One of my professional duties is to plan large binational conferences at various locations around the country. My federal agency held a seminar at the NCC this past week and we were required to stay at here. The agency scuttlebutt was that it was a horrible place to stay.
So with that expectation, I checked in expecting the worst. The important thing to note is, this isn't a hotel. Its a conference center. The distance from the check in desk to your sleeping room is very distant. Lugging your suitcase and other personal gear from your car to the registration to your sleeping room is quite the physical task. Not to mention that the parking lot for your building (there is a north and south building) is also far away. After you get to your room, you are a little in shock over the very austere accommodations. Again...not a hotel. It does have a flat screen TV but the signal is either being bounced from the cable provider, past Mars, then Saturn and then to the NCC.
The entire sleeping room section is hard a first to comprehend. They use a digital numbering system with State names for hallways and throw in some color combinations to identify sections of the hotel. It takes a good half day to remember how to find your way back to your hotel. Then you start to experiment with alternate paths to find your way. Eventually, you master where everything is and its not an issue. If you have any physical limitations (I have a hard time with steps) ask to be located next to/near an elevator.
The really nice thing about this place is the networking opportunities that it facilitates. Most professional conferences you attend you go to network. This location is perhaps the best place I have ever been to for that purpose. The center has a nice cafeteria with a very wide range of food choices. I am on the Dukan Diet so finding food choices to stay on my diet was very easy. You can have all you want and the food is always well prepared. No its not a four star restaurant, but its good and I never heard anyone complain about it being bad.
The exercise facility was good. If you are a free weight user you will really like it but I just use the treadmill and the ones they had were not the top of the line ones you see at most legacy hotels. They also don't provide towels to use which calls in to question any germs that stay behind on the equipment.
This is a special purpose conference center. It had excellent facilities for large, medium, and small break out rooms. The sleeping rooms are sparse, but I can say very comfortable. The room has a heating/cooling unit that works well....sometimes too well as you get cold...but that is better than one that sounds loud and doesn't work at all.
If you are planning on having a large conference and want to keep your participants focused this is the place. People are reluctant to leave the facility and that increases/maximizes the networking opportunities for your participants.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The National Conference Center focuses on one thing: hosting meetings, conferences and training. So whether you need to engage and inspire 18 or 1800, count on The National to provide great learning facilities and a green operation, along with an experienced conference staff and event planners to create an exceptional experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The National Hotel Leesburg