Monday, November 18, 2013

Steve Burton Reviews Wyndham National Harbour Resort

I have recently returned from Wyndham National Harbour resort in Maryland and the most important fact is that unless you have a really good knowledge of the geography of the USA you will probably not realise that this resort is only a few minutes drive from Washington DC and all its many attractions. I believe that resort management could have made this resort more prominent by calling it Wyndham National Harbor by Washington DC in order to stress just how close it is to the Nations capital city.

I only have one criticism of this resort and that is as soon as you have checked in and you and making your way with your luggage to the lift you are approached by a member of their sales team to take a survey about the resort and the exchange system. This approach is followed by further telephone calls which turned out as recorded messages for me as there is so much to do in Washington that we were out all day and hence were never in to answer the calls from the sales staff.

Having got the above criticism out of the way let me state that this is one of the  best exchanges that I have made in approaching six hundred exchanges I have made since becoming a member of RCI back in 1980. The accommodation is superb as the two bed two bath apartment was very spacious and luxurious. Sadly although the title National Harbor hints at great views of the Potomac this is not the case as it is located a few hundred yards from the harbour and many of the apartments currently overlook a building site.

The resort has a good activities program but we chose not to take up any of the options offered because of the attractions of Washington DC. I found the internet connect to be fairly reliable and when I had an issue with my lap top I found that the resort has four computers for guests to use free of charge. I never had to wait to use these computers which was a bonus when compared to some resorts that I have visited in the past.

In my opinion one of the first things guests should do after unpacking is to visit Randall the friendly concierge who will give you advice and guidance about where to go in Washington and how to get there. He gave me helpful advice about the metro and bus services as well as the availability and prices of various tours. I never felt any pressure to purchase any tours from him although we did in the end purchase tickets for the on off bus tours around Washington. Randall talked to me about the options of getting into Washington which included using the free twenty four seat courtesy bus from National Harbor to a local metro station. Several people told us however that this bus is often full hence there was no guarantee on getting a place on it. Another option Randall mentioned was taking a bus to another metro station and then take the metro into Washington. This sounded a better option but in the end we decided to purchase passes for fours days on the on off old trolley bus tour partly because the company picked us up just one hundred yards from the resort.

I believe the best way I can review this superb resort is to give readers an indication of what we did on each day as it gives an idea of what is available in the area. The first full day was spent on a river cruise up the Potomac river which allowed us to visit Old Town Alexandria and Georgetown plus see many of the historic buildings from a distance. We spent around three hours exploring each of these historic towns. The cruise starts at a location at National Harbor that is only about three hundred yards from the Wyndham resort.

On the second day we took a cruise up the Potomac to visit Mount Vernon the home of George Washington. The house and grounds are open to the public and we paid our respects at the location where he is buried with his wife. This trip can also be booked by coach through Randall if you prefer not to cruise the Potomac.

The next four days were spent visiting the various Washington attractions including the various memorials, the Washington Monument, the Capital building, the Arlington National Cemetery, Grand Central Railway station, Washington Cathedral, the Smithsonian air and Space museum and the Ford Theatre to name just a few of the places visited.

I visited in late October but I am told that the best time to visit Washington is in early spring when the Cherry trees are in blossom. I hope that after reading my review that some of you will be tempted to visit this really special resort but as I said earlier be prepared for some contact from the sales staff. 

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