Hotel Review: The Ven Embassy Row brings comfort and friendship to Dupont Circle, Washington DC

At 2015 Massachusetts Ave NW, right by Dupont Circle in Washington D.C., on Embassy Row, you’ll find a newly remodeled hotel that very much wants to be your friend. And, as it turns out – it’ll likely be a mutual feeling.

Inspired by a Scandinavian “hygge” design aesthetic that leans towards coziness and minimalism, and pulling its name from the Danish word for “friend”, The Ven Embassy Row‘s 231 rooms enjoyed a grand opening in March 2021 after lengthy Covid-19 delays.

After changing ownership many times over the years, including Hilton and Lowe, as the Embassy Row Hotel, The Ven now sits as part of the Tribute Portfolio Hotels from Marriott.

The experience at the The Ven starts on entry, when they give each guest a friendship bracelet, and check you in with a smile and extra care, no matter what time you arrive (and due to flight delays, I was late).

The lobby is bright and cheerful with art on screens, a small gift shop (“The Exchange”) for drinks, snacks and curated items from local vendors, built in behind the check in counter, and their bar and restaurant is also nearby.

Sitting in the lobby is the restaurant Fred & Stilla, whose name is taken from the Scandinavian words for “Peace” and a variation on “Style”, to reflect the diplomacy of “Embassy Row”, and the way they look to impress with both the space, and the food they present.

While I didn’t try their dinner options – the menu looks wonderful – they offer simple, quick breakfast options 7-10am on weekdays and 8-11am on weekends. Here, you’ll find quality coffee, tea, sandwiches, bagels and omelettes; I enjoyed a delicious bacon and egg croissant with a tea and bagel.

They have a games room in the basement as well as a 24 hour fitness centre. There is also an ever changing art gallery which featured Indonesian textiles during my visit, partnering with the Indonesian Embassy that’s across the street; they regularly change the countries they work with in that space. A staircase in the lobby will take you down to the gallery.

And then it’s into the elevator to move onto the 8 floors of rooms, where the promised coziness comes to fruition.

From the plush, dark blue walls, to the carpets and window curtains, everything in this room achieves “hygge”. The massive king bed was perfectly comfortable, with terrific pillows that made it hard to want to leave the space.

A book sits by the bed as part of their “bedside reading program”, on one side, and on the other you’ll find drawers for your belongings, hidden behind a door on the side table. Standard AC power sockets can also be found on either side of the bed.

A huge LG TV sits on the wall above the desk, opposite the bed, with seemingly hundreds of channels, and movies on demand for a fee. Though the ability to Chromecast easily from your phone (and yes, it even works with an iPhone) will negate that feature for most guests.

There’s a pop up on the desk with additional plugs and USB chargers – a must for any remodel or new build, given the nature of modern electronics. Also on the desk is an ice bucket and a Keurig coffee machine, with green mountain pods for tea and coffee. A cardboard box of water was also left, featuring the hotel’s branding.

Elsewhere in the room, the closest has a safe with a full ironing board and iron, with plenty of hangers.

You’ll find a giant mirror by the front door, and next to it, a very well lit bathroom, with a blue ceiling adding to the atmosphere of what is otherwise a pretty basic shower and bath left over from the days it was a Hilton. Though the fabulous water pressure, and HOT water, proves that they really didn’t need to do much there anyway.

Toiletries sit in dispensers against the wall, with NEST New York, Sicilian tangerine body wash, shampoo and conditioner, and they also have a little container of body lotion, shower cap with hair tie, and a bar of soap, sitting outside the shower. The quality is excellent across the board. And the towels? They are oh so fluffy and oh so large, I wish I could have taken one home with me.

One of the selling points of the hotel, for guests as well as events that may happen in the space, is the sizeable pool on the 9th floor rooftop, with a bar and plenty of area to lounge and enjoy a dip and a drink. You’ll also find rooftop yoga (in partnership with Epic Yoga) on Saturdays and Sundays at 8am. It’s a wonderful place to spend any free time you might have.

With a respectable Noon check out, there’s going to be no rush to leave the building – and they will of course look after your belongings after you check out. From check in to check out, the staff here were fabulous across the board.

Final Verdict

The Ven Embassy Row is a fantastic hotel, in a central location of D.C. They’ve done well to upgrade the hotel rooms from its original form, as well as the look and feel of the entire building into the “hygge” concept of coziness and minimalism.

From the experience of checking in, to the comfortable night sleep, and the wonderful, simple breakfasts they serve to help you start your day, there’s little not to love about this gem in the U.S. Capital.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

To book your next incredible DC experience at The Ven Embassy Row, head to their official website HERE.

Please note rates vary pending on seasonality and availability, check the website for the latest information.

Address: 2015 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 265-1600

The author visited Washington DC and stayed as a guest at the hotel thanks to Destination DC. All photos supplied by The Ven Embassy Row, except for the photo of the bed in the room, which was captured by the author. 

Start planning your visit to Washington DC via https://washington.org/

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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