Washington hotels have been getting makeovers in recent months to keep up with the crop of new properties opening in the area. Among the latest: the Mayflower Renaissance Washington, which is preparing to embark on a $20 million renovation of all 657 guest rooms.
The overhaul, which begins in in mid-October, is expected to be completed by mid-March. The hotel plans to remain open during renovations.
Built in 1925, the Mayflower has been a prominent fixture downtown. Capital Business caught up with the hotel’s general manager, John Montano, to talk about what’s changed in the hotel industry in recent years, and how the Mayflower is hoping to keep up.
It’s been about 10 years since the Mayflower’s last renovation. Why now, and what are you hoping to accomplish with the updates?
The market’s really changed since the last renovation. There have been big changes in the quality of guest rooms [in the Washington area] with the arrival of newer hotels. A lot of hotels have done renovations recently, and it’s time for us to refresh as well.
In terms of timing, it’s a quieter time of year to do the renovations. This is the second leg of a major renovation, which started two and a half years ago with the renovation of the lobby and the restaurant. This is among the final stages of the total hotel being complete.
As part of the lobby and restaurant renovations, the Mayflower recently consolidated three eateries into one, Edgar Bar & Kitchen. What prompted that change?
Most hotels today only have one food and beverage operation. With the explosion of restaurants in D.C., it’s become very competitive. Most guests like to get out every once in a while, so it’s not as important to have multiple restaurants and bars.
What are some of the changes we’ll see in guest rooms? What travel trends are you hoping to cater to?
The rooms will be dedicated to the next generation of travelers. For example, a lot of travelers don’t like to work at a designated desk anymore. Each room will have chaise couches with tables, where you can sit down with your laptop. There will be more outlets, more USB ports by the night stands, additional lighting. We will still have desks, but they will be smaller.
We’re keeping the chandeliers, though. We want to maintain that old-world elegance while updating the carpet, vinyl and lighting.
What about the hotel’s ballrooms and events spaces? Are people looking for different functionality when it comes to meetings or weddings?
No. We’ve had weddings where the young brides have mentioned that their grandparents got married here. That’s part of the Mayflower’s charm, and we want to continue that legacy and that history. Nothing has really changed in that respect.
Also, our meeting and ballroom spaces are not typical of what you would see in some of the new hotels where all of the meeting rooms look alike. We have very unique balconies, staircases, chandeliers that help this hotel stand out. We want to preserve that.
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