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Marriott Has Taken Their New Designs 'Underground'

Where: Bethesd, a
January 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM | by | ()

It's common knowledge that most major hotel brands have a super secret lair where they test out their new room designs, amenities, and services before letting them see the hotel hallway fluorescent lighting of the day.

Peninsula Hotels keep their proprietary guest room technology under wraps in a laboratory in Aberdeen, Scotland. Hilton once kept their secret lab inside an unassuming Hilton Garden Inn near LAX while Starwood Hotels does their research in a warehouse somewhere in upstate New York. Even the upcoming Virgin Hotels is testing their super secretive room design somewhere (our guess is the desert in California where Virgin Intergalatic lives.)

But now we know exactly where Marriott Hotels is trying out all their new stuff from guest room designs to food and beverage concepts and lobby layouts. It's called Innovation Lab and it's located two floors below the company's headquarters building in Bethesda, Maryland. Nickname? The Underground.

Here's how Marriott described the lab in a press release from las May:

“The Underground” -- is dedicated to promoting innovation and collaboration. Like a blank canvas, the floor-to-ceiling white space offers a clean slate for anyone – whether architect, designer, employee or customer – to manipulate and make his mark. This space showcases the brand’s commitment to the next generation of travelers, who seamlessly blend work and play, with a focus on changing style, technology and service.

And the 10,000-sq.ft. all-white main innovation room is truly a clean slate, with most furniture parts being mobile so they can be easily switched around. Best of all, guests, er, visitors to the lab are welcome to participate and give their feedback.

“This isn’t a space where sport coats are required or guests stand to the side while we speak. It is interactive and participatory,” said Karim Khalifa, senior vice president, architecture & construction, Marriott. “Marriott is dedicated to transforming the brand to make it relevant for a next generation of travelers – and we want these travelers to be a part of our transformative journey.”

Sounds good to us. Now, which is the quickest way to Bethesda?

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