[Disclosure statement: As of the time of this writing, I have no direct affiliation with DC Zouk Festival other than being a loyal yearly attendee and Sami being a personal friend of mine. As of the time of this writing, I have no direct affiliation with DC Swing Fling. I have not been hired to promote either festival in any way, and everything you read is my objective advice. As of the time of this writing, I am not directly affiliated with nor have been hired by the Hyatt Regency Dulles or any other companies or organizations whose services I mention in this article – everything you read from me regarding these companies is my objective advice. Any advice in this blog does not constitute legal or medical advice and is provided as is with no liability to #FrugalCongressLife or the author.]
For yet another new series on #FrugalCongressLife, I will be writing a guide to specific hotels that are home to two or more dance congresses or festivals as of the time of writing.
The first such hotel I will be covering is the Hyatt Regency Dulles, a beautiful and large-scale airport conference hotel located near Dulles International Airport in Herndon, VA, an outer suburb of Washington, DC located about an hour’s drive northwest of the city. The Hyatt Regency Dulles is home to both this year’s DC Swing Fling (8/9/2018 – 8/12/2018), a swing dance festival coming up in about three weeks, and the 2019 DC Zouk Festival (6/6/2019 – 6/10/2019), the DC area’s flagship Brazilian zouk festival, which also features kizomba, bachata, and, new for 2019, west coast swing. The DC Zouk Festival, organized by DC-based promoter and DJ Sami Selo Ahmed, is returning to Dulles in 2019 after outgrowing its new downtown DC venue this year. The Hyatt Regency Dulles will be home to the largest dedicated Brazilian Zouk ballroom in the US and will assuredly be more than enough room for the swing crowd as well. Both of these events are well-run massive scale congresses featuring daytime workshops and all-night social dancing covering each of their respective dances.
As always, per my personal code of ethics and to encourage people to support this hotel, I will be including no information on offsite lodging options. Offsite lodging options are plentiful and varied due to the airport location, but you are on your own for the time being if that is what you seek. Relatively inexpensive room blocks at the Hyatt Regency Dulles are available for both DC Swing Fling 2018 and DC Zouk 2019, and rooms are clean and comfortable, as one would expect rooms at an airport hotel catering primarily to business travelers to be.
As for your pass, the usual advice of buying early or volunteering applies. It is decidedly too late to buy early for Swing Fling, as the festival is in three weeks, but early bird passes for the 2019 DC Zouk Festival are on sale at the time of this writing in July 2018 for about $100. Buy now, the price will go up later.
As will be the case for most multi-congress hotel guides, the bulk of this guide will be on travel and food options.
Driving or ride-sharing is the preferred option if possible for this hotel as there is abundant free parking around the hotel and the hotel does not have many food options within walking distance. Be advised that the fastest road to Dulles from DC and points east is a toll road, charging anywhere from $2.50 for a 2-axel vehicle up to $8.75 for a 6+-axel vehicle in tolls to go from the DC area to Dulles, but if you have some extra time to spare and set your GPS to avoid toll roads, you can get around the toll road by using parallel local roads instead. Prepare to add an extra 30-65 minutes on average to your trip if you go this route.
This goes without saying, but try to fly into Dulles International Airport (IAD) if you can. The hotel is located a very short distance from Dulles Airport, and the other two airports are too far away from this particular venue to be practical.
IAD is also at the time of this writing the only airport to not be served directly by a DC Metro station.
Any money you may save by taking Spirit or any other airline to BWI or DCA will be offset at least somewhat by the cost of transporting yourself there, particularly from BWI.
Once you land at IAD, the Hyatt Regency has a free shuttle that will transport you the 4.5 miles from the airport to the hotel.
From DCA, take the DC Metro blue line (make sure you are on a blue line train as the yellow line will add extra time and transfers) toward Largo Town Center to Rosslyn, then transfer to the Silver line toward Wiehle-Reston East and take an UBER to the Hyatt Regency Dulles from there.
If you must come from BWI, try to get there during the day so you can take the MARC train to Union Station. Once at Union Station, take the Metro red line toward Shady Grove to Metro Center, then transfer to the Silver line toward Wiehle-Reston East and take an UBER to the Hyatt Regency Dulles from there.
Take any bus or train line to Union Station in DC and follow the above Metro directions for BWI from there.
See my DCBX Survival Guide for detailed info on both MARC and the DC Metro.
Information on the DC Metro system can be found here: http://www.wmata.com
A map of the DC Metro system can be found here: https://www.wmata.com/schedules/maps/upload/2017-System-Map.pdf
There will undoubtedly be multiple private rideshares going from the DC area to the Hyatt Regency for both Swing Fling and DC Zouk – I will post info on groups that can connect you with these rideshares as I get it.
There are some food options close by this hotel, but many of them are decidedly driving distance from the hotel, with the exception of the hotel restaurant and the Reston Town Center options, which can be reached via the Hyatt’s airport shuttle.
For your frugal grocery shopping, Walmart Supercenter is located about 12-16 minutes up route 28, at 45415 Dulles Crossing Plaza. A Giant (1228 Elden Street, Herndon, VA), Harris Teeter (12960 Highland Crossing Dr, Herndon), and Safeway (413 Elden St, Herndon) are all located within a 15 minute drive of the hotel.
Whole Foods is located about 20 minutes east (no tolls but the toll road is faster) at 11660 Plaza America Dr, Reston, VA.
Aside from the hotel restaurant, an upscale bar eatery called Elements On Level One, a Spices & Beyond located right next to the hotel (which also doubles as a convenience store for last-minute staples), and Padella, the nearby Westin Dulles’ hotel restaurant, most of your immediate food options for your daily meal out are located in the airport, and include a Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, Smashburger, District Chophouse, Wendy’s, Au Bon Pain, Bar Symon, Pei Wei (Chinese), Chef Geoff’s, and two different Subways. Elements On Level One is a bit pricey but good, and will be a popular option given that it is the only one you don’t have to drive to.
A 15 minute or so drive into the nearby town of Reston, VA (whose town center can also be reached via the Hyatt’s free airport shuttle) yields several other options, including Pollo Peru, a casual Peruvian-style chicken place (1675 Reston Parkway), Hibiscus Thai Cuisine, a Thai eatery (11790 Baron Cameron Avenue), and a Silver Diner (11951 Killingsworth Avenue). Also to be found in Reston is Midtown Kabob (11990 Explorer Street), Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food and Lucky Lounge (11927 Democracy Drive), Big Bowl (11915 Democracy Drive), and sweetgreen (11935 Democracy Drive), among others.
Parking is a little tighter at Reston Town Center, but there are several parking garages located directly nearby that are all free after 5pm on Friday and all weekend. Info here: https://restontowncenter.com/parking/parking-rates/
That’s all the info I have for this guide, let me know in the comments if you have anything else to add and happy dancing!