Inside Marriott’s Secret Hotel Room Design Bunker
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
To describe the facade of Marriott’s current headquarters as “nondescript” would be generous — this building’s as boring as they come. In fact, it’s so ordinary-looking that it didn’t even occur to me to snap a picture when TPG and I visited earlier this week.
Inside, it’s a different story — well, sort of. You’ll find row upon row of open-office workstations, but there’s also a funky treadmill-desk meeting room and an impressive test kitchen where chefs prep multi-course meals for the chain’s top bigwigs.
But the real fun is in the basement — well, actually, one level below that. It’s where you’ll find Marriott’s Interior Design Innovation Lab and its master of ceremonies, Vice President of Design Deborah Huguely.
It’s in this 9,000-square-foot space that Marriott develops concept and prototype guest rooms for each of its 30 hotel brands (including those inherited from Starwood). I’ll walk you through a few of the rooms on display, but the lab’s greatest innovation is something Marriott calls “the igloo” — an enclosed 360-degree virtual reality room that makes it possible to experience a variety of spaces, from an individual suite to a new and improved hotel lobby. It’s like walking inside an Oculus Rift — the igloo is really a hoot.
Then, down the hall, you can actually see these designs come to life, in the many sample rooms.
Most of the rooms are fully assembled, but our first stop was a Sheraton room still under construction.
Then, TPG got to hang out in a Four Points room — definitely looks like a big step up from what you may experience at many of the brand’s out-of-date hotels!
Our next stop was a Delta Hotels room — Marriott’s recent(ish) Canadian acquisition.
Then we got to see a swanky AC Hotels room — it certainly made me eager to give that brand a try.
TPG even got to do his famous “shower test” to see if his 6’7″ frame would fit inside. Success!
Finally, we stopped by Springhill Suites, a brand that TPG became very familiar with during his childhood. It’s certainly come a long way.
Then, at the end of the space is a sample Marriott Experience Room, designed to represent the “experience” a customer will have in any given hotel room. You’ll notice that this certainly doesn’t look like your typical Marriott Hotel room — check out TPG’s walkthrough below:
What’s next for Marriott HQ? Fortunately for the company and its employees, Marriott’s in the process of building a fancy new headquarters just a few miles down the road. Hopefully the suite of sample rooms will be coming along, too.
Which Marriott brand are you most familiar with?
Welcome to The Points Guy!