Hilton Hotel Opens in Greenbelt

By Krissah Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Richmond-based lodging company opened a six-story hotel in Prince George's County last week. Shamin Hotels , owner of more than 20 lodging facilities, held a grand opening ceremony for the Hilton Garden Inn in Greenbelt.

The hotel has 155 rooms, a Great American Grill restaurant and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel company plans to work with the city to raise money for a nearby pedestrian-bridge project, company spokesman Steve Mullen said in an e-mail interview.

There are 35 hotels in Prince George's, according to the Prince George's Conference and Visitors Bureau Web site. Most are budget and midrange facilities. Competition among hoteliers in the county is expected to increase in the coming years as National Harbor is built.

The first phase of the National Harbor development, which is under construction on the Potomac River, includes 4 million square feet of hotels, restaurants, stores and condominiums. In April, developer Milton V. Peterson announced that five major hotel chains will open properties at National Harbor, in addition to the 2,000-room hotel and convention center that is being built by Gaylord Hotels.

The additional hotels include a Hampton Inn , a Residence Inn by Marriott , a 195-room Westin , a boutique hotel called Aloft run by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide , and a 246-unit Fairfield Resorts timeshare property. They will bring the total number of hotel rooms at the 350-acre complex to just under 3,000 and greatly boost hotel options in Prince George's.

New Marketing Video Airs

A new video promoting life in Prince George's recently began airing on local television stations. Dubbed the "It's a Great Time" campaign, the commercial starts out with a flash of bold letters: "IT'S OUR TIME. WELCOME TO BOOM TIME." The soundtrack is a mix of jumpy pop songs, and the flash of scenes includes wooden beams being nailed by hammer-wielding construction workers into a large house; a roller coaster soaring through the air at Six Flags America in Largo; children playing on a swing; glowing lights above the Red Star Tavern; and diners at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre.

The Prince George's County Economic Development Corp. and the Visitors and Conference Bureau launched the campaign to attract businesses and tourists to the county.

The three-minute video is used to market the county to retailers and developers. Sixty-second and 30-second versions of the ad will air on local television throughout the summer.

" 'It's a Great Time' gives prospective businesses a flavor of Prince George's County," Kwasi Holman , president and chief executive of the Economic Development Corp., said in a statement.

"We have used it at several conferences and have received positive feedback from businesses." The video also is being used to entice families to hold their reunions in the county.

In addition to the video campaign, the county's Visitors and Conference Bureau recently launched the Family Reunion Sweepstakes, which awards one grand prize of:

? A three-night hotel stay to the winner and 39 guests, and an accompanying hospitality room with light food and beverages.

? Catering services for one reunion dinner, one breakfast buffet and one evening reception.

? A Six Flags America family reunion day, including a reserved picnic area and food and beverages for as many as 40 people, plus park admission for the family.

? A guided cultural tour of Prince George's for as many as 40 people.

? A genealogy workshop.

Families can enter the sweepstakes at http://www.WhereFamiliesComeTogether.com or http://www.sorteodereunionfamiliar.com , a Spanish-language version of the contest Web site.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company