Birth Of A Hotel: Washington Area Hotels Primp For Inauguration

washington dc photo courtesy of nick mcketa photoIt isn’t just the Capella that is racing to spruce up their hotel before the 2013 inauguration. Hotels all over the nation’s capital are preparing to greet visitors with new welcome spaces, updated decor, special amenities and in-house food extravaganzas.

Inauguration is one of Washington’s biggest hotel events. In 2009, when more than one million people journeyed to the inauguration of President Obama on the National Mall, DC hotel rooms generated more than $100 million in revenue, states data from Destination DC, the city’s marketing organization. Since that time, more than $250 million has been spent to refresh or update hotels throughout the city.

Although the Capella Washington, D.C. Georgetown is the only hotel scheduled to open between the election and the inauguration, other area properties have also made efforts to step up so that guests will “elect” them for their inaugural home away from home.

More than a dozen properties are expected to be refreshed or updated in time for the inauguration. As we already know that you’ll be shelling out the big bucks (often more than $300 per night) to stay in the city during this prime time, you might want to consider those properties that have had a recent update, including:

  • W Washington DC
    This hotel just barely missed the last inauguration, opening in summer 2009. Previously the Hotel Washington, the Starwood branded hotel has played host to Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift since its reopening.
  • Avenue Suites completed nine months of renovations early this year, including its façade, lobby and patio and rebranded from the Washington Suites. The property has quickly become a local favorite, and draws a crowd at its on-site bar, A Bar.
  • Capital Hilton spent two years completing its $30 million in renovations, including a new spa, lobby and the Statler Lounge, its lobby bar. This centrally located hotel is often a popular location for inaugural events.
  • The DoubleTree by Hilton Washington finished a design of its lobby, lounge and entrance. This hotel is likely one of the more reasonably priced in the city during inauguration.

  • Embassy Suites D.C. Convention Center is in the midst of a 384-room update, as well as changes to its lobby and reception area. Conveniently located in downtown, this hotel is walking distance from many inaugural events as well as public transportation.
  • The Fairmont Washington D.C. invested $2.6 million in its function space including its meeting room and ballroom. The hotel’s proximity to posh Georgetown is a draw for many guests.
  • The Four Seasons Hotel Washington DC invested $1 million to expand and update Seasons Restaurant, a noted power breakfast spot, this year. The hotel completed a massive overhaul before the 2009 inaugural, and is likely the pre-eminent “see and be seen” spot for celebrity spotting during the 2013 inauguration.
  • The Hamilton Crowne Plaza Washington, DC was refreshed in the spring-summer of 2012 and shows off its Art Deco form to great advantage.
  • The Hay Adams transformed their rooftop deck into an enclosed private events space atop the historic Hay-Adams Hotel was so extensive that the hotel essentially added a ninth floor and a dedicated elevator. If you can attend an inaugural event here – do it.
  • The Liaison Capitol Hill, an Affinia Hotel invested $6 million in updating its guest rooms. Conveniently located near the hill, this hotel is walking distance to the actual inauguration.
  • The Madison is the final stages of completing a $22 million revamp of its entire property, including its restaurant and guest rooms. The hotel will celebrate its 50th birthday throughout 2013. A bit “under the radar” in DC’s luxury hotel scene, this hotel hosts an annual inaugural event that is one of the city’s most coveted.
  • The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, D.C. re-opened the Promenade Ballroom, the site of presidential affairs including Calvin Coolidge’s inaugural ball. This hotel is just a few blocks from the White House.
  • The Park Hyatt Washington updated their lower level last year, and recently unveiled catering from their famed Blue Duck Tavern (where the Obamas celebrated their 17th anniversary).
  • The Renaissance Washington Downtown will finish up a multi million-dollar renovation of its 804 guest rooms by mid-October. The proximity to public transport and the ability to use your Marriott Rewards? A match made in bi-partisan heaven.
  • The Washington Hilton, whose $150 million redo wrapped up before this year, added a coffee shop – the first Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the city – this spring. Angelenos, take note. You’re also likely to find at least one inaugural event in this hotel’s ballroom.

We’ll be bringing you lots of news about what’s happening in DC over the coming weeks and months, both as our focus property, Capella, prepares to open, and as hotels unveil their over-the-top packages and events surrounding the big day. In the meantime, remember to get out and vote tomorrow!

[Image Credit: Nick McKeta Photography]