It’s time to explore the nation’s capital, the great American city of Washington, DC! Joining Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth for today’s episode is Laura Schofield. Laura is the General Manager of Conrad Washington, DC. She is a second-generation hotelier who grew up around the industry and naturally progressed into becoming a part of it. For today’s show, she talks about the wonderful amenities of the Conrad and why it’s the place to be for corporate groups in the area. Laura also shares her favorite things about Washington and her go-to spots for leisure and corporate travel. Andy and Todd also share their destination favorites, so stay tuned.
Watch the episode here.
Exploring The Great American City of Washington DC with Laura Schofield
Every day is different when you work in hospitality. Explore the great American city of Washington, DC, with today’s guest Laura Schofield. Laura is a second-generation hotelier and the current General Manager of Conrad Washington, DC. Growing up in the industry and seeing the wonderful environment and people allowed her to naturally progress into a career in the hotel space.
The Conrad Washington, DC
Today, Laura joins Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth to share the many attractive amenities available at the Conrad to accommodate travelers from all over.
To start, the hotel offers a beautiful meeting space that is above ground with glass walls. This feature allows for plenty of natural light and a majestic view around the city or into a beautiful park. Located right at the CityCenterDC, the area has easy access to the mixed-use development space with high-end retail stores and wonderful restaurants.
Enjoy quality dining with these options:
Originally founded by James Beard Award and Top Chef finalists Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, it is the signature restaurant of the Conrad. Having been closed due to the pandemic, they are reopening with a new menu at the end of September.
- Summit, The Rooftop
The rooftop bar and lounge offer the most amazing views of the Capitol building, and you can see the Washington monument on clear days. You can relax in the lovely pods of relaxing sofas and bask in the best sunset views in all of Washington, DC. The dining incorporates sustainability efforts with meals often cooked via solar oven. This is just one of the initiatives built into the hotel with others, including collecting rainwater to water the landscaping for the green roof, making it an urban oasis. Their green spaces stretch to two gorgeous terraces on the third floor with trees and rose bushes, perfect for small weddings.
- Sakura Club
The floor of guestrooms and signature suites all have access to the Sakura Club, which offers a full breakfast and dinner. Inspired by the cherry blossoms gifted to Washington, DC, the space can be considered a gift of hospitality to our guests, an intimate private space for them to feel at home. A favorite feature here is the “magic refrigerator,” which they keep stocked so the guests can help themselves with snacks and beverages 24/7.
Laura’s Favorite Spots in Washington
One of Laura’s favorite things about Washington is that it’s a walkable city. All the buildings are created so that nothing will be taller than the Capitol building, which created such an open city with a lot of green space left. She also enjoys going to museums and accessing all these resources at her fingertips for free.
Todd and Andy’s Destination Favorites:
- The Federal Museums from the Smithsonian Institution
There is something for everyone at the Smithsonian, from American historical exhibits, space displays, and the national zoo.
- Ford’s Theatre
Infamously known as the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, it is both a historical monument and a still working theatre producing classical shows and plays.
- United States Botanic Garden
The conservatory has incredible areas with over 65,000 plants. You can meander and bask in the experience alone or enjoy it with the whole family with exhibitions for kids and adults.
- International Spy Museum
This is a must-visit for anyone interested in spy stories and espionage. It traces the history of espionage and offers activities such as Operation Spy, where visitors can take on the role of a covert agent and participate in a one-hour spy simulation.
- Brunch at the Tabbard Inn
An award-winning boutique hotel and the oldest running hotel in DC, this employee-owned venue offers an incredible brunch you can enjoy.
- Smoke and Mirrors Rooftop Bar
The space offers the most amazing views of the US Capitol with an extensive list of original cocktails and a creative menu of dishes. This is also the spot to check out if you want to rub shoulders with some politicians and power players in DC.
Also, check out the two new museums in Washington to get in-depth and immersive knowledge about history. Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
About Laura Schofield
Born in London, England, Laura Schofield began her path to the hospitality industry by living in more than 15 countries spread across Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and North America as part of a hospitality family. A second-generation hotelier passionate about travel, Laura pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Affairs and East Asian Studies at the University of Virginia while spending summers working in the hotel industry in New York City.
With both an interest in international relations and hospitality, Laura inevitably moved to Washington DC. Over the course of over two decades, Laura has held senior management roles with Ritz Carlton, the famed Watergate Hotel, and multiple Starwood properties in Washington DC. Most prominently, Laura spent eleven of her sixteen years with Starwood Hotels as General Manager of the St. Regis Hotel in Washington DC.
Over the course of her tenure at the St Regis, Laura oversaw the transition from Starwood ownership to private corporate ownership, closure of the property for a 16-month renovation, and coordination of the pre-and reopening sales and marketing and public relation activities. Laura was able to drive strong growth throughout her 11 years at the property while maintaining best-in-class associate engagement scores and garnering recognition from Trip Advisor’s Choice Hotel awards, Travel, and Leisure’s World Best Hotel List, Conde Nast’s Gold List, and consistently receiving the Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond Awards.
Laura also served as the General Manager for the Westin Washington DC City Centre. She joined this 410-room property in 2015 upon completion of a major renovation. Charged with re-positioning the hotel in the market, Laura successfully led the team to record business growth and received recognition from Starwood and HEI Hotels and Resorts. In her most recent role, Laura was with Langham Hotels leading the opening team charged with opening Langham’s first lifestyle hotel.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! http://amiwebstaging.wpengine.com/podcast