by Michael C. Lowe | May 01, 2014
Local Update

• The Embassy Row Hotel, by Destination Hotels & Resorts, began work on a $15 million renovation last month. The project's first phase should wrap up in June, featuring enhancements to the rooftop terrace and pool, which overlooks Dupont Circle and offers views of the Washington Monument. Phase two will include renovations of the property's 231 guest rooms, a redesigned lobby and bar, new meeting space (to add to the current total of 6,650 square feet) and a new fitness center. The hotel will remain open during the work, which is expected to be finished in March 2015.

• The $520 million Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., opened May 1 with 1,175 guest rooms, more than 105,000 square feet of function space, five dining outlets and an 8,000-square-foot fitness center. Connected to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center via an underground concourse, the property was designed to be LEED Silver-certified.

• Kimpton's The George on Capitol Hill completed a $5 million renovation in February. All 139 guest rooms were upgraded with new desks, ergonomic chairs and sofa beds. The property's hallway corridors, elevator banks and meeting spaces also were refreshed.

• Last spring, the Grand Hyatt Washington finished a $23 million renovation. All 897 guest rooms received a fresh color palette plus new artwork, beds and technology, including 42-inch TVs, iPod docking stations, upgraded high-speed Internet and multiple nightstand electrical outlets. In addition, the Grand Club lounge was expanded. The hotel has 42,000 square feet of meeting space and several dining options.

• The Hyatt Regency Washington recently completed a $19 million renovation of its 836 guest rooms, which now offer new bedding, carpeting, light fixtures and energy-saving thermostats. In addition, the property's Regency Club lounge now offers two iMac workstations; and the Capitol Ballroom and Thornton Room, with skyline views of the Capitol, provide 6,000 square feet of upgraded meeting and event space. The hotel includes 38,000 square feet of function space in total.
Meeting Hotels: Properties in D.C. include the 1,465-room Washington Marriott Wardman Park; 1,175-room Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.; 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, D.C.

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, 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

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

Group Venue: The facilities at the Mt. Vernon Square complex, across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, are planning an extensive upgrade. The historic Carnegie Library will undergo a 58,000-square-foot expansion, while the existing structure will be renovated to be used for special events. Meanwhile, the International Spy Museum (202-393-7798; is relocating to a new 40,000-square-foot underground space beneath the library. All work is expected to be completed in 2017.

Contact: Destination DC, (202) 789-7000;