After six years of planning, design, and construction, Marriott International has opened its global headquarters in downtown Bethesda, MD. The 21-story, 785,000-sq.-ft., LEEDv4 Gold-certified building is the new workplace for corporate associates, supporting more than 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, 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 new HQ campus, which includes the new Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ hotel next door, is designed to enable connectivity, collaboration, growth, ideation and well-being through diverse and dynamic spaces and state-of-the-art technology, the company reports. The new building will also serve as a global hub for its research and development operation, featuring its Innovation and Design Lab, a premium test kitchen and beverage bar, as well as model hotel rooms in the adjacent Marriott hotel, where new concepts, design elements, service approaches and amenities will be tested for potential use across the company’s portfolio of 30 brands.
“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.”
Empowering associates through flexibility, collaboration, growth and well-being
Marriott believes a blend of in-person and virtual connectivity enhances the associate experience, enables collaboration for its global workforce and fuels business performance. This flexible model of work is responsive to associate feedback and will enable Marriott to continue to attract, grow and retain top talent. The decision to adopt a hybrid work model was made in the spirit of the company’s values to “Put People First and Embrace Change,” and this new building will enable that model through design choices and seamless technology.
Offices, including executive offices, line the core interior of the building, so each associate workstation comes with a view outside through floor-to-ceiling windows, and every desk will have access to natural light, a sit-stand desk and an ergonomic chair. Informal, mixed-seating collaboration stations line the windows on each work floor. More formal meeting rooms with the latest technology, writable surfaces and video capabilities are also available for larger meetings.
As part of the company’s commitment to put people first, Marriott has created an associate growth center, located on the top floor of the new headquarters, and named for the company’s long-time CEO/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-first culture—one that both physically and figuratively puts associates at the top. The Growth Center will host a multitude of experiences—both live and virtual to enable participation by the company’s global workforce—including leadership development programs, skill development curriculum, featured speakers, new hire orientation and networking events.
True to its fundamental belief that the foundation for success depends on the well-being of its associates, Marriott has prioritized childcare, family support and wellness as core offerings in its new headquarters. Building amenities include a 7,500-sq.-ft. 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-sq.-ft. childcare center for up to 91 children (from infant through age five), with approximately 6,600 sq. ft. of outdoor covered space for all-weather play, among many other associate-focused features. For its commitment to advancing associate well-being through design and operations, Marriott’s headquarters has earned a Fitwel 3-star rating. This is the highest rating achievable from Fitwel, the leading global health certification system.
Accelerating innovation through research and design facilities
Since its founding, Marriott has made innovation a key priority and the company’s new headquarters underscores this commitment. Marriott’s Design Lab is an 8,400-sq.-ft. research and design lab for the hotel industry, where the company’s partnerships and collaborations with companies that touch every aspect of hospitality—from textiles to technology to service—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 fully functioning test kitchen and bar space, designed studio-style for onsite educational presentations, virtual food and beverage demonstrations, and testing the latest trends in culinary and beverage innovations from hotels around the world.
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.
Part of the Bethesda community
Marriott’s new headquarters has several features that are designed to enable interaction between the company and the Bethesda community where the new HQ is located. 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.
Sorenson was highly 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 vibrant 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 historic and compelling items from Marriott’s past and present. This space leads into the main lobby of the building, serving as an entryway for associates, as well as a food and beverage, retail and future pop-up space for special events.
The building was designed by Gensler, a global design firm and workplace strategy partner. Gensler is the project architect of record, with Hensel Phelps serving as the project’s general contractor for the building’s core structure. Rand* Construction, a woman-owned business, served as the project’s general contractor for the building’s interior. The building is owned by The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties.