Historic Washington hotel plans transformation

The JW Marriott Marquis towers above its neighbors in the National Building Museum.

While many luxury hotels go for throwaway décor and trendy new restaurants, the historic Residence Inn by Marriott, on Pennsylvania Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, is sprucing up its core features to a very warm and friendly appearance. The $40 million modernization is the hotel’s sixth renovation in the last ten years, and it’s part of a larger plan to reinvent its frontage into the “loungest U.S. Residence Inn hotel in the world.”

The upgraded hotel will initially open to a limited public in May. It then plans to open its doors to vacationers in 2019.

The Residence Inn, designed in 1927 and first completed in the mid-1920s, has outlived its once-patented look, but continues to remain an inimitable boutique hotel. Each room comes with a free Wi-Fi signal, an iPod dock, a flat-screen TV, and a guest library stocked with free antique-style periodicals like The Atlantic Monthly and Architectural Record.

The renovations to the lobby, public spaces, and room interiors will reflect the historical details found in the original inn, such as hand-carved walnut inlays, original mahogany trim, floor tiling and wallpaper, decorative mosaic tiles, and original woodwork. The artwork will take inspiration from the city’s mid-century bungalows, and the hotel will continue to feature an excellent collection of works from local artists. In addition to making the building and hotel look new, the makeover also makes an effort to keep visitors’ minds on the physical aspects of the historic place they have grown to love.

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