I’ve been to Washington, DC more times than I can count and yet I still don’t feel like I know the city.
It seemed to be the location of every field trip I took while growing up in Southern Maryland and I probably took that for granted. As an adult and a mom, I still don’t take as much advantage as I should of this tourist’s dream where so many things to do are FREE!
That’s probably the primary appeal of a family trip to Washington, DC. Not only can you gain access to iconic monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol (the Washington Monument is closed indefinitely for repairs), but you can spend days exploring the many museums of the Smithsonian Institution.
To make it all easy and worthwhile, we love to spend the weekend in Washington, DC and found the perfect spot for family tourists.
Last year, Modus Hotels hosted my family in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC at the Normandy Hotel, a charming historic hotel situated close to the National Zoo (also free!). It was a great, out-of-the-way location for a quiet stay that kept us still just an Uber ride away from the big tourist attractions.
By contrast, The River Inn is an area called Foggy Bottom, close to the Potomac River and the Kennedy Center. And the hotel itself, like most Modus Hotels, has a character all its own.
Situated right smack in the middle of a residential area, the hotel was quiet, unassuming, yet offered everything we needed for a family stay.
Upon arrival we were greeted by a small but cozy lobby area. We grabbed some ice water, which was always available in the lobby, and a few apples from the front desk and headed to our room. We quickly realized that the apples wouldn’t be a substitute for dinner so we were surprisingly able to order room service from the excellent restaurant, DISH + Drinks, off of the lobby. (My recommendation: go for the crab cake!)
After we ate, we did a quick tour of the room and were thrilled to find a full kitchen (great for long stays, convenient for short stays) along with the ability to actually order from a local grocery store. We stored a few goodies in the fridge and spread out. There was plenty of room for it too.
The bathroom, while on the small side, had a large vanity area outside of the bathroom so that I could get myself together while everyone else was hogging the space.
And for our sleeping quarters, it was just my little old family of three but we still needed big sleeping quarters. My husband and I slept on the queen sized bed in the room and my son enjoyed the pull-out sofa all to himself.
The best part about the room layout is that even with all the beds in place, we were never squeezing our way around anything. It felt like a fully functional family studio apartment. (In fact, my family always jokes that we don’t need our large house – we can all live in one room! I beg to differ.)
I was pleasantly surprised at how this large hotel room accommodated my family and would definitely look to stay there again. But if you’re looking to stay there, as a single woman, as a mom, or for a girls weekend away, here are some of the details you might want to consider.
LOCATION – THE RIVER INN
As mentioned, The River Inn is located on a residential street in Foggy Bottom. We found the mile or so to the National Mall totally walkable. From there we had access to the monuments and memorials, museums, and could walk a little further to other specialty locations (like the International Spy Museum). You can read more about what my family did on our trip here.
I also had to fly out the morning of our department and was pleased that the hotel was only 20 minutes or so from Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA).
SAFETY – THE RIVER INN
We were traveling as a family and kept more to family hours and family activities. We did walk to dinner at night but were back to the hotel by 11pm every night. During our walk, we felt completely safe but, of course, I always recommend safety in numbers when walking in a city at night. If walking concerns you, I find Uber is the easiest way to get to and from where you want to go.
CHARACTER – THE RIVER INN
Unlike the Normandy Hotel, there was no sense of history here but that was totally fine. The lobby bordered on edgy and modern but not obnoxiously so and the rooms were perfectly appointed for comfort, convenience, and familiarity.
VANITY – THE RIVER INN
I absolutely loved the extra vanity in the “hallway” just outside the bathroom. Not only did it have a large ledge for all of my toiletries and cosmetics, but it also had plugs nearby for any appliances you might need to use.
TOILETRIES – THE RIVER INN
I’d say the Pure by Gloss toiletries were perfectly fine (in fact, I had a pretty good hair day before we melted in the early April heat) but if your hair is particular, you might want to pack your own. And if you have a large group staying in the room, you’ll want to ask for extras as the containers are quite small.
COMFORT – THE RIVER INN
I slept on the queen bed and actually slept like a baby. I laid down on the pull out bed and I doubt that I would have slept as well. But my son is 10 and he had no complaints! I was thrilled to see the pull-out bed was fully made and all we had to do was literally pull it out and he was ready for bed.
EXTRAS – THE RIVER INN
What’s the best thing about The River Inn? I’d definitely say the location. We had a great view of the Watergate Hotel and felt close to everything we wanted to visit. And we had no trouble finding excellent dining spots, that were family-friendly, within walking distance.
But if I had to pick a close second, I’d absolutely say the service. We saw the same personnel all weekend so coming back to the hotel felt more like coming home. And when they saw my son eyeing up the empty apple bowl at the end of the night, they didn’t hesitate to grab him a few apples from the back.
What does She’s On The Go say? The River Inn offers great family location for those looking to make the most of Washington, DC!
The River Inn provided me and my family a complimentary two night stay. The River Inn is part of Modus Hotels which offers unique lodging experiences around Washington DC and Philadelphia. Be sure to check out Andrea’s review of One Washington Circle.