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December 2, 2013

Washington, D.C. Hotels Prep for Marriott Marquis Opening

The capital of the United States is always a hotbed of activity, with massive national conferences taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and major new hotels opening, renovating and adding new spaces. Here are four hotels either due to open or reopen within the city, or with notable new enhancements.

Biggest buzz first: Hotel Chatter is reporting that the Washington Marriott Marquis will open as the city’s largest hotel  in May 2014, with an impressive 1,175 guest rooms and 100,000 feet of event space. The hotel covers an entire city block and has direct access to the Convention Center. In-house, the largest space is the 30,600-square-foot Marquis Ballroom, which can accommodate 3,000 attendees at once. The hotel also will have a maximum of 54 breakout meeting rooms. When it opens, the $520 million hotel (according to the Washington Post) will have five retail and restaurant outlets including an upscale lounge and a sports bar with flat screen TVs. Top business guests will want to book the two Presidential Suites, which were reportedly inspired by the White House Rose Garden and will have an outdoor terrace. The Washington Marriott Marquis is expected to be Silver LEED-certified.

(Good to know: Douglas Klein will be the director of event management at the hotel, and will oversee the planning, operations and execution of all meetings and events.)

Other hotels throughout the city are stepping up their game to attract top business travelers: The Four Seasons hotel, for example, just debuted its Royal Suite, the largest in the property. This is also a good pick for guests needing extra security: It has bullet-resistant glass, a private entrance and a closed-captioned security system. 

The dining room accommodates 10 guests and is equipped with a Bang & Olufsen LCD for meetings overlooking the private terrace. A kitchen pantry with Sub-Zero refrigerator and separate service entrance is adjacent.

The living spaces include four distinct seating areas (good for breakout groups), and the library has a glass fireplace and custom cabinets displaying a collection of art books. The media area, meanwhile, has Bang & Olufsen systems, including a 60-inch LCD television (good for presentations). For receptions, the suite has a landscaped 1,000-square-foot terrace with lounge chairs, a fire pit and a dining table for 10 overlooking Georgetown. Other available services include a personal chef, security officer or administrative assistant.

Earlier this year, the hotel renovated its 13,500 square feet of event space. The new design includes new audiovisual enhancements, most of which is built-in behind walls or discretely hidden. These include an Apple iPad lighting system, 62- to 72-inch high definition televisions in the eight meeting rooms and separate bandwidth for high speed internet access. Ten new digital signs were added, allowing guests to display PowerPoint presentations, company logos, photos, or simple text.

Related: Four Seasons Washington, D.C. Completes Event Space Renovation

The L’Enfant Plaza Hotel is preparing for a full-scale renovation, which will see the hotel not only close down, but the loss of some 170 employees for at least a year. (The hotel is being sold to San Francisco-based Stanford Hotels by the JBG Cos.)  The Washington Post is reporting that the property will close on December 3. 

Currently, the hotel has 21 function rooms and 21,000 square feet of meeting space, including the Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 700 guests. No word yet on what the new event space will be when the construction is completed. John Boardman, a spokesman for Unite Here Local 25, estimated that the renovation would take anywhere from 14 to 18 months. Although the company is selling the 372-room hotel, JBG will continue to own L’Enfant Plaza.

As we noted earlier this year, The Trump Organization will spend an expected $200 million to redevelop The Old Post Office building into a luxury hotel. Construction is set to begin in Spring, and when the hotel opens in late 2015 (if all goes according to plan), The Trump International Hotel, The Old Post Office, Washington, D.C. will be a notable addition to the city’s high-end venues. 

Related: Trump International to Turn Washington, DC Old Post Office into Luxury Hotel

The hotel will offer a total of 39,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 13,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, the largest among D.C. luxury hotels. Visitors will be able to enter from the historic building through its entrance on 10th street and the main entry on 11th Street. The historic Library, meanwhile, will have 25-foot coffered ceiling, high arched windows, ornate columns, intricate millwork, hardwood floors, velvet draperies and hand-woven area rugs. Glass-front bookcases will line the walls, while leather club chairs and executive task chairs will mix business and comfort. With an entry point off 12th Street, the 3,500-square-foot Library will serve as a junior ballroom, large boardroom or informal meeting space.

Trump will reinstate the 11th Street pedestrian entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue, which has been closed to vehicular traffic, and will serve as the driveway to the hotel’s canopied grand entrance. Without touching the historic building, the new steel and glass porte cochere cantilevers in both directions, creating a glass ceiling. Good to know: The hotel will pursue LEED green building certification.

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