I headed to the Gaylord National Hotel yesterday evening for a wedding. It was my second visit to the hotel in the past year or so and I was happy to see that the area was starting to grow a pretty good sized crowd because my initial impression was that even though the space was beautifully construed, its location seemed a bit daunting to me (it is a bit far away from the city) and I found myself initially wondering if it was a sustainable venture. The initial signs seem positive.
Cost – $$$
I was a bit shocked when I dished out $28 for about three hours of valet parking. In fact, the last time I’ve been that surprised at the cost for a service was two years when I was visiting Monaco and found out that I was about to pay 44 euros for two Heinekens. The national waterfront is definitely not Monaco.
Service – B-
I am a bit surprised that the investors would have poured so much money into developing this beautiful establishment but not into developing the staff who works here. I honestly expected a premium level of service through the hotel and felt like they were plucking people off the streets. The service during dinner was apocryphal. They brought out half our dishes and it was about thirty minutes or so until the other half came out. In fact, they were starting to serve dessert by the time all our entrées made their way out.
Food – B
It was decent. The steak might have been much better but having waited until everyone was served (which took thirty minutes as I mentioned) it was a bit cold by the time I bit into it.
Decor – A
It is a beautiful space. The massive window facing onto the harbor is really incredible (especially after a few glasses of wine). It is worth visiting just for the view alone.
Feel – A-
Visually, you feel like you are in a premium establishment but the service detracts from the overall experience at the place. You want to feel like everyone who works their kisses your ass and instead you find yourself wondering if your going to get jumped by the bellhop and kitchen staff. It is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been there and I’d even recommend the venue for work functions or other events (it was a great place to host the wedding). Let’s stay optimistic that they’ll pick up the level of their service.
The Gaylord National Hotel is located at 344 Waterfront Street in Oxon Hill, Maryland. They can be reached at (301) 965-4000.