I am very happy to be helping to coordinate and manage this year’s CTEC. I was glad to have found a beautiful hotel within a very historic and momentous location…Washington, DC. This year’s Customer Training and Education Conference (CTEC) 2012 will take place at the Washington, Hilton.

Prior to making our final decision to host CTEC at this venue, I went to visit the hotel in order to ensure it would meet our needs and expectations. It was a beautiful time to visit as the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom!

While approaching the hotel, I could immediately tell there were a lot of very nice restaurants, shops and even night clubs on the local streets! Upon entering the hotel lobby the TDL Bar was to my right, inclusive of free Wi-Fi and lots of seating and outlets to charge your cell phone, lab-top and other devices…very handy for a ‘techy’ conference. Further to my right was McClellan’s Sports Bar. The menu featured some very tasty sounding drinks and their Kobe beef burger was one of the best I’ve ever had! The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shop was straight ahead (very similar to that of my local and very popular Starbucks). I was treated to a blended, dark mocha, iced coffee that was delicious. To my immediate left were glass drink dispensers of complimentary fresh mint and cranberry water…a perfect first stop after a long trip on a hot day!

The hotel overall had a very nice, clean, new feeling to it, which I expected after the 150 million dollars in renovations completed in 2010. My room was a Deluxe King with a view of the patio below. The fire pits and waterfall looked awesome from above and when I went down to see this area later at night, I was glad to see several people sitting around the fire on outdoor, cushioned couches. This seemed like a great place to relax and socialize after a long day!

After the tour of the hotel, I was able to see the entire layout of the facility, including the special entrance, elevator, and ballroom, which was used several times a year by the president himself! Most importantly was the conference location, which would be held (in Columbia Hall). What I loved about this area was the way that it allowed for all of our required rooms to be right together. The breakfast and lunch rooms were connected to the main plenary session and the training, demo and  consultation rooms were all directly across the hall. I felt this would drastically reduce confusion which can easily happen when large events like this are too spread out.

There is certainly lots of opportunity to try new foods in this area! The local Restaurant List that I received from the hotel was impressively extensive. The eclecticism of local restaurants ranged from American, Brazilian and Chinese to Greek, Indian and even Turkish. I was treated to a local Latin-Asian, tapas-style restaurant, Masa 14. The atmosphere was modern and clearly, very popular. The food was very unique and different! The liquor selection at  the bar was one of the most extensive I’ve ever seen. I tried Wok Seared Cauliflower (famous at this restaurant), Mole Dusted Tenderloin Medallion, and Ancho-Smoked Salmon Noodle Salad…a very delicious assortment. We ended the dinner by cleaning our hands with wipes that grew and expanded from a small, compacted circle once hot water was applied. This was very neat!

Although there are plenty of restaurants around the corner from the hotel, to get a better feel of the local area, I chose to walk both to and from the restaurant which was about 10 blocks away. The surrounding area was very nice! We passed people sitting outside on their patios enjoying dinner and wine by candlelight. Tulips and Cherry Blossom trees, both very common in DC, adorned the yards and sidewalks. The town had a peaceful and safe feel to it.

After my stay at the Hilton, I felt confident that this venue would meet our needs and expectations for CTEC 2012. I was excited at the idea of our customers being able to enjoy the same things that I loved about this place and most importantly that the conference would be held in a hotel that complimented our needs so perfectly and also had a lot to do in the area.

More information on CTEC 2012 is available on our website. More information on the training workshops, agenda and online registration will be available soon. To have any questions about CTEC 2012 answered, please contact Kim Buchanan at CTEC@labvantage.com.

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