A Shirlington hotel is set for some major renovations, which are set to start later this summer.
The Hilton Garden Inn Shirlington at 4271 Campbell Ave will receive a refresh worth tens of millions of dollars. The bulk of the work is set to begin on July 30 and is expected to take until October to complete.
General manager Christopher Ng said the entire lobby will get new furniture, as will the bar and restaurant, the convenience store and all 143 guest rooms. Ng said that virtually everything “not nailed to the wall” will get a refresh, including guest beds, televisions and wall tiles.
Already, the hotel’s swimming pool and spa have been resurfaced, with Ng anticipating they will reopen for guest use next week.
Ng said the refresh is typical industry practice, and allows the Hilton Garden Inn to keep up with standards from its corporate office too.
“A renovation or a refresh every seven to eight years is really what the industry standard calls for, and we felt that it was really time for us,” Ng said. “Don’t get me wrong, the property is in fantastic condition compared to other properties that I’ve been to in Arlington and other cities that I’ve worked in, it just needs a little refresh.”
Ng acknowledged that the hotel has an “aggressive timeline” for its work, but said if the county approves the permits for construction, it can be achieved.
Anyone looking to stay in the hotel may find a guest room harder to come by while they are updated. But Ng said there should be minimal disruption to anyone staying in the hotel during construction, which will be staggered from floor to floor.
“The great thing about our hotel, when it was built it was built as a LEED property and the owners wanted to be very conscious of the environment and also build a hotel that would be… made to go through a renovation,” he said.
The Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City showed off some of its recently-completed renovations yesterday.
The nearly 600-room hotel figures prominently into Arlington’s hospitality industry, hosting tourists, business travelers and large meetings.
Major upgrades were made to the guest rooms, imparting a more modern design and moving away from the hotel’s red and gold color scheme to a royal blue one.
Behind the renovation is general manager Regan Linke, who worked as a bartender when the hotel first opened in 1982.
“I came back about five years ago and the hotel was in need of some renovation,” said Linke.
The remodel also included the addition of the new M Club Lounge for Gold and Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards members. The 24-hour lounge area has coffee, snacks and wine for members.
The rest of the lobby will be completed later this year.
The hotel also gave a taste of its new restaurant 15th & Eads, named after the intersection it sits on. Included were mixed drinks served in mason jars, a selection of flatbread pizza, sliced meats and cheeses and made-to-order samples of New York strip steak.
It also follows a trend for the area, which has undergone significant changes within the last year, including a slew of new restaurants, businesses and the Transitway bus system and its new dedicated lanes in the neighborhood.
“It matches what happening in Crystal City,” Linke said. “Crystal Drive is expanded with restaurants. We’re attached to Metro and so everybody’s really thrilled about what’s happening at the hotel.”
High School Proposals on the Table in June — A pair of proposals for adding high school seats are on the table at Arlington School Board meetings next month. The board is expected to approve a $3.6 million construction contract for adding 300 seats to Wakefield High School, while Superintendent Patrick Murphy will recommend the board approve a “hybrid” option for adding another 1,300 seats, with 600 seats at the Education Center site near Washington-Lee and 700 at the Arlington Career Center. Despite the added capacity, Murphy expects that it will eventually be necessary to build a new 2,200 seat comprehensive high school to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Marriott’s Longest-Standing Employee Is in Crystal City — Cecil Exum, a 79-year-old omelette maker at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, is Marriott’s longest-standing employee. He’s been with the company for 61 years, since the Marriott family ran a “Hot Shoppes” root beer stand and opened its first hotel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington. [Washington Post]
POTUS at ANC on Memorial Day — “President Donald Trump honored those who lost their lives serving the nation as he participated in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Monday and told emotional stories of just a few who perished.” [Daily Mail]
Cars Towed During Clarendon Memorial Day Ceremony — Some veterans attending the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the war memorial in Clarendon reportedly had their cars towed from a bank parking lot nearby. Del. Patrick Hope (D) tweeted photos of the cars being towed and called it “disgusting.” He directed the tweet at Del. Tim Hugo (R), the sponsor of the bill (now law) that blocked Arlington County from enforcing a “second signature” requirement for certain trespass tows. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
A new wine bar and restaurant is coming to Courthouse.
The new spot, Verre Wine Bar and Restaurant, is located at 2415 Wilson Blvd, on the first floor of the Hyatt Place hotel. It is set to open this spring, according to developer Schupp Cos.
According to permit applications filed with the county, its 1,300 square feet of space will include 50 indoor bar and restaurant seats and space for 37 outdoor seats.
The 168-room Hyatt Place opened ahead of schedule last year.
Update on New Hotel Near Rosslyn — A new Homewood Suites hotel being built near Rosslyn recently celebrated its “topping out.” The 11-story hotel, which replaced the former Colony House Furniture store, is expected to be completed by early 2018. [Commercial Property Executive]
Gov. Recommends Changes to Towing Bill — Gov. Terry McAuliffe has sent a trespass towing bill back to the General Assembly with significant recommended changes. The bill in its current form would raise towing fees in Northern Virginia and prohibit Arlington from enacting its new “second signature” requirement on tows during business hours. [InsideNova]
Hospitality Workers Lauded — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce held its 13th annual Hospitality Awards on Tuesday. From a press release: “One winner, Fayssal Samaka of the The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City once checked in a family at the hotel, when he overheard that the father was recovering from cancer. Samaka arranged for the family to stay in the Presidential Suite and even booked them a tour. A few months later, the family informed the general manager that the father had passed away, and because the last trip they took together as a family was at The Ritz-Carlton, they would come back every year on vacation.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Project Explores Arlington Communities — A just-submitted doctoral dissertation examines “the processes of community development, suburbanization, and segregation that Arlingtonians, black and white, used to create lasting communities that met their own needs and reflected their own preferences.” The project’s exhibits include the local history of government housing during World War II, Arlington’s historically black communities, and the history of the American Nazi Party in the county. [Built By the People Themselves]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
Police requested the bomb squad respond to the hotel, at 1400 Jefferson Davis Highway, just before 5:45 p.m. to investigate several suspicious packages. Additional fire department units were requested to the scene around 6 p.m.
Police were initially called to the hotel for a suspicious person.
“There was a report [that a] male subject was acting suspiciously,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “He had left the scene prior to police arrival.”
The man “left some packages behind in a hotel room,” Savage said. “In an abundance of caution, the ACFD Bomb Squad is going to investigate the packages.”
Update at 7:20 p.m. — The scene has been cleared, police said via Twitter.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) January 24, 2017
Struggling Skyline Sold — Vornado has taken its properties in Skyline off of its balance sheet after the 2.6 million-square-foot, half-vacant complex sold at a foreclosure auction last week. The cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar project would have run to Skyline, with Fairfax County set to pay 20 percent of the project’s cost. [Washington Business Journal]
More on ‘Pop-Up’ Hotel — The inauguration will be the big test for WhyHotel, the “pop-up” hotel in the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. Developer Vornado sees this as an experiment that could yield temporary revenue while a building is leased up. Arlington County planning commissioner Erik Gutshall says the county could benefit from additional tax revenue and a more lively streetscape. [Washington Post]
Arlington = NYE Destination? — Travelers coming to the D.C. area for New Year’s Eve should consider staying in Arlington due to its proximity to the District and lower hotel rates, says an article on “last minute deals for New Year’s Eve hotels.” [Travel + Leisure]
Transracial Adoption in Arlington — Arlington is “a fantastic community in which to raise a transracially blended family,” says the father of (now grown) adopted children from Vietnam, Sri Lanka and India. [Arlington Magazine]
Clarendon Post Office Murals — A local man has written a 44-page book on the artist who painted seven New Deal-era murals in the Clarendon post office. [Washington Post]
Reporting Issues to the County — Arlington County is reminding residents that they can report out-of-sync traffic signals, crosswalks with broken buttons and other non-emergency service requests via an online form. [Twitter]
Two Arrested for McD’s Beating — Arlington County Police have arrested two men for the beating of a 17-year-old boy at a McDonald’s on Lee Highway last week. The victim’s mother said she “believes the attack is payback for her son reporting a crime against him months ago.” [Fox 5]
Ray’s Files for Bankruptcy — The parent company of Ray’s The Steaks has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in two years. Owner Michael Landrum says Ray’s is in no danger of closing, however. [Washington Business Journal]
Rosslyn Hyatt Changes Branding — The Hyatt hotel on Wilson Blvd is now the first “Hyatt Centric” in the Mid-Atlantic region. Hyatt Centric is described as “a full-service brand that aims to attract a younger traveler, as well as to engage more with the neighborhood in which the hotels are located.” [Washington Business Journal]
‘Pop-Up Hotel’ Opening in January — “WhyHotel” is the new name of a “pop-up hotel” in the Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. Starting in January, the hotel will offer 50 unleased, furnished apartments as hotel rooms. Although most of the building is leased, owner Vornado is experimenting with “WhyHotel” as a way to monetize new apartment buildings during the lease-up period. [Washington Business Journal]
School Board Responds to Student’s Letter — Arlington School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren has responded to an open letter published in the Washington-Lee Crossed Sabres student newspaper. The letter, which was widely shared across social media, took the school board to task for approving high school boundary refinements that were seemingly antithetical to APS’ diversity goals. Without addressing the diversity issue, Van Doren defended the process and encouraged students to participate in future high school boundary decisions. [PDF]
County Board Approves Polling Place Changes — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved a number of precinct and polling place changes, to take effect in time for next year’s elections. [Arlington County]
Memorial Bridge Worries — The deteriorating Memorial Bridge can’t handle heavy support traffic for the presidential inauguration next month, officials said in a briefing yesterday, according to reported Tom Sherwood. Such traffic will use the 14th Street Bridge instead. [Twitter]
Wreaths for Every Grave at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — “Wreaths Across America announced Wednesday it has reached its goal to place about 245,000 wreaths in the cemetery ‘thanks to an outpouring of support.’ Earlier this week, the organization had said it was about 10,000 wreaths short of its goal.” [WTOP]
Arlington dignitaries were on hand for a ribbon cutting and champagne ceremony at the new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel in Courthouse Thursday afternoon.
In addition to rooms with modern furnishings and comfy beds, the hotel, at 2401 Wilson Blvd, features a 24-hour gym, 24-hour meal service, free hotel-wide WiFi and a “coffee to cocktails bar.”
There’s also a curated art collection in the lobby and a newly-unveiled original sculpture — of a stylized, blue high heel shoe that doubles as a bench — outside, at the corner of Wilson and N. Adams Street.
At the ceremony, officials lauded the hotel as an economic asset for Arlington that was built with the support of local residents, thanks to a focus on public outreach by developer Schupp Companies.
The shots were fired during a fight between two groups outside the Doubletree hotel on Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City.
No one was hurt and so far no arrests have been made, according to police.
From the crime report:
DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM, 160925005, 300 block of S. Army Navy Drive. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on September 25, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. The investigation revealed a physical confrontation between two groups had ensued and one male subject discharged a firearm several times into the air. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’2″ tall and wearing a black cap, light blue shirt, and blue jeans. There were no injuries reported.
Bin 1700, a restaurant and lounge inside the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City, is currently undergoing renovations.
Numerous workers could be seen working inside the demolished and under-construction space Thursday afternoon.
It’s unclear what exactly will be replacing the restaurant, though county permits indicate that the work is part of a larger interior renovation of the hotel’s lobby, common areas, hallways and rooms.
Bin 1700’s only two Yelp reviews describe a fairly middle-of-the-road restaurant that primarily served hotel guests.
A brand new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel opened in Courthouse last week.
Among other features, the hotel has a curated art collection in the lobby and outside at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street, “for passersby to enjoy.”
From a Hyatt press release:
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is officially open in Arlington, Va. The hotel features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings. Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse
Plaza is owned by Schupp Companies, a real estate development company, and is operated and managed by LodgeWorks Partners, L.P.
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is nearby a variety of restaurant, shopping and entertainment options. The hotel is two blocks away from the Courthouse Metro stop and close to major Washington D.C. attractions, including the White House, the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery. With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, the property is a unique place designed around today’s modern traveler.
Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse/Plaza offers:
- 168 spacious guestrooms, all of which feature a swiveling 42-inch HDTV, the plush Hyatt Grand Bed® and Cozy Corner sectional sofa – all with separate spaces to sleep, work and play
- Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
- Complimentary a.m. Kitchen Skillet™, a free hot breakfast for guests available daily in the Gallery Kitchen, features hot breakfast items, fresh fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, fresh-baked pastries, premium coffee, an assortment of juices and more
- 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market serving freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night and perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads
- Coffee to Cocktails Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails
- Odds & Ends program for forgotten items that guests can buy, borrow or enjoy for free
- 566 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space and connected to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Conference and Event Center, accommodating up to 200 people for meetings and events
- 24-hour StayFit Gym featuring cardio equipment with LDC touchscreens and free ear buds
- Curated Art Collection with custom-designed pieces that will be featured in the lobby and cascade outside of the hotel onto the sidewalk at the corner of Wilson and Adams for passersby to enjoy
“Arlington is a vibrant community that enjoys both a warm neighborhood feel and an ever-expanding list of must-see places and experiences,” said Ray Schupp, president and owner at Schupp Companies.
“We are fortunate Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is centrally located so guests are just steps away from the best of Arlington. We are confident this hotel will exceed expectations and deliver a memorable experience for all.”
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is under the leadership of General Manager Shiela Shrestha and Director of Sales Nasima Alam. In her role, Shrestha is directly responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel, including overseeing the hotel’s 40 associates and ensuring guests encounter the purposeful service for which the Hyatt Place brand is known. Alam is responsible for providing sales service and support to travelers and meeting planners frequenting the Arlington, Va. area.
Photos courtesy Hyatt
Former Mansion Owner is In Jail — Rodney Hunt, the man who once owned the $23 million Arlington mansion that’s being used to throw large parties (and which was recently sold at a foreclosure auction), is currently in the Arlington County jail. Hunt was ordered to spend 90 days in jail earlier this month for violating his parole. An attorney says Hunt doesn’t know anything about the parties. [Washington Post]
Tourists Can’t Handle the Heat at the Cemetery — Anytime it gets sufficiently toasty outside, medical calls to Arlington National Cemetery become frequent. Tourists at the cemetery regularly suffer heat-related ailments that require paramedic dispatches during the summer. The cemetery is advising visitors to wear sunscreen and bring a bottle of water during the warm weather months. [Twitter]
Airbnb Is Costing Arlington Tax Revenue — Arlington County has yet to figure out a good way to get those renting out their homes on Airbnb to pay the county’s 5.25 percent lodging tax, which is paid by hotels and should be paid by Airbnb hosts. “Very few of the folks who should be paying taxes have stepped up to fork over the money,” reports Michael Pope. [WVTF]
Art Murals in Crystal City — Crystal City has more than two dozen outdoor art murals, implemented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District. The murals are part of an effort to “visually revitalize the area,” which is noted for being something of a concrete canyon. [Curbed]
Teacher Salaries By School — A list shows the average teacher salary, by school, at Arlington Public Schools. Topping the list is Kenmore Middle School, at $80,411. At the bottom of the list is the Arlington Mill high school program, at $61,731. [Patch]
APS Finance Chief Wins Award — Leslie Peterson, the assistant superintendent for finance and management at Arlington Public Schools, is one of three officials in the U.S. to receive the 2016 Pinnacle of Achievement Award from the Association of School Business Officials International. [InsideNova]
Amtrak Police Chief Shared Apartment With ‘Alleged Boyfriend’ — Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson, who’s under investigation for fraud and conflict of interest, reportedly shared an Arlington apartment with her “alleged boyfriend,” a senior director at a contractor that Amtrak hired under Hanson’s supervision. The two also are said to have co-owned a condo in Dewey Beach, Del. [Washington Post]
NAACP Wants War Memorial Plaque Changed — The Arlington chapter of the NAACP wants a plaque on the war memorial in Clarendon updated. The plaque lists Arlingtonians killed in World War I, but separates two “colored” military members from the rest of the local war dead. The NAACP says it would like to get the plaque removed and replaced. “We owe it to those who fought and died,” said local NAACP president Karen Nightengale. [InsideNova]
Two Restaurant Chains Coming to Arlington — Two regional franchise operators have signed agreements that will bring two expanding restaurant chains to Arlington. A former Domino’s Pizza franchisee is planning to open an Arlington location of Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza, in addition to locations elsewhere in Northern Virginia. Meanwhile a Five Guys franchisee says it will be opening 10 Newk’s Eatery locations in Arlington and Fairfax counties. The Mississippi-based soup, salad, sandwich and pizza chain is big in the Southeast U.S., with more than 100 locations in 13 states and an aggressive expansion plan. [WTOP, Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Hotels Hacked — Two Arlington hotels have reportedly had their payment systems compromised by hackers. HEI Hotels and Resorts says malware was found on its systems at 20 hotels, including the Le Meridien in Rosslyn and the Sheraton Pentagon City on Columbia Pike. The hack potentially exposed the credit card information of hotel guests and customers. [Associated Press]
Pokemon Go at the Pentagon — Department of Defense officials have put the kibosh on DoD employees playing Pokemon Go on government phones, citing concerns about the game tracking the movement of its employees. The DoD has also reportedly told Pentagon employees to only play the game outside of the building. A Pokemon “gym” inside the Pentagon has been removed. [The Guardian, Twitter]
Bethesda Man Bought $1 Million Lottery Ticket in Arlington — The $1 million-winning Powerball ticket that was sold at a Ballston 7-Eleven store last month was sold to a Bethesda resident. Larry Elpiner says he plans to “share his winnings with family and friends,” in addition to paying for his daughter’s college education. [WUSA 9]
Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman