by Michael C. Lowe | May 01, 2013
Hip Hops
Glass of beer

Bluejacket Brewery is opening next month in the historic Navy Yard, adjacent to Nationals Stadium. The new craft brewery is in a former boiler factory and will offer food and drink in a beer hall-style din­ing area.

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Local Update
The first phase of the $700 million mixed-use City Center DC will open by the end of this year. The five-block development in the Metro Center neighborhood will feature 185,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants, along with offices, residences, green space and underground parking. The second phase, to commence in the first half of 2014, will include additional retail and a 350-room hotel. Stay tuned for additional details.

The new Washington Marriott Marquis is set to open next spring. The $520 million convention center hotel, which will offer 1,175 guest rooms and more than 100,000 square feet of function space, will be connected to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center via an underground tunnel. Amenities include five restaurants, a health club and a pool.

Loews Hotels & Resorts recently opened the 356-room Loews Madison Hotel in the heart of the capital, after a $23 million renovation and rebranding of the former Madison Hotel. The property has more than 12,000 square feet of function space, on-site dining options and a fitness center.

Choice Hotels International Inc. is planning a Cambria Suites for the Citymarket at O, a $300 million project in D.C.'s historic Shaw neighborhood. The 182-room, all-suite property will offer a rooftop pool, a fitness center and an outdoor patio. Construction is expected to begin this fall.

The Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel recently completed a $30 million renovation that gave all 807 guest rooms new furnishings, LED lighting and spa-inspired bathroom amenities.

Mandarin OrientalThe 400-room Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC, right, recently debuted its 1,900-square-foot, two-bedroom Jefferson Suite, showcasing views of the Washington Marina, the Martin Luther King Memorial and the Tidal Basin. The corner suite also includes a full kitchen, a dining room, a sitting area and a den. The hotel has a total of 38,000 square feet of flexible event space, including a ballroom that can host up to 700 people.

The boutique 49-room Capella Wash­ington D.C. -- the first Capella-branded property in the United States -- opened in Georgetown last month. With its chic and sophisticated atmosphere, the property features a restaurant and lounge, a 430-square-foot boardroom, and a guests-only rooftop pool and bar.

Kimpton Hotels and Resorts recently added the 193-room Donovan House to its portfolio. The downtown D.C. property has about 3,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool and the Zentan restaurant, helmed by celebrity chef Susur Lee.

The 415-room Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown, in March completed a $2.6 million design and technology upgrade of its 24,000 square feet of function space.

Meliá Hotels International has announced plans to build  a 260-room ME by Meliá property near the convention center and Union Station. The hotel will include a restaurant and a jazz lounge; other features and a construction timeline are to come.

Marriott has proposed a 10-story, 174-room, Ian Schrager-designed Edition Hotel in the District's Adams Morgan neighborhood. Plans for the $127 million property include a gym, a restaurant, two bars and a rooftop pool. If approved, construction will begin sometime after 2014.

The National Mu­seum of African-American History and Culture is set to open in 2015 on the National Mall, under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution. Exhibits will cover a wide range of African-American history, examining topics such as slavery, the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.

Meeting Hotels
Larger properties in D.C. include the 1,465-room Washington Marriott Wardman Park; 1,070-room Hilton Washington; 888-room Grand Hyatt Washington; 836-room Omni Shore­ham Hotel; 807-room Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel; 772-room JW Marriott Hotel Washington DC; and 583-room Mayflower Renais­sance Wash­ington, DC.

To find and compare area hotels and send RFPs, go to

Convention Centers
The Walter E. Wash­ington Convention Center; meeting space, 125,000 square feet; exhibit space, 700,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 70. (202) 249-3000;

The National Conference Center; exhibit space, approximately 265,000 square feet; number of meetings rooms, 250; (703) 729-8000;

Airport Transit
Reagan National Airport, 15 to 20 minutes from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, about $20; cost of Metro to downtown varies according to exit point, about $2.50

Dulles International Airport, 45 minutes from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $65-$80

Room tax, 14.5%; sales tax, 5.75%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.5%

Group VenuesCarnegie Library
The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, right, reopened as a special-event space last year. The 75,000-square-foot facility, which was built in 1903 and is just steps from the convention center, offers nine ornate rooms and a grand plaza for outdoor events. (202) 249-3229;

Eastern Market, which opened in 1873, buzzes with purveyors of fine gastronomic goods, live music, and arts and crafts vendors. Event planners can rent out the venue's North Hall, which was renovated in 2009 and has 3,500 square feet of function space. (202) 698-5253;

Once the residence of the country's first register of the Treasury, Joseph Nourse, the Dumbarton House exemplifies Federal period architecture from our nation's early years. The property was built in 1790 and has several event spaces, including the 1,040-square-foot Belle Vue Room, which sports hardwood floors, 13-foot-high white coffered ceilings and access to a courtyard that can accommodate additional guests. (202) 337-2288;

With more than 14,000 square feet devoted to billiards, shuffleboard tables, Ping-Pong tables, skeeball and more, Buffalo Billiards, directly across from Dupont Circle, is a top-notch destination for bar games. The facility, which also is stocked with 62 flat-screen televisions and five projector screens, provides several private spaces. The largest, the Adirondack room, can hold up to 175 guests within its log cabin-style walls and includes a full complement of games along with a private bar and a buffet table. (202) 331-7665;

The Capital City Brewing Co. brews its own suds at this downtown site. The space can be rented for up to 300 people, and tours of the brewery are available upon request. (202) 628-2222;

The Corcoran Gallery of Art contains a variety of elegant spaces adorned with myriad works of art and design. Surrounded by 40 columns and offering views of the heavens through a skylight, the Atrium can seat groups of up to 400 for dinner, while the nearby Ruesch Conference Room can accommodate up to 25. Docent-led tours of the galleries are available during events. (202) 639-1700;

Let attendees channel their inner 007 at the International Spy Museum, where they can mingle amongst exhibits recounting true tales of espionage and derring-do. The venue, in the heart of town on F Street, has an event space that can accommodate up to 200 people, and groups can participate in a fun scavenger hunt around the facility using top-secret tools. (202) 393-7798;

The Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art features a stunning glass canopy lofted above 28,000 square feet of reception space that can hold up to 1,200 people. For smaller events, the museum's Great Hall provides dining surrounded by regal 19th-century architecture; it was here that Abraham and Mary Lincoln greeted guests arriving for his second inaugural ball in 1865, just weeks before his assassination. (202) 633-6333;

Enjoy a colorful cruise down the Potomac River with Capital Yacht Charters, which has a fleet of four vessels for hire. Virginia's Jewel, the largest of the four, can accommodate up to 149 passengers and has two decks with indoor and outdoor spaces. (202) 554-0677;

Park Hyatt interactive culinary eventThe Park Hyatt Washington recently launched interactive food-and-beverage breaks for groups in its 10,000-square-foot gallery. The programs, which became available in March, take advantage of the property's unique culinary offerings. For example, a tea expert talks about (and shares tastes of) some of the rare and exotic varieties in the hotel's tea cellar, which is stocked with more than 50 blends. Other break options include a look at cheesemaking and a course divulging the secrets behind the hotel's signature apple pie. (202) 419-6680;

Destination DC, (202) 789-7000;

Washington, D.C.'s official convention and sports authority, Events D.C., manages the city's convention center, RFK Stadium, the DC Armory and Nationals Park, among other facilities. The organization works closely with Destination DC but is a separate entity. (202) 249-3000;