Patrick Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of State for Administration, had just 10 days to scout the D.C. area for a facility for the Mideast Summit last October. The State Department required a venue within an hour's helicopter ride from the capital that provided delegates with seclusion from the outside world--and from each other if necessary.

The Marriott-managed Wye River Conference Centers in Queenstown, Md., fit the bill. Located seventy miles from Washington in a rural setting, Wye River has three separate sleeping complexes that allowed the Americans, Palestinians, and Israelis privacy-- "but it was easy to cross the lines and get together," says Kennedy.

Among the special requests during the nine-day summit: 24-hour food service for more than 2,000 people, makeshift helicopter landing zones, round-the-clock shuttles from a perimeter parking lot, and communications support that included office trailers parked in the surrounding woods.