|Exterior, Sheraton Pentagon City|
However, shuttle buses run every half-hour to Reagan National Airport and the Pentagon City Metro Station a little more than a mile away, and several city bus lines run along Columbia Pike, so it’s not difficult to get off-property.
The hotel itself is quite nice, with an inviting lobby, on-site bar and restaurant, fitness center, indoor pool, and meeting space.
|Interior of guest room|
The hotel has ample meeting space on the ground floor and several reception rooms on the 16th floor, which provide an outstanding view of Washington, DC, from the Air Force Memorial near the Pentagon to the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. Farther away, the panorama stretches from the Kennedy Center on the Potomac River to the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol in the distance.
|The view from the 10th floor|
Staff was attentive and friendly with most everyone acknowledging their guests whenever they encountered them on the property.
What price coffee?
Much to my surprise, a cup of coffee in the hotel restaurant was $4.95. Per person. No, I’m not kidding: $4.95!
While the price is listed clearly on the menu, a price that high that borders on being deceptive because, when a waitperson asks, “Coffee?”, coffee drinkers often say “yes” almost reflexively, especially at breakfast. I just happened to see the price before I was served and asked my waitperson to confirm it was correct. I then decided I could live without it.
Other than the cost of joe, I thought food prices were quite reasonable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
One minor hiccup was addressed promptly. On my first morning, I called at 9 a.m. and asked that my room be made up. More than two hours later, it had not been touched. A pet peeve of mine, especially when I’m at a conference, is returning to my room after attending a couple of sessions to find that it has not been made up, particularly when I’ve specifically asked the hotel to do so. However, when I spoke to the manager, he had it addressed immediately, and my room was made up early each successive morning.
Internet access was slow, at about 1 Mbps for both wired and wireless access. The speed in my in-home office is about 25 Mbps, and I have stayed at hotels with access as high as 40 Mbps. Business travelers who rely on e-mail will find this lack of speed limiting, and likely frustrating.
|The hotel's historic site|
The hours at the indoor pool were quite limited. During the week, it is open only from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. When I went to take a look at the pool, there was actually a lifeguard on duty; if that’s required in the state of Virginia, the limited hours are probably to limit the hotel’s overhead.
Finally, another conference attendee told me of an issue he had with the hotel’s phone system. For some reason, he was unable to receive an inbound call in his room but when he reported that to the hotel operator, s/he offered to place the call for him. Considering the circumstances, he presumed the operator was making an accommodation for his inability to receive the call in the first place. However, when he got his bill it included a charge of more than $50 for the “operator-assisted” outgoing call.
Ultimately, the hotel took the charge off his bill but it does serve as a reminder to always check the invoice before checking out.
Generally, I give an approving nod to the Sheraton Pentagon City; just pay attention to prices.
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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