It’s not you, it’s me. I think that’s got to be my position about my last travel experience to Washington, DC. It was my first trip down to my beloved former home since April but for mighty good reason – having just had a baby I curtailed all travel to be at home with my wife and baby every waking and sleeping moment. But now two months into Eli’s young life, duty called me back down to Washington for a trip that was not of my own planning. As a new board member for the Society of Government Meeting, this trip was planned for me, unlike most trips where I’m in charge of my own travel arrangements.
The meeting would be taking place off site and we’d be housed at the Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria. It was a hotel I had shopped before for some clients and one that was important for me to stay at and witness first hand. But a comedy of errors upon my arrival combined with my lack of new and unprecedented lack of exuberance for being away from my family exacerbated what was an otherwise lackluster start to my stay here. I arrived fairly early in the morning and had stored my luggage because my room was not ready, understandably. But when I returned late in the evening I found that the systems were now down. It meant the hotel was using a print out of registered guests and confirmed reservations in order to keep things straight and register guests as they arrived. I could not quickly command the attention of either of the desk agents as they were tending to urgent technological needs of the hotel. When I was finally addressed, I couldn’t be checked in right away. After waiting about half and hour, the desk agent checked me in and implied that he believed no one was in the room he had just checked me into.
Indeed no one was, thankfully. Rooms were tastefully appointed and comfortable but not altogether memorable. The hotel is located just north of the main historic district, too far a walk perhaps for the average business traveler to get to adequate shopping and dining. The hotel has been recently renovated but the project did not seem massive as there are still spots that could stand modernization. The restaurant is a bit out of the way as it sits on the second floor, adjacent to meeting space but with no street access, it’s hardly busy. And so that gives the perception of it not being a desirable place to dine of course.
The hotel is medium sized and rooms and public space are spacious and clean. Overall, this could be described as very adequate lodging and also quite affordable and government friendly, but considering their competition in the area, they lack a certain competitive advantage that would make them the natural go-to choice.
Still, this is all probably an emotional response to being away for the first time from my budding family. My less than glowing review is not so much a slight of this property as it is my mind’s effects from the first time business travel didn’t suit me in my life.