The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is getting ready for something of a second grand opening Thursday after it closed in March of last year because of the pandemic.
It was 2008 when the resort first opened on the Oxon Hill shore of the Potomac. The atrium, with its homage to local history and breathtaking views over the terrace to the Potomac, may be a destination once more.
A year without guests allowed the resort to speed up planned renovations on the 1,996 rooms and suites. Changes have been made to the roof as well.
Jennifer Cerasani, the director of marketing and public relations, said the renovations have followed the science.
“We have done upgrades to our HVAC. We have rigorous deep-cleaning using hospital-grade chemicals,” she said.
An 80’s themed pop-up called Replay is aimed at opening the venue to more than just guests and conventioneers.
Cerasani said it was the “perfect location, perfect opportunity to bring everyone together and just have fun.”
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At its height before the pandemic, Gaylord National employed upwards of 2,000 people they called “stars.”
Some of those jobs were lost. The resilience of the hospitality sector will dictate how many return.
“As hospitality levels in the region continue to grow, we’ll continue to welcome back new stars as well as to continue to hire new stars to help service our guests,” Cerasani said.
Good news for the resort is also good news for neighboring National Harbor.
The area has been a destination throughout the pandemic, providing plenty of room to social distance. Weekends have been the busiest days.
“We’re looking to build on that weekday activity and I think with Gaylord coming back with some of their groups that’s going to build upon that,” Jackie Saunders, the associate vice president of marketing at the National Harbor, said.
A light show and other activities will ring in the new era for the resort and for the economic picture in Prince George’s County.