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Spending Twenty Minutes In The Capitol Hilton Lobby

D.C. is filled with architecturally interesting public spaces. To get an idea of how people are using these spaces, Curbed writers are spending twenty minutes in a given location and taking note of what they see. Want to nominate a place for this series? Hit up our tipline. In honor of Hotels Week, we spent 11:00 a.m.-11:20 a.m. in the lobby of the Capital Hilton.

11:00 a.m. — There are roughly three employees standing outside ushering cars under the overhang. It's drizzling and the sound of a drill down the street is puncturing my eardrum. There's a plaque mentioning that this hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places.
11:01 a.m. — One of these employees asks a lady rolling her suitcase if she needs a taxi. She points out that someone has already retrieved her car.
11:02 a.m. — The lobby is not nearly the bustle of excitement it was the night I checked out the city's bathrooms but there are still a handful of people hanging around. There is a raised floor in the center of the lobby with TVs, tables and a bar. A mother convinces three girls to pose for a picture on the opposite couch.

11:04 a.m. — One of the three girls posing for the picture who is maybe 8 years old, is bouncing up and down on the couch and occasionally on her 11 year old sister. The older sister somehow is smiling and is very patient and tolerant of the 8 year old's attempts to drag her out of the seat and push her sequined Uggs off the table
11:06 a.m. — Two women sit on a couch on the lower level. One has a pile of what must be at least four bags sitting on the floor next to her. Most are the standard black bags, but one is designed like a clown's face and it is terrifying. There is also a walker with clothes in a nice waterproof looking garment bag sitting on what looks to be a walker. There's also a small shopping bag hanging from the walker which says "Informate. Mejorate." The two women are not speaking in Spanish.
11:07 a.m. — A family comes in and sits down in one of the couches that I'm headed toward. It's three women, one of whom is wheeling a boy in a stroller. They sit down but not for very long.
11:08 a.m. — A woman in a green jacket and a white skirt rushes in, says not a word to the two women on the couch next to the bags and the walker. She picks up all four bags on the ground and storms back out the front door. The other women head toward the walker and calmly amble to the minivan waiting outside.
11:11 a.m. — Three adults stop to stare at this billboard.

11:13 a.m. — It's clear that the conference announced on the billboard must be tucked away in conference rooms at this point. The table with a blue table cloth and two chairs has not been attended since I walked in.
11:14 a.m. — That said, there's a hospitality desk off to the side by the check-in desk with flowers, a welcome banner, a woman on a computer and two others speaking what sounds like Russian.
11:16 a.m. — An employee starts organizing things behind the bar, wiping the counter, turning on the computer, etc. Are people drinking this early?
11:17 a.m. — Apparently, not. She disappears in the back. The three people scattered on this raised platform are on their computers or their phones and two of them have coffee. Spiked coffee?
11:18 a.m. — The four TVs are on three different channels. Two have on CNN which is talking about the Malaysian airliner. One is playing a commercial for blood pressure medication. The fourth has on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
11:19 a.m. — Turns out the station playing the medication commercial is playing The Price Is Right. Of course it is.
11:20 a.m. — A large and very yellow airport shuttle pulls up and three women bring two suitcases each into the hotel. One sighs and says "Man." upon coming in. Another rolls I'm the most lime green piece of luggage I've ever seen. And it's wrapped in shrink wrap. Wow.