Westin at National Harbor
The Westin is located on the waterfront at National Harbor and was one of the first hotels to be built there. The hotel features 195 guest rooms, including five suites, restaurant, a lobby bar, an outdoor plaza, and a seating area. While designing the building and its site features, the Westin’s location adjacent to the River Walk created many challenges. Soltesz had to maintain a flat front surface adjacent to a vertically sloping street right-of-way plus design a loading service area along the only street access. This created visual concerns as the back-of-house area faced the only public street.
The hotel frontage was maintained at a flat grade adjacent to the street by grading techniques that incorporated appropriate curb appeal and no inconvenience to the passing pedestrians. Soltesz designed screen details of the loading docks to reduce the visibility from the main street. The firm also assisted the architects in determining the best method to phase the delivery vehicles' access to the loading docks and the pedestrian traffic crossing in the front of the building. This coordination was key to maintaining the operational needs of the hotel and yet compromising enough to allow pedestrian flow through the heart of the downtown area.