by Amanda Geronikos
“You really have to like red to stay at that hotel.” That’s what someone told us prior to our stay at Hotel Rouge – A Kimpton Hotel, and to our surprise, that person was right. It’s amazing how one color can define a hotel.
Located on Embassy Row in Washington D.C., Hotel Rouge, indeed, has guests seeing red — lots of it. It exudes a lush, sexy ambience throughout, from an intimate, low-lit lobby to modish rooms. Consequently, it’s not particularly inviting for families with young kids; it doesn’t feel homey. Your fashion-forward teens, on the other hand, will love it.
While it doesn’t feel family-friendly, however, it technically is, with bike and stroller rentals, kids’ menus, in-room mini-bars and more on offer. Rouge is also a 15-minute walk from Dupont Circle Metro Station.
Our Editor Loves
- Kimpton Kids
- Bunk Bed Rooms
- Location on Embassy Row
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The hotel offers 137 guestrooms and suites, each with tones of red, plus black, found in faux-leather headboards, velvet draperies, abstract paintings and other furnishings. The only areas you won't find these colors is the bathrooms, which remain plain, white and seemingly outdated in comparison.
Standard amenities in all accommodations include 37-inch, flat-screen TVs, down comforters, hairdryers, irons and ironing boards, safes, and mini-bars. You'll also find a yoga mat in each room, and wellness-minded moms, dads and teens will appreciate access to a 24-hour yoga and Pilates channel on their TV.
Cribs and play yards are available upon request, free of charge, though restrictions apply in some rooms -- extra beds may be considered a fire hazard. If you're traveling with little ones, you can also request an in-room safety kit, which includes outlet covers, toilet latches and nightlights. Other kids' amenities include child-size, animal-print bathrobes.
Queen Queen Deluxe Room
This is a standard hotel room, with two queen beds and 400 square feet of space -- plenty of room for a family to sprawl out.
Bunk Bed Suites
The hotel has six bunk bed rooms, each with one king bed or two queen beds, plus bunk beds; these rooms sleep four to six guests. They also have Xbox and kid-friendly mini-bars with fun and healthy snacks available for purchase. These units are 500 square feet.
Also 500 square feet in size and ideal for families (especially those staying several nights), Studio Suites provide kitchenettes with mini-fridges, dishware, microwaves and Keurig machines, as well as high-top tables with two chairs; there are five of these units.
Day Bed Suites
These rooms are perfect for a family of three, with one king bed and a day bed that's located in a separate alcove and privatized even further by a curtain. These suites are 500 square feet.
At 550 square feet, this unit sleeps up to four and features a king bed and a separate area (perfect for added privacy) with a sofa bed and flat-screen TV. It also has a wet bar.
Additionally, the hotel offers a Queen Deluxe Room, King Deluxe Room, Executive King Room and Conference Suite, typically best for adults, but doable for two parents and a baby if a play yard is requested.
Hotel staff was wonderful, the hotel is located in a nice quiet area of DC, and the hotel was clean. I have stayed in several Kimptons and find them very nice places, tastefully decorated. This was the exception. It is an old hotel with old bathrooms and popcorn ceilings. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, it just not what I expected at a Kimpton. Especially when I am paying more that $600 a night.
My husband and I stayed at the Rouge 10 years ago during our first DC trip - thinking that like all the other Kimpton hotels where we had stayed, the hotel would be unique, friendly and fun. At that time, it was true.
Now however, although buoyed somewhat by a fabulous staff, the hotel has sagged into itself and is tired. The location is great, the hotel is clean and the staff really nice. It's just not REALLY a Kimpton (at least how we know them)
As for the continental breakfast - the coffee and juice are good. The pastries/bagels/cereal are plain-wrap grocery store quality. Either improve or eliminate. I'd give up the evening wine for a better breakfast.
Offered at all Kimpton Hotels, including Rouge, the complimentary Kimpton Kids program provides youngsters with goldfish in rooms (fed by hotel staff), welcome gifts, stroller rentals, hula hoops and more.
Hotel Rouge provides three bicycles -- two for adults and one for a child. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis (though only ideal if you have a family of three, or if some people in your party are willing to walk alongside cycling companions). It's a long walk, bike or car ride (considering traffic) to local attractions though.
The hotel has a lounge, Bar Rouge, and while kids are welcome (high chairs, booster seats and a kids' menu are available), we think it's best suited for parents. Options include burgers, wraps, salads, chicken, steak and seafood, along with cheese and meat plates, appetizers and desserts. Dinner is served 5 to 10:30 p.m. Breakfast is also available, 7 to 10:30 a.m. each morning, and includes the usual suspects: omelets, pancakes, fresh fruit and more. Lunch is not served at Bar Rouge.
Bar Rouge provides room service, though a $5 delivery fee and tip (18 percent; automatically included) applies. Kids' meals are available.
Coffee and Tea
Additionally, free coffee and tea are provided at Bar Rouge each morning, from 6 to 10 a.m.
The hotel hosts a nightly wine reception, from 5 to 6 p.m. It's complimentary to all guests and includes beer (Red Stripe), plus mocktails and light bites for little ones to enjoy -- it's very much a family-friendly event.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available to members of Kimpton Karma Rewards, a free program that also allows guests to earn free nights, receive exclusive offers at onsite restaurants, and enjoy a $10 credit to raid the mini-bar in rooms or suites. As a member, you can also personalize your stay, listing what type of pillow you prefer, along with any other travel needs.
If you don't sign up for Kimpton Karma, you'll be required to pay a nightly hotel fee of $15, which includes upgraded Wi-Fi, unlimited local and long distance calls, and two hours of sedan service on weekdays, from 7 to 9 a.m. (subject to availability).
If you need a babysitter, Hotel Rouge will refer you to a local, accredited service.
Forgot It? We've Got It!
If you forgot anything, call someone at the front desk -- chances are, the hotel has it. We're not just talking toothbrushes and combs either -- think curling irons, mobile chargers, humidifiers and more.
Kimpton loves pets, and all (they don't have to be cats or dogs) can stay at the chain's properties, including Rouge, free of charge. Bowls, beds and other necessities are provided.
There's a small fitness center in the basement, open 24 hours; guests can also opt to work out at the nearby YMCA for $5.
Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at noon.
The Art of Smart Timing
Washington D.C. is busy any time Congress is in session, though it's predictably busiest during the spring and summer months -- particularly during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The same rings true for area hotels, including Rouge. Plan to pay a premium during the summer months, or choose to visit during the months of January and February, when rates are slightly lower and crowds are fewer.
Opt to fly into Ronald Reagen Washington National Airport or Washington Dulles International Airport (serviced by more flights than the former). Both airports are fairly close to Hotel Rouge, though you should plan to spend at least an hour (if not more) getting to and from your destination, solely because of traffic.
Valet is the only option for parking at Hotel Rouge, and it's not cheap (though it's typical for the area) -- it'll run you $42 per day, plus tax, with in-and-out privileges as you please. If you're planning to park for the day, it's $25. If you have an eco-friendly vehicle, however, you'll receive a 50-percent discount on rates.
During your stay, leave the car at the hotel and either walk or utilize public transportation; this is the cheapest, quickest option. The Dupont Metro Station is about a 15-minute walk away.
For Mom and Dad
Request an in-room massage service -- options include hot stone massages, body wraps and facial treatments. Afterward, grab a drink at Bar Rouge for Red Hot Happy Hour (5 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday), or if time allows, enjoy a quiet dinner. Tip: Visit on a Tuesday to enjoy half-priced bottles of wine. Don't miss the complimentary Bloody Marys and cold pizza either, served on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon.