10.07.2013 - 12.07.2013
Bethesda North Marriott
We stayed at this hotel because it was where my husband's work meetings were. It was nice, with the decor and amenities you'd expect of this level of hotel. My daughter and I especially appreciated the complementary fruit-infused water available in the lobby: it was refreshing after being outside in the humid DC weather. The rooms themselves were moderately sized with good natural light, but the bathroom was dim even when all the lights were on.
The hotel is near the White Flint metro station. All you have to do walk past the hotel's large parking lot, cross the street, and you're there; it's about a 5-minute walk with a kid. Once you're on the Metro, it's about a half hour to reach the stops in and around the Mall and about 15 minutes to the stop for the zoo. My daughter was (and still is) a fan of trains, so these trips were not a big deal. However, families who want to easily get back to their room for nap time may find this to be too much. Also, the neighborhood is part of the DC suburban sprawl. There are a couple of eateries within walking distance of the hotel, but not many. Families without a car will have limited food options unless they get back on the Metro or have dinner delivered to the room (the hotel lists some places that do the latter).
There was an indoor pool at the hotel. We never used it, partly because of the odd hours: during the summer, it's open all day Fri-Sun, but it is closed from 10 am - 6 pm Mon. -Thurs. Anyone who travels at other times of the year will find that Fridays join the rest of the weekdays with their limited schedule. I'm not sure why the schedule is this way; maybe the hotel is concerned about noise from the pool area disrupting meetings, but other conference hotels don't need these restrictions. At any rate, the rules might disappoint families who want the option of a midday swim.
Bathroom: shower/tub combo
Blow dryer: yes
Breakfast: Breakfast was not included in our rates. The on-site restaurant serves breakfast, but it is pricey: about $16 a person. However, there is a newsstand/coffee bar at the hotel that serves Starbucks drinks, bottled juices, and some limited breakfast items (pastries, yogurt, fruit). It also has seating nearby so you don't need to take your breakfast back to your room unless you want to. The coffee bar worked well for us. Another option is the McDonalds, which is about a block away from the hotel and also across the street from the Metro.
Internet: available for a fee, so we didn't use it.
Nearest playground: not sure
Recommend to families with young kids: It depends on a couple of things. The first is price. From what I have seen online, it seems to vary a lot. At the lower end of the range (say, 89/night), it is a good value for Metro DC. At the upper end (I've seen rates of over 200/night), I think you could find either something cheaper or closer in. The other thing it depends on is the family's schedule. If they want to take midday swims or have a short Metro ride back for nap time, this place is not a good match.
Recommend to people without kids: Again, it depends because of the reasons stated above.