August 16, 2022 | Development
AC Hotels by Marriott, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands, 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 center near the nation’s capital. AC Hotel Bethesda Downtown welcomed its first guests on August 16 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 travelers, 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 are 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, Tysons Corner, Arlington and Downtown D.C., and 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 travelers,” 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 and Nicole Salimbene; Kerry Hays, a D.C. native now living in Atlanta, 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.
Corella’s signature cocktail — a tea-infused gin martini — celebrates Bethesda’s Madonna of the Trail, the first in a series of 12 granite mother-and-child statues placed along a key 19th century migratory route stretching from Maryland to California. Corella toasts the indominable spirit of the pioneer women represented by the statues, those determined mothers who “didn’t stay but traveled through” on their quest toward a better life for their children. The cocktail ritual echoes the 12 Madonna of the Trail statues with a spirited mix of 12 ingredients, including gin from Tenth Ward Spirits, a local, female-owned distillery.
AC Hotel Bethesda Downtown is located at the bustling intersection of Montgomery and Wisconsin, just a few blocks from Marriott International’s new global headquarters and only seven miles from downtown D.C. The hotel is a one- minute walk from the Red Line Metro Station and a three-minute bike ride to the Capital Crescent Trail; it is also conveniently located near the National Institute of Health and Walter Reed Medical Center.
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.
For hotel reservations, call 301.656.2260 or visit ACHotelBethesda.com. Connect on social @ACHotelBethesda. For information about Corella Café & Lounge, visit CorellaBethesda.com and connect on social @CorellaCafeAndLounge.