The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner Hotel Review – Luxury and Value Coexist
Like many of you, I’m dealing with piles of expiring hotel free night certificates and hotel credits during this period of the pandemic. That’s a good problem to have, of course. I have no interest in flying simply to use these credits in distant locales, and I don’t want them to create substantial, unnecessary spending, either. Enter the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. I found room availability via Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program, and I live within a reasonable driving distance to the Northern Virginia area. Why not visit the property over a long weekend? Here are my thoughts on my recent stay at the Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner.
I’ve largely given up on Marriott properties since the SPG merger, but the recent updates to the Platinum Card from American Express gave me reason to reconsider. Why? Amex recently unveiled a new $200 credit for hotel bookings using their Fine Hotels and Resorts service. I currently hold three personal Amex Platinum cards, and I saw a potential opportunity to maximize all of these credits over a long weekend visit. With Fine Hotels and Resorts, the challenge was finding availability of a property at a reasonable rate which I wanted to visit. Otherwise, this credit would become a $200 coupon on an overpriced hotel stay.
Amex and the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner delivered here. I found nightly rates of $199 for two nights, and $209 for the other. I booked each night separately with a different Platinum card to take advantage of an individual $200 credit for each night. Taking into account room taxes and the $200 nightly credits, I spent $85.89 out of pocket for the three night stay. I earned 11,471 Marriott Bonvoy points over the visit after taking into account current points promos and my Gold elite status (from the Platinum card). Not bad.
The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner connects to Tysons Galleria, the higher-end shopping experience across from the Tysons Corner Center shopping mall. The property is within convenient walking distance to the Tysons Corner stop of the Metro, the DC area’s subway system. Visitors also enjoy pedestrian access to a variety of restaurants within the Galleria and immediate area, including Lebanese Taverna, Maggiano’s, and steakhouses like Wildfire and the Palm. Of course, big shoppers will get the most out of the Ritz’s location. I’m not one of them, but I was reminded that many are. Upon exiting the Ritz-Carlton into the mall, I was greeted by about a 50 foot line of shoppers waiting to enter Louis Vuitton. Gucci and a few others were similar.
Beyond shopping and dining, Tysons Corner isn’t really around much interesting for pleasure travelers. Walkable access to the Metro is huge, though. Like DC in general, traffic is infamously heavy in the immediate area. During a relatively quiet holiday weekend, though, I wasn’t snarled by Tysons traffic at all. I chose self parking in the adjacent garage for the modest $12 daily rate, covered by my property credit (more on that below).
One of the highlights of my visit was the check-in process. I had the most exceptional domestic hotel check-in experience in recent memory, thanks to James at the front desk. He easily connected my three separate reservations for the same room without me asking. The hotel was fully booked for portions of my stay, so I wasn’t able to receive an upgraded room beyond a high floor. I wasn’t overly concerned, as I was traveling alone, had other weekend plans, and wasn’t expecting an upgrade, anyway.
Fine Hotels and Resorts Benefits
More importantly, James excelled at laying out my various on-property benefits, due to my Fine Hotels and Resorts booking. During booking, each reservation noted a $100 property credit as part of the stay. However, I was only expecting a $100 property credit for the three nights, since I booked three nights consecutively. Nonetheless, I had remained hopeful for more. Before I could ask about the property credit, James offered that I would get the $100 property benefit for each of my three reservations. Making it sweeter, I could use the $300 credit any time throughout my visit; I wouldn’t lose out if I didn’t spend exactly $100 each day.
I received an additional $60 breakfast credit, also. James mentioned that the breakfast credit was good for weekend brunch, too. Due to other commitments, I was unable to enjoy brunch, but having that credit flexibility was nice. During the interaction, James was tremendously thoughtful and detail-oriented. Noting that consuming $300 of property credit is no small task for one individual on a relatively short visit, he voluntary listed all possible options. James provided chilled, bottled water at check-in, as well.
After checking in and a quick visit to my room, I indulged in complimentary sparkling wine and sushi being served in the lobby.
Upon arriving, I found my bright room on the 18th floor a far departure from Ritz-Carlton designs of years past. Gone were all the dark, woodsy tones and finishes everywhere. Indeed, the rooms were renovated in 2017. Grays and blues complemented lighter walls and furniture. The white marble in the bathroom is probably a holdover from the previous decor, but it blends in nicely, nonetheless. My view westward wasn’t anything special, but I didn’t expect it to be. Office buildings, a few trees, and a large, ugly roof below. The property is connected to a mall, after all.
I enjoyed the entry area of my room, holding the Nespresso machine, minibar, counter space and closet on the left and bathroom on the right. This layout made the basic, 330-square-foot-room feel bigger than it actually was.
I can’t understate how much white was everywhere in the hallways (other than the flooring). Still, the room decor segued nicely into the similar tones of the hallways and elevator areas.
The hotel holds two distinct restaurants, both confusingly called Entyse. The Entyse Bistro serves breakfast, brunch (weekends only), and lunch. The Entyse Wine Bar and Lounge serves afternoon tea and dinner. The bar was buzzing on weekend nights, with a Flamenco music group on Friday and a Top 40 cover band on Saturday. I enjoyed the quality and variety of food options at each restaurant, the bar, and in-room dining.
The Ritz-Carlton has its own spa, cleverly named “The Spa”, offering a variety of treatments throughout the week. The onsite, indoor pool is accessible through the spa. The pool has separate hours for adults and families. The property also has a dedicated video game room for those interested in console gaming.
The property clearly serves the business crowd, with dedicated space and floors for conferences and other functions. The property will be trending even more that way in the immediate future. Rolly, a bartender who’s been at the property for about 20 years, shared that, unfortunately, the Entyse Bistro will close next year and be replaced with more conference rooms. The Entyse Wine Bar and Lounge will be redesigned to serve all three meals daily, leaving the property with only one unique restaurant experience.
While I found the room and amenities of the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner pleasing enough, the quality of service from all employees was excellent. James, Beverly, and their other front desk colleagues were tremendously attentive throughout my stay. I enjoyed the service of the same waiter, Roberto, at breakfast each morning. Similar to my front desk experiences, Roberto consistently anticipated my needs. I don’t think I ever needed to ask for anything, because he was always a step ahead of me. Toward the end of each breakfast, he thoughtfully provided a to-go coffee that was significantly hotter than the version at the meal. My coffee lasted much longer into my morning activities.
I like that twice-daily housekeeping continues at this property during the pandemic. The only housekeeping blip was when I returned back to my room at about 2 pm on my second afternoon and it had not been serviced yet. I called housekeeping, and they voluntarily prioritized my room as the next one cleaned. Indeed, they did – a housekeeper showed up about 10 minutes after my call. I don’t fault the property for this “late” cleaning, as I hadn’t specifically requested cleaning by a certain time. The nightly turndown service made me realize how much I’ve missed that minor touch in recent years.
Consistently Exceptional Service
The front desk staff, housekeeping, and waiters routinely greeted me by name throughout my stay. Some may roll their eyes at this aspect, but I appreciate that attention to detail. These small, consistent touches add up for me. Indeed, such nuanced care should be expected of a luxury property, but I’ve been disappointed many times before. And with seemingly ever-devaluing hotel experiences, it’s nice to see a property take the importance of service seriously.
I had gone into this stay with moderate expectations, and the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner consistently delivered. The superior service shined most significantly, followed closely by the satisfying dining experiences. From the outside, the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner may appear as a pedestrian property in comparison to other luxury brand locations. But the experience is comparable or better to other more sought-after hotels I’ve experienced. I attribute this to the hard work and expertise of the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner’s staff. I recommend this hotel for anyone wanting a luxurious experience at a reasonable price in the Northern Virginia area, particularly if one holds an Amex Platinum Card. Your Fine Hotels and Resorts credit will go to excellent use here!