Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Speaking of unsatisfactory visitor experiences: the breakfast at Hotel Harrington sucks

Hotel Harrington
Hotel Harrington depicted in a historic postcard.

After Bike to Work Day festivities ended I had to eat. (I didn't manage to score any food goodies other than some bananas and oranges. By not getting to the line early, I missed out on coffee and bagels. Note to organizers, a two-sided line would go a lot faster.)

There are few options and as we were riding past the Hotel Harrington, a banner promotes their buffet breakfast. We had it. It sucked. (The bread was good.) It was $11. It included coffee and juice, but for the most part the food wasn't very good.

Since the restaurants there mostly cater to people who never come back, they don't have to focus on providing quality eats. (I haven't been there for lunch or dinner, maybe it's better.) I know that the Hotel itself is respected as a good quality comfortable relatively inexpensive place to stay in Downtown Washington.

I don't know how to do it, but the city "destination marketing organization" (the local convention and visitors bureau, here called Destination DC) ought to do "mystery shopper" visits to places like this and with the results, encourage the owners and operators to do a better job--these are the experiences that many people take away with them when they visit the city.

We ought to do better by our visitors.

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