It’s rare I get a five night stay at a hotel these days but I was afforded such a luxury last week. I began my stay with my wife on the weekend as we were set to exhibit at the Washington Bridal Expo. The beauty of staying at the Renaissance, among other aspects, is it’s intense convenience to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The hotel faces the center itself and is no more than a three minute walk from door to door. That has helped make it the consummate convention hotel in Washington, DC. And since their massive multi-million dollar renovation in the last year, the Renaissance is often my client’s first choice for any events taking place in the downtown corridor.
The renovation is immediately obvious when walking in the front door. They’ve built a wonderful vestibule separating the front valet from the main lobby keeping cold air out. Once entering the dramatic two story lobby, the contemporary styling pervades the senses. It’s light during the day with its all glass roof and open spaces, but it’s dark by convention hotel standards in the evening. Still there are at least five intimate pockets that surround the lobby making this large space still seem cozy for groups looking to mingle amongst themselves. There’s also a lobby bar, a Sports Bar, and their breakfast and dinner restaurant, Fifteen Squares. There’s also an adjacent Starbucks which leads to the courtyard of a downtown office building.
The lobby is nice and separate from the convention space, but just past the front desk are escalators which lead down to two floors of extensive meeting space. This is one of the hotel’s best assets, a ton of meeting space, but because not everyone who stays here is meeting here, it’s nice that the space feels rather separate from the whole of the hotel.
Guest rooms looks excellent. The renovation has led to a sleek décor and fashionable and well equipped bathrooms with stall showers and upscale spa products. King rooms have plenty of walking around space and was plenty comfortable for the two of us. All in all, the Renaissance will continue to be the primary go-to for guests looking to be in the heart of downtown and close to the convention center. It remains to be seen what kind of presence the Renaissance keeps when it’s big sister property, the Marriott Marquis Washington opens next door to the convention center in less than two years.