Road warriors: I have some great news to share. You’re invited to join me next Wednesday (May 28, 5 p.m.) at Washington D.C.’s brand spanking new, $520 million Marriott Marquis hotel! Scroll down to RSVP.

This will be the first of an occasional Travel Update Reader Meet-Up, where we’ll bring our online connections to life. Time: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

What’s fun about road warrior/reader meet-ups is that we’ll get to mix and mingle, hear from top hotel or restaurant brass, take a brief tour and geek out about travel. Afterwards, I’ll post a story about our experience on Travel Update! I did similar reader meet-ups while at USA TODAY at the Westin New York Times Square and the Delano South Beach and we learned a lot while having fun.

For Wednesday’s event, the Marriott Marquis will provide a signature cocktail – the “Barbtini.” (Swear this was not my idea!)

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What I especially like about meeting at this hotel is that it’s new – and the media hasn’t fully seen it yet. In fact, I haven’t fully examined the hotel despite having been there last week for a two-day hotel investment conference held in one of the below-ground meeting venues.

Not only is this hotel the newest one in town – but it’s the biggest with 1,175 rooms and a lobby sculpture that is a startling 56 feet tall. Think of it as a mini-city. Other interesting facts:

  • It’s Marriott International’s 4,000th hotel,
  • It’s the chain’s first hotel to open with an experimental room service program where packaged deliver replaces traditional waiter cart service,
  • The building was built starting 130 feet below ground – a first in the city,
  • It has a 6,500-square-foot VIP lounge with Wi-Fi and an outdoor terrace that seats 81 people. (Guessing you’ll definitely want to see this.)
  • Will eventually be one of the USA’s largest LEED Silver certified hotels.

I wish I could invite everyone but that’s not possible. So, what I’ll do is select the first 15 or so of you who RSVP in the comments section below. Once I have your info, I’ll send you the details. Look forward to meeting you and talking travel!

– Barb