Security Musings

Security Musings

Excellent Conference Hotels

SANS is always looking for the best in conference hotels - Stephen Northcutt describes some of them.

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The Marriott Wardman Park is my favorite Washington DC conference hotel


By Stephen Northcutt
If you are running a conference event in Washington DC, and you do not need the downtown convention center, consider Northwest DC and, in particular, the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel. It is big and luxurious, providing 1335 guest rooms and an unheard of 145 VIP suites; so, if you have any room pickup at all, you can arrange for your VIP to get a "presidential" suite. The food and beverage team will work with you to give your guests a positive break experience within your budget. There are two restaurants on property, Harry's Pub (my favorite) and also Stone's throw, a steakhouse type place. The Starbucks has closed, but they have upgraded Lillys, an internal coffee shop.) They have the best meeting room layout in the area and can accommodate a fairly large event; we have run 18 tracks. The hotel even throws in special greeters to help your guests find their meeting room, a nice touch with 173,000 sq. feet of meeting space. If your meeting has a lot of transportation needs, no problem, they have a separate bus entrance. The SANS Institute has run over 50 events in the Washington DC area since year 2000 and this is my favorite property. Here are the particulars:

  • 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20008 USA
  • Phone: 1-202-328-2000, Sales: 1-202-328-2950 ext. 2950
  • Fax: 1-202-234-0015
Northwest DC, in general, is a good location for a conference. It is clean and safe, and the three major conference hotels in the area remain booked. An alternate to the Marriott is the Omni Shoreham: it is smaller in terms of rooms and event space, and the sales team is harder to work with, but both hotels share the same set of neighborhood shops. With either the Marriott or the Omni, you have markets, dry cleaners, tailors, wine and liquor shops, and plenty of restaurants ranging from McDonald's to fine ethnic offferings. Both properties are just minutes from the National Zoo and National Cathedral and are served by the Woodley Park Metro stop on the red line; the Mariott's Wardman tower is literally on top of the elevator entrance to the Metro. To make contact with the Omni:
  • 2500 Calvert Street NW (at Connecticut Ave.), Washington, District of Columbia 20008
  • Phone: (202) 234-0700
  • Fax: (202) 265-7972
Down the hill a bit is the third significant Northwest DC hotel meeting property, the Hilton Embassy Row. Just above Dupont Circle, the city is alive; this area is one of the best places to get a haircut (trust me) on planet Earth. During the summer, the Hilton often sports the best "pool scene" hotel of the three properties. While I feel that dollar for dollar and room for room, the Marriott Wardman is the best DC hotel for conferences, we have run many events at the Hilton and I love the property. It is the location where the Hinckley shooting of President Reagan occurred. There are special presidential facilities inside and one time the class I was teaching was located next to the ready room; so, my claim to fame in life is to have visted the presidential potty. The Hilton is served by the Dupont Circle Metro stop on the red line, though it is a bit of a hike. Details for the Hilton:
  • 2015 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, District of Columbia, United States 20036
  • Tel: 1-202-265-1600
  • Fax: 1-202-328-7526
If you are running a meeting in Washington DC, consider the northwest quadrant of the city. There is less crime and there is a vibrant city culture. All hotels are an easy-to-moderate walk from the Metro Red Line. You have three great properties to choose from, what more could you ask!

NOTE: The author has spent at least 12 days in at least one of each property since year 2000 and receives no finanical compensation of any kind from any of the properties.