BETHESDA, Maryland—After six years of planning, design, and construction, Marriott International has opened its global headquarters in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. The 21-story, 785,000-square-foot building is the new workplace for corporate associates, supporting over 8,100 hotels in 139 countries and territories around the world.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming associates to our new headquarters,” said Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott International. “The campus has been designed to better connect our global workforce in support of our hotels and teams around the world. Empowering associates and accelerating innovation were our key priorities and central in every decision we made to deliver a compelling environment for associates to work, learn, and thrive.”
Marriott’s HQ campus, which includes the Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ hotel next door, is designed for connectivity, collaboration, growth, ideation, and well-being through spaces and technology. The building will also serve as a global hub for Marriott’s research and development operation, featuring its Innovation and Design Lab, a test kitchen, and beverage bar, as well as “model” hotel rooms in the adjacent Marriott hotel, where concepts, design elements, service approaches, and amenities will be tested for potential use across the company’s portfolio.
“Unveiling our new global headquarters is an exceptional way to celebrate our 95 years of culture and innovation,” said David Marriott, chairman of the Board, Marriott International. “This campus honors our storied history and roots in the local community while showcasing Marriott’s exciting next chapter of growth as we remain dedicated to our purpose of connecting people through the power of travel.”
Marriott blends in-person and virtual connectivity to enhance the associate experience, enable collaboration for its global workforce, and drive business performance. This model of work is responsive to associate feedback and will enable Marriott to continue to attract, grow, and retain talent. The decision to adopt a hybrid work model was made with the company’s values to “Put People First and Embrace Change.”
Offices, including executive offices, line the interior of the building, so each associate workstation has a view outside and every desk will have access to natural light and a sit-stand desk. Mixed-seating collaboration stations are on each working floor. Formal meeting rooms with technology, writable surfaces, and video capabilities are also available for larger meetings.
As part of the company’s commitment to putting people first, Marriott has created an associate growth center, located on the top floor of the headquarters, and named for the company’s long-time CEO and executive chairman of the Board, J.W. Marriott, Jr., who is now the company’s Chairman Emeritus. The J.W. Marriott, Jr. Associate Growth Center represents the company’s commitment to its people. The Growth Center will host experiences both live and virtual to enable participation by the company’s global workforce, including leadership development programs, skill development curriculum, speakers, new hire orientation, and networking events.
Marriott has prioritized childcare, family support, and wellness as offerings in its headquarters. Building amenities include a 7,500-square-foot health and fitness center; a Wellness Suite, which includes a lactation space, meditation rooms, massage chairs, and treadmill desks; wellness, medical resources, and health advisors; and a nearly 11,000-square-foot childcare center for up to 91 children (from infant through age five) with approximately 6,600 square feet of outdoor covered space for all-weather play, among many other associate-focused features.
Marriott’s Design Lab is an 8,400-square-foot research and design lab for the hotel industry, where Marriott’s partnerships and collaborations with companies are explored, product-tested, and further developed for scaling, first within its hotel brands, and eventually throughout the industry. Room27, the main Design Lab space, is named after the year of the company’s founding in 1927. It will be co-located with the F+B Design Studio, an approximately 4,400-square-foot test kitchen and bar space.
The Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ, located directly next door, will serve as an extension of Marriott’s Design Lab, containing 13 sample “test rooms,” each customizable to reflect different brands. Dubbed Floor57 after the year the company first entered the lodging business, these active rooms are ready to deploy design, technology, and new product and service offerings with customers and other key stakeholders.
The company intends to name the outdoor public plaza between the hotel and new headquarters building Sorenson Plaza, in honor of the company’s late CEO, Arne M. Sorenson, who passed away in 2021. Arne was involved in the design of the new headquarters and was excited about the prospect that the plaza would be a gathering place for associates and a space for the community. In addition, a portion of the main lobby is also open to the public. The lobby features a public Café, which offers interior and open-air seating that extends into the plaza, and a “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a collection of items from Marriott’s past and present.
The building was designed by Gensler, who is the project architect of record, with Hensel Phelps serving as the project’s general contractor for the building’s core structure. Rand* Construction served as the project’s general contractor for the building’s interior. The building is owned by The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties. Marriott officially celebrated the completion of its phased move-in on September 19, 2022, in a ribbon cutting celebration.