Marriott News Center

«Previous | Home | Next»


Designs on the Future – Big Ideas Become Reality at Marriott Hotels' New “Underground” Innovation Lab

DSC_8029Marriott Hotels, the flagship brand of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR), today announced the opening of a new 10,000 square foot Innovation Lab located beneath the company’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. The Innovation Lab offers rapid prototyping with instant feedback capabilities, bird’s eye views from Internet-enabled cameras, and multiple avenues for customer participation.

DSC_8118Located two stories below headquarters, the lab -- also dubbed “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.

“When we decided to transform this expansive unused space hidden beneath headquarters, we blasted through walls and left the old ideas of a ‘design space’ behind. We tapped into the best technology to create an ever-changing lab for innovation, experiencing ideas, exploring concepts, and receiving instant feedback from guests,” said Paul Cahill, senior vice president, brand management for Marriott Hotels. “The design concepts conceived and perfected will make the future of travel a reality, sooner.”

Because the parts of the Innovation Lab are mobile, the Marriott design team can take every detail into consideration from the positioning of the bed in the room to the layout of the bathroom. Visitors to the space will become a part of the design and testing process for guestrooms, great room lobbies, meetings spaces, and even food & beverage concepts, innovations that will now be implemented more quickly in Marriott properties around the world.

Innovate with Marriott Hotels
Upon entry to the Innovation Lab, guests will traverse a gallery filled with projected images on walls awash in rich, saturated colors and lighting effects courtesy of Philip’s ColorBlast Powercore high-performance LED lighting system, where featured presentations set the scene for Marriott’s newest designs.

DSC_8181Opening into the floor-to-ceiling, white, 10,000 square foot, main innovation room, guests will find an ‘open contribution’ wall where they can impact the brand through new ideas and design likes and dislikes. An additional, “war room” offers functional space for private group meetings up to 40 people.

“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.”

Marriott Hotels is transforming the guest experience, designing lobbies and public spaces for the next generation of travelers who blend work and play, demand style and substance, and require technology. As the industry leader in hosting meetings, Marriott is introducing new concepts designed for the new mobile worker.

Workspace On Demand powered by Liquidspace, an application to book meetings on demand, is further differentiating the customer experience at Marriott Hotels by allowing guests to book both free and paid spaces as easily as they book a guest room. Workspring at Marriott at the Redmond Marriott Town Center, the industry’s first purpose-built suite of integrated spaces and common areas designed for small meetings, takes a holistic approach, bringing together seamlessly integrated service, technology and contemporary design. It was created in partnership with Steelcase to support collaborative work, inspiring creativity and innovation.

In addition to the Marriott Hotels brand, the Innovation Lab will also be deployed for Marriott International’s entire portfolio of brands.

About Marriott Hotels
Marriott Hotels continues to inspire and provide a balanced life on the road for discerning and high-achieving business and leisure travelers, offering warm, professional service; sophisticated yet functional guest room design; lobby spaces that facilitate working, dining and socializing; restaurants and bars serving international cuisine prepared simply and from the freshest ingredients; meeting and event spaces and services that are gold standard; and expansive, 24-hour fitness facilities. All Marriott hotels participate in the award winning Marriott Rewards frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information, visit

Connect with