My group and I stayed at the Marquis the first year Otakon was in DC, and last year we stayed at the Renaissance. Now that we stayed at both, we were bouncing back and forth about which one to book for 2019. We ultimately decided on the Renaissance. Here's why:
+ Tunnel directly into the con (wonderful to not walk outside all weekend in the heat or if it rains)
+ Room was clean and decently sized
+ Easy access to our room on the 2nd floor with a separate staircase so we could avoid the elevator
+ Mini fridge
- No microwave
- Our two rooms were nearby but did not connect (made coordinating plans and food harder)
- Room was noisy from atrium
- Hotel room walls seemed thin (my sister could here people partying pretty late in the room next to her)
- Staff couldn't quite handle luggage storage on Sunday
- Valet was EXPENSIVE (we arrived VERY late Thursday and hadn't used a parking reservation app before, so I bit the bullet but wouldn't do that again)
+ King bed rooms connect (I rarely ever see this. It's usually a king room connecting to a double bed room - this was a huge plus to us)
+ Large countertop in the room (TV was hung on the "wall" freeing up valuable space) with a place to eat at the end (this may seem silly but we bring most of our food -- breakfasts, snacks, sandwich ingredients, beverages, dessert -- so having somewhere to organize it all and not have it on the floor is a great convenience for my group)
+ Quiet rooms (didn't hear a peep the whole time)
+ Staff was friendly and baggage hold was a breeze
+ Full-length mirror outside of bathroom
+ Room had an office chair on one end of the counter and a loveseat with coffee table near the windows, perfect for when we ate without getting food on the bed
+ Booked parking via Spot Hero about 4 blocks away and it was a breeze
+ Mini fridge
- No microwave (BUT as we checked our bags on Sunday to be held in the 2nd floor conference room, we saw about 5 microwaves lined up on carts - not sure if they were for public use. We will definitely ask about those next year....game changer!)
- Had to walk outside in the humidity in full cosplays and it was raining on Sunday after the con ended
- No anime-themed decor in the lobby in 2018 (was bummed about this since I was excited to see it from what I heard they did in 2017...here's hoping it's back for 2019!)
- Starbucks was very rattled the only time we visited (Sunday morning). Not sure how an eatery in a convention center hotel is unable to handle an large influx of patrons...
As you can see, at least for our group of four, the Renaissance wins hands down. Of course, every group's needs are different but what honestly sold me was the connecting king rooms and the extra counter space. Plus it's a short block away...can't beat that!
Also.... A tip for anyone using Spot Hero or Parking Panda reservations who may not be familiar.... Don't assume the parking attending knows how to handle pre-paid parking reservations. We arrived after our starting time and departed almost two hours before our departure time, and the attendant asked how much I paid. He honestly doesn't need to know how much I paid, so I didn't provide that information at first. He asked several more times before I finally answered. He insisted we were there multiple days. I agreed and reiterated that it was included in our reservation and we were leaving before our cutoff time, plus it was paid in full. He muttered something and finally let us leave. After we left, my husband (who was driving; I was in the passenger seat) told me he saw the attendant trying to calculate the price difference between what I paid on Spot Hero and their daily full-price rate, as if he'd try to charge us the difference. If you arrive and leave within your allotted time, DON'T FALL FOR IT!
I hope this helps anyone wondering between the Marquis and Renaissance who haven't stayed there before.