in 1936, and a small plane that some crazed inventor pedaled across the English Channel.
At the recently renovated National Museum of American History, kids will find intriguing tidbits of Americana on display, including the top hat Abraham Lincoln wore when he was shot, a Babe Ruth autographed baseball, the original R2D2 and C3PO, Dorothy's shoes from the Wizard of Oz, and George Washington's uniform. Afterwards, stroll over to the National Portrait Gallery to see the artistic renderings of all the presidents. There's Gilbert Stuart's famous painting of George Washington, a close-up of Richard Nixon done by none other than Norman Rockwell, and an almost abstract offering of JFK, created by Elaine de Kooning. The National Portrait Cafe houses a nice indoor courtyard where the children like to jump across a shallow reflecting pool. Remember that most of the museums in Washington, DC, are free, so save that money for lunch and dinner.
Back at the Embassy Suites, you can swim in the indoor pool, located on the top floor of the building, work out in the fitness area, or go shopping nearby at Nordstrom Rack, Nieman Marcus, or Saks Fifth Avenue. Video rentals are available if you want to watch a film inside your room.
Start your day at Cafe Cino, an open-air atrium in the mall that serves your complimentary breakfast each morning. An omelet chef cooks eggs any way you like them, along with bacon, sausage, grits, and a selection of cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, muffins, and pastries. The same restaurant offers a Manager's Reception in the late afternoon, also complimentary, if you want to stop back for a cool drink and snack fare like cheese and fruit.
Downstairs, at street level, is the Cheesecake Factory. You're bound to find something you like on their extensive menu, which includes large salads, fish tacos, pasta selections, burgers, pizza, and any type of cheesecake you dream about. More Italian food can be found at Maggiano's Little Italy, located just down the street. Portions are large, so share family-style, and save room for the yummy tiramisu.
Also in walking distance is a Panera Bread, Cosi's, and Gifford's Ice Cream parlor.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There's a parking lot underneath Chevy Chase Pavilion, so you can easily take your luggage by elevator up to the front desk and your room. One-day Metro passes cost $9, about the amount you would pay for a round-trip fare from the Friendship Heights station to Metro Center, so it's definitely worth getting. Taxis are another option, costing around $20 to reach the mall. But when you have a family of four, it could equal the same price as the subway. There's also a Starbuck's downstairs from the lobby if you need a coffee boost. The hotel offers WiFi and Internet cable access for an extra fee.
The Art of Smart Timing
April Vacation, over Easter, is when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, so expect to see a large number of families in town during this festivity. Summer humidity will make you sweat, but it's hard to resist the Fourth of July celebration at the Nation's Capital. Late fall is a peaceful time to come to town, when the weather starts to cool and you don't have crowds congregating around the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.
For Mom and Dad
Babysitting is available if you need to get away for a couple of hours and have an intimate dinner for two. Try a Washington, DC, favorite, Clyde's of Chevy Chase, which features salmon, scallops, leg of lamb, and pasta dishes that won't bust your bank account.