Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On DragonCon Hotels

I got a question about DragonCon hotels for first-timers and I thought I would post my answer here, in case it's helpful to anyone else. Please feel free to post your own hotel advice in the comments. This is just my own opinion.

I always used to stay at the Marriott, but the last few years they've enacted something called "Passkey," which is a system you have to use to book rooms for DragonCon now. Basically it was the case that if you didn't get on Passkey and book a room the second they went on sale, you probably wouldn't get one.  However, several things have changed for next year which can affect this. One is that now Marriott rooms have a non-refundable one night deposit. The rooms are also apparently non-transferrable.   So this might make it easier to book a room at the Marriott, since less people will be reserving multiple rooms. However, you run the risk (if you can't go) of losing somewhere around $200 bucks.  And since you have to reserve so far in advance, who knows what can happen in a year?  I'll also add that the Marriott used to be pretty quiet, but now it's very busy with an active bar on the top lobby floor, and the white noise from all the people can be heard up in the rooms, even if you're up pretty high. This didn't bother me much, but it's another consideration. Also, it can be really hard to get elevators there, especially on checkout day.  I'm not sure when Passkey reservations open up for DragonCon 2013.


I don't have experience with staying at the Hyatt.

The Hilton also has a one night non-refundable deposit.  And I've heard it's already booked up.  (Though, it might still be worth calling to make sure this is true.) After last year, when I couldn't attend DragonCon 2011 because of a serious, last-minute health issue, I ran into problems with the Hilton reservation I'd made.   So never again will I take a chance on a non-refundable deposit room.

The Sheraton will charge you a one-night deposit, but it is refundable up until a few days before the Con. (Or maybe even less, not sure exactly.) The rooms are quiet, and you can catch elevators without a problem.  I used to think it was off the beaten path, but DragonCon has spread out so much, that it's not really. You'll have to pick up your registration at the Sheraton and BritTrack and TrekTrack both have panels here. The Sunday night Yule Ball (sponsored by the YA Lit track) is here as well.  

The only disadvantage is that you have to walk outside to get to it, there aren't tunnels like there are for the other hotels.   (You might have to go outside to get to the Westin too, but I didn't end up going there at all this last Con.) However, the tunnels are so crowded (especially Saturday) that I found it was a relief to be able to walk outside.  So that's not a big deal unless there is rain, or you are in a delicate costume.  But you may have lots of indoor walking to do regardless of that.  Tunnels connect the Marriott, Peachtree Center Mall and Hyatt, and now the Hilton, but it can still be a lot of walking.

So based on all that, I booked a room at the Sheraton again for this year.  I didn't have a problem going to friends room parties or hanging out with them at the Marriott. There are lots of people walking back and forth at all hours, so I never felt unsafe walking between hotels, even at night. (At least, no more unsafe than you'd feel at DragonCon in general.) And my fears about  being really far away were pretty unfounded. The Sheraton is already taking reservations.

Sheraton Pool


  1. Just to add some easy info for anyone looking.

    The Hyatt opens their D*C block on October 2nd at 10 am EST.

    The Marriott goes on sale October 10th at 9 am EST.

    The Sheraton's D*C block is already full, you can check online for openings and cancellations here: http://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/DragonCon2013

    The Hilton's D*C block is also full, but you can check for openings here: https://resweb.passkey.com/Resweb.do?mode=welcome_ei_new&eventID=10173923

    The Westin is currently selling rooms here: https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/StarGroupsWeb/booking/reservation?id=1209070861&key=4EDDE

  2. Yeah Sheraton! I have a room there and so does my friend Katie - Katie and her FL friends took over my room reservation this year at the Sheraton and they loved staying there. I had only been there for the Yule Ball previously, but even then it seemed pretty silent excepting the YB itself. I hope I can make it next year - and if I do, I'll be at the Sheraton too!

    1. I really enjoyed the Sheraton and like you hadn't really been there for much other than the YB. Hope you can make next year too!

  3. Thanks for the great hotel info! I booked at the Westin yesterday. Some friends recently got rooms at the Hilton through hotels.com, but they seem to be at least $75 - $100 more than the DragonCon rate and they had to pay the whole sum upfront.

    1. Glad you were able to get a room! I'll be interested to hear how the Westin was! That sucks about having to pay so much more for a Hilton room and up front too!

    2. I had that same issue too, I had to pay full price up front for the Sheraton. I chose the Hilton for next year because I found the Sheraton beds really uncomfortable, and the walls were thin, and I don't remember ever hearing our neighbors when I stayed at the Hilton before. You probably wait for elevators the same amount of time it takes you to walk to the Sheraton. I didn't mind the walk until I was wearing my gown, so it was nice to be able to go straight upstairs after the Yule Ball.

  4. Hold the phone, hold the phone! A D*C attending local blogger?! I live North of Atlanta, was a first timer last year, and found your blog while looking for costume resources for our local theatre in Cartersville, GA. We'll be there again this year with bells (and costumes) on. How interesting! I'm a new follower!

    1. Thanks! I'm not local to Atlanta though! :-)