- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

The Hamilton Crowne Plaza is catering to female travelers with their own floor. The 318-room hotel, located at the corner of 14th and K streets NW, has blocked off one 29-room floor dedictating it entirely to women. As more women go on business trips, hotels are looking for ways to serve them and make women feel secure while traveling.
"After 9/11, security and safety were a huge issue," says Ralph Polanec, the hotel's general manager. For security purposes he would not disclose which floor is set aside exclusively for women.
About 38 percent of Hamilton Crowne Plaza's guests are women, Mr. Polanec says.
The rooms have a personal female touch with women's magazines, special soaps and fresh flowers. The floor has private access for women only. When a female guest on that floor checks in, she is given a hand-written note with her room number and the keys never indicate her room number. Rooms on the all-female floor do not cost any more than a regular room, which ranges from $179 to $229 a night.
The Hamilton Crowne Plaza is currently giving its lobby a make-over as part of its $6 million renovation of the entire hotel. All of the rooms were renovated last year.


D.C. visits N.Y.
The District's tourism and hospitality industry is heading to New York to woo travel journalists.
The event, called "Washington, D.C. after dark," is an effort to get the media aware of what the District's night life has to offer from theater shows to museum exhibits.
The Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corp. (WCTC) is partnering with nearly 20 local groups from the Washington Convention Center Authority and the DC Heritage Tourism Coalition to the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Shakespeare Theatre.
The city has invited between 300 and 400 people and expects as many as 100 journalists to attend the Feb. 26 event, says Victoria Isley, WCTC's vice president of marketing and communications.

Marriott.com adds new features
Marriott International Inc. has added features to its Web site that allows online visitors to design their own travel packages, book last-minute weekend getaways and search for the availability of specific rates up to one year in advance.
More than 60 percent of reservations on www.marriott.com are made less than two weeks before the trip, so Marriott is offering additional last-minute planning features like hotel rooms, airline tickets and car rentals.
Marriott is also allowing travelers to search for specific discount rates nearly one year in advance so they can plan their trips based on the price they are looking for.
In 2002 Marriott's Web site generated more than $1 billion in gross sales nearly a seven-fold increase since 1999, the company says. More than 75 percent of all Marriott rooms booked on the Internet are reserved through marriott.com rather than through other travel sites.

Retail in Rockville
Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is moving into the new Congressional Village Shopping Center in Rockville. The 25,944-square-foot store, which offers camping, biking and outdoor-related sporting goods equipment, is scheduled to open in fall 2004, says Philip Ruxton, a principal at KLNB Retail. KLNB represents the Cohen Cos., which is the property's landlord.
Congressional Village Shopping Center, formerly known as Congressional South Shopping Center, will have just about 100,000 square feet of retail space.
Got news? Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.

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