Washington, D.C.

Local Update
The 1,175-room Washington Marriott Marquis broke ground this past fall. When it opens in summer 2014, the LEED-certified property will serve as the official headquarters hotel for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, to which it will be connected via a pedestrian bridge. The property will feature its own 100,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 30,000-square-foot grand ballroom, two 10,800-square-foot junior ballrooms, an 18,800-square-foot indoor event terrace and a 5,200-square-foot rooftop terrace. The building will also include five restaurants and a health club.

The downtown site of the District's former convention center is being redeveloped into a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood to be known as CityCenter. The project will be undertaken in three stages, the second of which includes a 350-room upscale hotel. Completion is targeted for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Also coming to the downtown area is a new luxury Me by Meliá hotel from Sol Meliá Hotels and Resorts. Financing for the property is still being secured, but initial plans call for 260 guest rooms, a restaurant and a jazz lounge.

Just north of downtown, Roadside Develop­ment has broken ground on a new 182-room Cambria Suites hotel as part of the massive CityMarket at O, a $300 million, 1 million-square-foot mixed-use complex now under construction. The all-suite Cambria property will feature an expanded dining area, a rooftop pool, a fitness center and an outdoor patio.

On the boutique front, ultra-upscale Capella Hotels and Resorts announced plans to redevelop an existing five-story building in the Georgetown neighborhood into the Capella Georgetown. When it opens in 2012, the property will have 48 rooms and suites, a premium restaurant, a lounge, a rooftop pool, a bar and a spa. Meanwhile, Marriott is moving forward with plans to rehabilitate the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the heart of the Adams Morgan neighborhood into an Ian Schrager-designed Edition Hotel. Construction should begin in 2014, and plans call for 174 guest room, a restaurant, two bars, a fitness facility and a rooftop pool.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio, nominated for a James Beard Award and a finalist on the sixth season of Bravo TV's hit show Top Chef, plans to open two new restaurants in the District. The first, as yet unnamed, eatery will be a bistro/steak house hybrid in the Chevy Chase Pavilion, near the Embassy Suites. The second restaurant will be called North Market Kitchen and is slated to open in Voltaggio's hometown of Frederick, Md.

Chili Reception

Bens Chili Bowl

For a delicious late-night snack in a fun environment, pop in to Ben's Chili Bowl at 1213 U Street, NW, in the heart of town. The joint is open late and the clientele is lively. (202) 667-0909

Meeting HotelsWashington Marriott Wardman Park
Properties 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 Hotel; 772-room JW Marriott Hotel Washington DC; and 583-room Mayflower Renaissance Wash­ington, DC. For a more complete list of hotels, go to mcvenues.com.

Convention CentersThe 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 by 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 Venues
At the Newseum, between the U.S. Capitol building and the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, the walls are alive with interactive exhibits about the news industry and its history. The venue's Knight Conference center offers nearly 30,000 square feet of combined event space, including two terraces and spectacular rooftop views. Catering is provided by Wolfgang Puck. (888) 639-7386

Visitors to the International Spy Museum can peruse exhibits detailing the clever disguises used by CIA agents and demonstrating the ingenious gadgets, bugs and cameras used for gathering intelligence. The museum can accommodate groups of up to 200 for a reception and 150 for a seated dinner, with an on-site restaurant providing the catering. (202) 654-0997

Founded in 1800, the stunning Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation. It is also the largest library in the world, with 147 million items, along with seven meeting rooms that can host up to 1,500 for a reception. (202) 707-8000

Destination DC, (202) 789-7000