The Gaylord National in National Harbor (just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC) has reopened and the time off has done it some good!
While many business struggled during the past year, Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center was able to take full advantage of the closed facility to implement an already earmarked $64 million in room renovations.
Although the renovations were scheduled to take place anyway, the resort was able to complete the renovations at a much faster pace as they didn’t have to work around guests.
I’ve stayed at the Gaylord National a few times with my family and we’ve always enjoyed ourselves but, to be honest, the rooms were nothing to write home about. When people would ask me what the rooms were like, I’d smile and say, “Well, it is a convention hotel.”
The meaning is usually clear. The rooms are fine. They’re nice and clean and corporate. Designed for quantity, not necessarily quality.
Having a chance to see the room renovations first hand was one of the reasons I was excited to visit Gaylord National for a taste of their Summer of More program. After touring the rooms, I realized how overdue they were and what a difference it’s made in the vibe of the hotel.
Standard Room at the Gaylord National
Are you ready for this? Fresh, clean and intentional design.
They used a palette of blues, to pull in their connection to the water, namely, the Potomac River just steps from the hotel.
They’ve also incorporated golds and yellows to reflect the beautiful sunsets that can be seen every night over the water.
And finally, you’ll see a copper and penny motif in each room. Not just because they’re fans of Lincoln but because he represents the presidential ties to the area.
And just in case you’re not that impressed with what you’re seeing, let me share a photo of the room we stayed in back in 2017. It was perfectly fine but also perfectly colonial. The new rooms have an updated feel to them.
If you look closely, you’ll see the artwork hanging on the wall that, at a distance, looks like a bunch of candy hearts (to me, anyway). But up close, you’ll see an assortment of Lincoln pennies!
The bathrooms and convenience areas have been updated as well so it’s still highly functional for large groups but has a more modern, clean feel inside.
Guest rooms are available with two queens or one king bed with a standard view (which gives you a window like you see here) or an atrium view, which gives you a small balcony that opens to the fully enclosed atrium.
Executive Suite at the Gaylord National
If you’re traveling with a large group, like a family, and want a little more space, consider one of the over 100 available suites.
I toured a corner Execuite Suite which, like others suites, have a king-sized private bedroom, perfect for mom and dad.
Yes, the doors close but you will still have to share the bathroom. The kids, however, can be remanded to the spacious living room, which has a pull-out sofa, or dining room.
And be sure to look for the penny artwork in here. You’ll see the Lincoln profile surrounded by rainbow pennies. But it’s not until you move to the left of the artwork that everything changes! (Watch my video below to see what I mean!)
And if you have to do a little work (maybe WORK work or maybe just posting your fabulous pictures from the 80s theme Replay rooftop lounge on social media), you have a small desk in the room too.
Summer of More
While Gaylord National welcomes families, couples, conventions, and groups year-round, it’s a special place at the holidays (and one of our regular traditions). But there’s so much to do during the summer, whether it’s walking around National Harbor or just staying inside the Atrium.
You’ll find some of the following activities during Gaylord’s Summer of More:
- Junior Olympic-sized swimming pool or play in the outdoor splash pad overlooking the Potomac River
- Sunrise yoga
- Wildlife Rescue – An Augmented Reality Experience presented by bubly™
- Summer Lights Laser Show
- Potomac Lights
- Tall Tales and Tunes
- Replay at Pose Rooftop
I’d be remiss if I didn’t share pictures of our adventures at Replay, a limited-time 80’s pop-up rooftop lounge that serves as fun family experience by day and an adult hot spot by night.
Up on the 18th floor, you’ll find a fun 80s-themed space with drinks reflecting your favorite 80s movies (and OMG those milkshakes!)
Yes, that’s an Atari! The cocktail menu Show your kids the good old days! PB&J Milkshake Talk to Me Goose cocktail
There’s also a large gaming lounge with old school games like Pong, Pacman, and one of my personal favorites, PINBALL!
I challenged him to pinball… AND WON!
While we didn’t do an overnight stay this time, we had such a good time that we made a promise to come back!
What’s New at the Gaylord National
If you want to see even more about the Summer of More, be sure to check out my video of What’s New at the Gaylord National.