AC Hotels by Marriott has opened the doors to its newest hotel in the heart of downtown Bethesda, Maryland, bringing the brand’s signature ‘perfectly precise hotel’ experience to a thriving urban centre near the nation’s capital. AC Hotel Bethesda Downtown welcomed its first guests on August 16, 2022, with a purposeful design that strikes the perfect balance of form and function, featuring curated artwork evoking a true sense of place.
OTO Development, part of The Johnson Group, developed and will manage the new hotel, which is adjacent to and shares amenities with Avocet Tower, a trophy-class office building developed by Stonebridge.
“Like many travellers, we appreciate everything about the AC Hotels by Marriott brand, having opened properties in top destinations,” says David Ward, COO of OTO Development. “It’s a delight to provide the AC signature guest experience imbued with a particular sophistication and practical comforts.”
With the completion of the Bethesda project, OTO has opened six AC Hotels – the others in South San Francisco, California; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Times Square, New York; and Washington, D.C. – with two more currently under development in Naples and Jacksonville, Florida.
The 18-story AC Hotel Bethesda Downtown comprises 220 sleek, modern guest rooms and more than 11,000 square feet of activated shared space complete with a signature restaurant. Other amenities include 3,500 square feet of flexible, top-floor meeting space with an outdoor terrace overlooking Silver Spring, Maryland; Tysons Corner and Arlington, Virginia; and downtown Washington, D.C., as well as a 5,000-square-foot fitness center boasting a full range of weights, cardio equipment, a yoga studio, a spin room, and stellar views.
“AC Bethesda is filled throughout with the details that matter most to discerning travellers,” says General Manager Chris Raines, who heads up a leadership team that also includes Maria Bardos, CGMP, Director of Sales, and Jim Barnett, Director of Food & Beverage. “From commissioned artwork to top-tier amenities to intuitive technology, even high-end toiletries, our hotel is designed to provide guests with everything they want – and nothing they don’t – in a well-designed, thoroughly considered space.”
The hotel’s art portfolio is highlighted, figuratively and literally, by two dramatic installations by German artist Anke Neumann of LichtPapier, who illuminates the hotel’s shared space with abstract, organic compositions created out of fiber optic lights and handmade paper. “The Fizz” comprises dozens of cloudlike forms scattered across the restaurant ceiling, where they comingle into a unique sense of movement and chaotic harmony. Meanwhile, “The Fizz Tree” branches out within a wall niche at the front desk.
Michael Sirvet leads the local coterie of commissioned artists with “Aeolian,” an ebony-stained wood sculpture he describes as mechanical in both the thought and the creative process. Other D.C. artists whose creativity is featured in the hotel include Lori Katz, Madeline Stratton, Nicole Salimbene, and Kerry Hays – a D.C.-born native now living in Atlanta who showcases several abstract paintings with a sculptural quality.
AC Hotel Bethesda Downtown has crafted a food-and-beverage program on par with the city’s finer eateries. Corella Café & Lounge is named after the hometown of Antonio Catalán, the founder of AC Hotels. With minimalist aesthetics featuring soaring 23-foot ceilings, the light-drenched venue is designed to flex throughout the day while serving everything from locally roasted morning coffee to late-night bites and creative cocktails. Seating is available inside, at the bar, and out on an expansive street-level patio.
Project partners include Cooper Carry, architect/interior design; Balfour Beatty, base building contractor; and Coakley & Williams Construction, general contractor. The curated artwork was sourced from Kalisher and Material Driven.