Coming from AU, I took the Red Line on the metro from the Tenleytown station to the Farragut North station and walked the rest of the way to the Westin City Center hotel. On the walk to the hotel, there were several fast casual restaurants along with coffee shops and other hotels. Just from being in the neighborhood one would notice that this area’s main focus is for business. There are not many family-orientated or children-friendly establishments. It is clear that people come to this area for professional reasons.
Although the hotel is now named the Westin City Center, at the time S Street Rising took place, it was the Vista International Hotel. In 1996 the hotel was converted to the Westin and then renamed in 1998 the Wyndham Washington D.C. It wasn’t until 2005 that the hotel went back to being the Westin.
Located on M St. NW, the building was constructed in 1982 by Holle and Lin Architects PC Smith-Williams Group. Since its establishment, it has experienced many renovations; most recently in 2011. Castaneda was at this location for a drug buy but while there he learned mayor Marion Barry had been arrested there after being caught by the FBI for narcotics charges. Both men thought that this hotel was a suitable location to conduct illegal activity as it is unsuspecting. The hotel is located in an area where drug dealers and crack smokers and not often found.
Additionally, this hotel is an expensive place to lodge. At $302 being the average cost for a nights stay, typically affluent individuals or those on business are spending time in this hotel. The atmosphere of the location also plays into the lavish ambiance. From the exterior I notice the fourteen floors that comprise the building. It is easy to see into the lobby from the street at the doors are all glass. This style is carried through in the rest of the structure. Glass windows go all the way up the front of the building.
There were not many obstacles present when entering the building. The lobby was easily accessible to the public. However, you could not access the upper levels without being a guest at the hotel.
LaFraniere, Sharon. “Barry Arrested on Cocaine Charges in Undercover FBI, Police Operation.” Washington Post. Web.
Wikipedia. “The Westin Washington, D.C. City Center.” Wiki. Wikiwand. N.p., n.d. Web.