DC is full of hotels, but only a few can boast the location that the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill has – it’s a stone’s throw from the US Capitol. Its location makes it a popular choice for meetings and events. With 38,000 square feet of meeting space, it’s also one of the larger meetings hotels in the city.
I had used the Hyatt Regency a few years ago for a few different events while working at a previous job. For those meetings, the location was crucial, particularly since it was only a short walk from Union Station. But it had been a few years since I last visited the hotel, so I made sure to come by for a site visit as we were considering it for a 200+ person event in the fall.
Since we weren’t in need of a room block for this event, I did not check out the sleeping rooms on this tour for lack of time, but I have stayed there personally in the past. My memory of the rooms is that they were completely adequate. They didn’t blow me away, but they were completely functional.
The Hyatt’s lobby is large and open, but much of it is taken up by the restaurant and lounge. There isn’t as much seating as you might expect for a meetings hotel.
The majority of the meeting space is on the ballroom level, one level below the lobby. The space that I was looking at was the Regency Ballroom and Foyer. Here is the foyer (in use for registration for a meeting that day). It’s functional, but you definitely know you’re in the basement, so to speak.
The Regency Ballroom made up for this, a bit. The chandeliers are gorgeous, and there is some detail in the room that gives it a little extra something, despite being a windowless ballroom. This photo is of Regency A, which is the largest section, which is about 5,600 square feet with a capacity of up to 800 for a standing reception. The entire Regency ballroom is about 11,300 square feet with a capacity of up to 1,800 for a standing reception.
Also on the ballroom level is the Columbia ballroom, which is significantly smaller, and a series of breakout rooms named for different battles in the American Revolution: Concord, Lexington and Bunker Hill. This is a section of the Columbia ballroom:
My biggest gripe about the Hyatt Regency is that it feels like a meeting factory. I was there on a Tuesday morning and there were several meetings going on. The ballroom level in particular is so packed with meeting rooms that your group is bound to run into other groups. This might be fine, but most of my clients prefer a bit more privacy.
The lobby level had the Congressional rooms and the Capitol rooms. Here is the capitol room:
One of the Congressional rooms:
The hotel also has breakout rooms on the 2nd floor and the Thornton Lounge on the 11th floor, which has views of the Capitol. This is their most popular room and is more difficult to book.
Overall, I feel like the Hyatt Regency is a perfectly serviceable location. It benefits by being so close to the capitol and having so much space, that if you have a smaller meeting or event, they often have something available, which is great for planning last minute events. But there is nothing incredibly special about it.
One last note – I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the service on my short visit. I’m hoping this was just a one-off, but when I arrived for my site visit, I went to the front desk to ask the agent to call the sales assistant I was meeting. This is what I would normally do if the sales person wasn’t meeting me in the lobby anyway, but this is in fact what the sales assistant had told me to do. There was no line at the front desk so I made my request, but the agent didn’t know who I was asking for. This isn’t entirely surprising at such a large hotel, but then even when I spelled her name, he wasn’t able to find her in their phone system. He asked which department she was in, and when I said Sales and Catering, he told me, “Oh , just go down to her office. Go down these escalators, make a left, and right…” I cut the agent off, saying that I really preferred to have him call her and for the sales assistant to meet me in the lobby. Have you ever tried to find a sales office in the hotel? They are often tucked away by the meeting space for a reason, but personally I don’t feel like I should have to go on a wild goose chase to find it, especially for a site visit. After showing my contact’s email on my phone to the agent he was finally able to get her on the phone, but the whole interaction was less than positive. When I have a negative experience with a staff member at a hotel, I always worry how my guests will be treated.
Have you worked with the Hyatt Regency Washington DC on Capitol Hill? What were your thoughts?