Saturday, July 9, 2011

Travel Onion Returns with a New Sheraton Hotel Tour

A few weeks ago, Travel Onion, which aggregates and indexes blogs for traveling consumers, had graciously asked me to attend another Sheraton group event which was showcasing two of the hotel's properties in the Washington D.C. region.

Only this time, Sheraton focused the group of bloggers on the path of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project which is laying track and adding Metro stations for the so-called "Silver Line" to Dulles International Airport.

Each hotel provided a tour of their guest spaces and amenities. Their approach - ensure the properties feel “warm, comforting, and connected.”

So escaping the grueling heat and embracing the cool climate controlled hotel lobby, I joined the tour group which was initially dispersed around the bar.

Some folks wrote blogs that primarily focused on food - writers such as Jason Yaskoir of DCFüd and Daphne Domingo of Go Gastronomy (writing for Dining in DC this time). And then there were others such as Kate Michael of K Street Kate and Anita Hattiangadi of Greg's List.

We all began at the Sheraton Premier Hotel near Tyson Corner in Northern Virginia and were later shuttled to the Sheraton Herndon Dulles Airport Hotel just a few miles down the road.

The hosts described the projects within the twenty million dollar renovations that would be happening at the Sheraton Premier before the end of 2012. Major renovations would be occurring ostensibly in anticipation of the completion of the Metrorail project in 2016.

Various elements of the facility will be changing, from the layout of the lobby and restaurant areas all the way down to the design of the furniture in the rooms. Our hosts guided us through the numerous features intended to enhance the guest’s experience such as “grab-n-go” food counters or the pod-style front desk design.

As with the other tours, each hotel greeted us with complimentary food and drinks. We all had an opportunity to chat with the staff and each other as the servers passed out Cosmopolitan-like cocktails called "the Sheratini" (naturally). As I sipped, our hosts listed off the ingredients - citron vodka, Chambord, triple sec, cranberry, and lemon. Platters of hors d'œuvre were passed around for us.

In Herndon, our hosts surveyed the facilities with us, going so far as to adorn a conference room with a banquet of sweets and treats for the bloggers. Bottles of red and white wine were served while Sheraton management conversed with their blogger guests. I indulged in several glasses of the Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio that was being served.

By the end, we were given, among other things, a complimentary bottle of Hob Nob Pinot Noir for our time. For those unfamiliar, Hob Nob is a darker Pinot Nior that wine-amateurs, such as me, tend to enjoy thanks to its sweeter profile.

Both hotel experiences were informative and entertaining. Starwood continues it's push to transform their properties into a different kind of hospitality experience. And as Northern Virginia adjusts to the coming metro expansion, Sheraton is there, ready to give consumers (and commuters) a hotel striving to stay ahead of your expectations.

You can catch my write up on the last Sheraton experience which was posted earlier this year at Dining in DC.

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.

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