I spent Labor Day Weekend in lovely Alexandria, Virginia for a friend’s wedding with the weather mostly cooperating; hot, but breezy. I had booked two nights at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town, a Category 7 hotel (full chart here). The cost was either $99 and taxes or 50,000 HHonors points per night. It didn’t seem worth it to spend 100,000 HHonors points on a room that I was splitting with a friend, making the eventual cost around $55 a night with taxes and fees included.
|Old Town Alexandria Panaroma (Hilton in left foreground)|
I was really excited about this stay because it was my first possessing Hilton Diamond status, which is Hilton’s highest possibly loyalty tier. Diamond status is normally attained with 30 individual stays or 60 nights annually, or 120,000 base points. I achieved it by spending $40,000 during this current calendar year on my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card. As far as I know, this is the only credit card that allows the user to attain top-tier status with a hotel or airline on annual spending alone. Hilton had a devaluation of their award chart earlier this year that doubled the HHonors points necessary for their most fabulous hotels, like the Conrad Koh Samui or Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which can cost over $800 a night. Had I known Hilton was going to gut their chart, I would not have spent $40,000, but I had already put a significant portion on the card and wanted to earn top-tier status with one hotel chain for future status matches and challenges with other hotel chains.
|Conrad Maldives Rangali Island|
Having Diamond status entitled me to a upgrade to a preferred room or suite, 1,000 HHonors points, and a full plated breakfast for me and my friend, since there was no Executive Lounge at this particular Hilton. A “guest champion” named Shirley from the hotel emailed me two days before with salutations and a request to assist in any way possible. I decided to ask for a confirmed suite upgrade ahead of time and Shirley was kind enough to grant my request. which was probably made easier by the fact it was a slow holiday weekend.
The hotel is located directly across the street from the King Street Metro station on the Yellow Line. There are several flags, Hilton’s among them, that make it hard to miss the main entrance. Built in a typically Virginian colonial brick-and-column architecture style, the hotel was a welcome reminder that I was back in my home state. The lobby was airy, srubbed and featured a Starbucks, as well as direct access to the hotel restaurant, Seagar’s. Chris at the front desk acknowledged my confirmed suite upgrade and was extremely pleasant, as were all employees with whom I interacted. The HHonors dedicated check-in line was unnecessary for me as there was no one checking in ahead.
The suite was on the fourth floor, which is also a dedicated HHonors elite floor. Walking in, I was struck by the floor to ceiling windows in the “living room”, which had a big couch, large, flat screen TV and a work desk.
|Desk and TV|
The bedroom boasted a king bed, an identical TV and the sink portion of the bathroom.
|Hilton beds are second in comfort to W beds, in my opinion|
The actual shower/tub and toilet were in a separate room with a privacy door. The only problem I had with the room was that there was one sink where there should have been his and her’s and the faucet didn’t extend fully into the sink, which let water splash excessively.
Otherwise, the room was the perfect size for a late-night wedding afterparty of 10 people.
We ate Seagar’s both mornings and the coupon entitled us to one “entree” or the buffet. Both days I ordered a smoked salmon burrito which came with potatoes and a small morsel of pineapple; delicious, all.
Checkout was simple, as the folio was slipped under my door on the final morning. I asked for a late checkout, which is another benefit of being a Diamond member, and the front desk kindly acquiesced. The hotel held my bags for the afternoon, as I spent it walking around Old Town. Getting back to my bus at Dupont Circle was simple, requiring only one Metro transfer.
Overall, this hotel was efficient, clean, comfortable and offered very good value. Access to public transportation and Old Town’s charms are added bonuses. Excellent Diamond recognition was the proverbial cherry; a great weekend, for sure.