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New Marriott Marquis is largest hotel in Washington, DC

A 56-foot steel sculpture is the focal point of the new Marriott Marquis convention center hotel in Washington, DC.
Leslie Braunstein

After years of planning and a lot of digging, the new Marriott Marquis hotel adjacent to the Washington Convention Center is now welcoming guests. This 1,175-key landmark at 9th and Massachusetts Avenue, NW is the city’s largest hotel with 1,262,000 square feet (gross) of space and one of just five Marriott Marquis properties in the US.

The hotel’s striking design by Cooper Carry and Atlanta-based tvsdesign features an all-glass 44,000 SF rooftop above a 15-story atrium, allowing an abundance of natural light into interior guest rooms and meeting spaces. Inside the atrium is a 56-foot steel sculpture centerpiece, “The Birth of the American Flag” by renowned Baltimore-based sculptor Rodney Carroll. The building incorporates the historic Samuel Gompers building on the corner.

In addition to more than a thousand guest rooms including 49 suites, the hotel has 128,189 SF of ballroom and meeting space, five signature dining experiences, an 8,000 SF bi-level advanced fitness center, and 31,110 SF of retail space. An underground concourse connects the hotel with the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Many of the meeting rooms open onto an 18,000 SF terrace.

The project is roughly the same size below grade as above, with the primary meeting space, back-of-the-house functions, and parking all located on the subterranean levels. The construction necessitated excavation to 130 feet below grade.

The Marriott chain started nearly 90 years ago in Washington with a nine-seat root beer stand, which later grew into the wildly popular Hot Shoppes restaurant chain. In homage to its District roots, the Marriott Marquis includes Anthem, a reimagined diner featuring replica Hot Shoppes stools and several classic Hot Shoppes dishes including the Mighty Mo hamburger and Teen Twist sandwich.

High-tech features include interactive LCD televisions that allow guests to stream their own content from their tablets or mobile devices, as well as Marriott’s new mobile service apps, which allow mobile check-in and checkout, guest service requests, and the Red Coat Direct meeting app.

Room service, traditionally a money-losing operation for hotels, has been re-invented at the Marriott Marquis. Marriott has found that about 40 percent of its customers eat in their rooms, but only six percent consume food from the hotel’s room service operation. Now, guests can order food in advance and pick it up if they don’t want it brought to their rooms. They don’t even need to sign a check; the receipt is stapled to the delivery bag.

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