Gaylord's New Mega Facility Finally Under Way

Gaylord Hotels first revealed its plans to build one of its trademark, colossal convention hotels in the Washington, D.C., suburbs back in 1999. Now, ground finally has been broken on what will be the largest combined hotel-convention center on the East Coast.

The $565 million Gaylord National, in Prince George's County, Md., will have 1,500 guestrooms, more than 400,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, and a 17-story glass atrium. Retail shopping, three restaurants, a nightclub atop the tower, a private marina and a 20,000-square-foot full-service spa will be among the amenities.

The opening is eyed for March 2008.

Most of the meeting space will be located in the convention center, which will be a separate edifice connected to the hotel. There, two ballrooms of 50,000 and 31,306 square feet, a 180,000-square-foot exhibition hall and 39 meeting rooms will be spread over three floors.

The Gaylord National will be located along the Potomac River within National Harbor, a new 300-acre community with more than 30 restaurants, exclusive shopping, entertainment venues, a full-service marina, and office and residential space.

By the end of this year's first quarter, Gaylord already had booked 135,000 definite room nights, or three month's worth of 100 percent occupancy.