Hyatt Regency Washington

Because the 834-room Hyatt Regency, which takes up a whole city block, is near DC’s Union Station and Amtrak, its clientele includes passers-through as well as tourists from the East Coast and Europe. Two blocks from the Capitol building, it’s a good base for tourists tackling the National Mall.

The atrium lobby has an easy flow, with modern touches such as self check-in and electrical outlets imbedded in lobby seating. The staff is friendly—they stand in front of the check-in desks to greet you instead of waiting behind the counter.

Although it’s close to the Capitol, the only place in the hotel where you can catch a glimpse of the Capitol dome is from the corner of the 11th floor Thorton meeting room—and even then, through a glass building next door.

Although standard in size, the feel of the rooms is plush, with colors of burgundy and caramel. Real extravagance is found in the fitness center, which is much like a health club. The hotel used to sell memberships, but they now offer it only to hotel guests and for free. The 8,000-square-foot space is in an atrium setting with a cardio deck that looks out onto First Street, an indoor heated lap pool, an outdoor sundeck, a weight room, two locker rooms, and saunas.

Room amenities: Hyatt Grand Bed; 27-inch television with cable movie channels, in-room pay movies, video messages, account review, check-out; telephone with voice mail; data port; coffee maker; iron and ironing board; turndown upon request; work desk; iHome alarm clock radio

Hotel amenities: Express check-in kiosks, in-room dining, concierge, FedEx office, secretarial support services, multilingual staff, babysitting referral service, currency exchange, safe deposit boxes at front desk, laundry/dry cleaning, full service audio-visual company, gift shop, soda/ice machines, Article One-American Grill and Article One Lounge dining options

Things nearby: Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Union Station/Amtrak, U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court