Marriott’s 4,000th hotel opens

"The Birth of the American Flag" dominates the hotel's atrium. (Photo: Christian Molina)

“The Birth of the American Flag” dominates the hotel’s atrium. (Photo: Christian Molina)

Marriott opened its 4,000th property (!) on May 1, The Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, which (at 1,175 rooms) is now the largest hotel in town. It is located on Massachusetts Avenue, on the northern edge of the city core, adjacent to the huge Washington Convention Center.

The mammoth property is Marriott Rewards Category 6 where a one-night stay will cost you 25,000-30,000 points. Rates in June range from $180 to $400 per night. 

Ironically, the company’s 87-year history began with a more humble nine-seat root beer stand just up the street– a small replica of which turns out burgers, fries and root beer floats in the hotel’s cavernous lobby.

As can be expected with any brand new hotel, the hotel’s 11 TripAdvisor reviews (as of May 25) show plenty of praise, but also report uneven service issues and some kinks that still need to be worked out.

Check out these five cool features of the newest Marriott Marquis:

1. Art and architecture is meant to wow. The hotel’s 40,000-square-foot roof is all glass, so natural light floods the atrium and lobby (A.K.A. The Greatroom). Interior-facing rooms take advantage of this light. Exterior-facing rooms have views of downtown Washington, D.C. A 56-foot high, 27,000-pound sculpture, The Birth of the American Flag (above), by Baltimore-based sculptor Rodney Carroll is the largest piece of artwork in any Marriott Hotel. Even the lobby floor is art: a cherry blossom branch inset in the white marble.

Guest rooms are decked out in tech features. (Photo: Michaelann Millrood)

Guest rooms are decked out in tech features. (Photo: Michaelann Millrood)

2. The hotel has exactly what business travelers really care about: super fast, reliable wi-fi. Marriott installed a cutting edge DAS System (Distributed Antenna System) in this hotel to guarantee a strong wireless signal. (We prefer free everywhere, but Wi-Fi is $12.95 per day in guest rooms and complimentary in public spaces.) In the lobby, outlets and USB ports are plentiful. In guest rooms, you can stream your own content from your tablet or smartphone to the room’s interactive super-TVs. And just about anything can be done with your phone, from mobile check-in to ordering up room service.

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3. The M Club Lounge for Marriott Rewards Silver and Gold Elite members sounds spectacular. And it’s open 24-hours, a cool place to work or get a bite to eat when you’re jetlagged and can’t sleep or to get assistance from the concierge. There’s even an outdoor terrace to get some fresh air. Have you experienced an M Club yet? Marriott Gold and Platinum members get in free. Others can pay $20. Recently we’ve received a lot of positive comments from TravelSkills readers pleasantly surprised about the new M Club….please leave your comments below.)

The Marriott Marquis is located on Massachusetts Ave by the city's massive convention center, north of The Mall (Rendering from Marriott)

The 1,126-room Marriott Marquis is located on Massachusetts Ave by the city’s massive convention center, north of The Mall (Rendering from Marriott)

4. The 8,000-square-foot bi-level fitness center has the latest equipment and technology—but in a historic space. It is located in what was originally the Samuel Gompers AFL-CIO building: The hotels’ new exterior enwraps the historic building. The fitness center’s Technogym equipment is also used by the military in their training.

5. The hotel is as deep as it is tall. (That’s 96 feet down…and up, with 15 above-ground floors.) Meeting space that is below-grade manages to incorporate natural light in the corridors that filters down from stories above.

Bonus! Because when you’re in the nation’s capital, you might as well imbibe it, so we couldn’t resist adding: Cocktails in the hotel’s Dignitary lounge are based on past presidents’ favorites. And check out this infographic with cool stats on the hotel.

What’s your favorite hotel in DC? Why? Please leave your comments below.

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–Nancy Branka

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