WASHINGTON - The Marriott Residence Inn at 333 E St. S.W. is only a couple of blocks away from the National Museum of the American Indian, making it a convenient spot to stay if you're attending the National Powwow. But what makes it even more interesting is the fact that it was developed by a consortium of four Indian tribes.
The Four Fires project made history when it was announced in 2002 at the National Press Club by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (California), the Forest County Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin, the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians of California.
It wasn't news that tribes were developing a hotel, since many of them have done so in conjunction with casino projects. But this project was the first to be developed as a general economic development project between multiple tribes from different states involving a project not on any of their tribal lands, in the interest of diversifying their economic bases.
The $43 million project broke ground in March 2003 and officially opened for business in March 2005. The tribes clearly had in mind a tie-in with the new NMAI site that is now open in Washington (a second NMAI site opened earlier in New York City).
According to its developer, the Donohoe Development Co. of Washington, the hotel was designed to reflect its Indian ties. The ground-floor material of the hotel was the same material and color palette as NMAI, and display box space was provided for relevant information about each of the four tribes in the lobby.
The tribes are 56 percent owners of the hotel, with the rest of the equity coming from Donohoe and other investors, according to a 2004 Indian Country Today report on the development.
BBG-BBGM of Washington, New York and Scottsdale, Ariz., was the architect for the 13-floor ''extended stay'' hotel.
Both the Oneida and Forest County tribes had previously developed hotels on their respective homelands.
According to the San Manuel tribe, the Four Fires partnership ''serves as an economic model, benefiting other tribes interested in working together to strengthen efforts and diversify their economies, and represents the largest business investment collaboration for American Indian tribes in history.''
According to an ICT web search in late July, the hotel was still available for the nights of the National Powwow (Aug. 10 - 12) at a nightly price of $142 for a studio, $151 for a one-bedroom suite, and $329 for a two-bedroom suite. There are a total of 223 suites in the hotel, plus six rooms of meeting space totaling 4,760 square feet.
The hotel is five miles from Reagan National Airport and charges an additional $30 per day to park if you're driving down (there are 100 spaces in its underground garage). It allows service animals and pets, but will charge you $200 if it has to clean up a mess.
High-speed Internet access includes both wired and wireless in public areas - wired in guest rooms, and wireless in meeting rooms.
As is customary in an extended stay hotel, the suites include kitchen amenities like a dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, dishes and silverware.
In addition, it has a business center and fitness center.
Breakfast is included in the price, phone calls are toll-free, and there is a free evening reception for guests as well.