The long-awaited Marriott Bethesda Downtown hotel at 7707 Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda opened on Tuesday, with a gathering and ribbon-cutting in the lobby.

“Growing up in this business, this is not my first ribbon-cutting. But it is a particularly special one,” David Marriott, the director of Marriott International’s Board of Directors and incoming chairman, told a crowd gathered in the lobby.

Marriott, the grandson of company founder J. Willard Marriott, said Tuesday that the Bethesda hotel is the 8,000th for the Bethesda-based company, which is in its 95th year. He called the opening a “true milestone moment for the company.”

Allie Williams, the president of the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that he’s excited about the hotel’s opening and is looking forward to the new Marriott headquarters, adjacent to the hotel, opening later this year.

“We’re excited to see the doors open here, so the guests can enjoy downtown Bethesda …,” he said.

The 12-story downtown Bethesda hotel features 245 rooms, according to a press release.

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It has a restaurant, Seventh State, on the ground floor, as well as The Greatroom lobby bar. A rooftop bar, Hip Flask, is scheduled to open either at the end of this month or in early April.

The hotel’s M Club lounge serves meals all day exclusively for Marriott Bonvoy Elite and Club members.

Along the glass wall of the Seventh State restaurant is a collage of graffiti art with various messages of positivity. One piece features a heart with the words “being genuine=doing anything from the heart.” Other sentiments are “giving without expectation,” “ever joyous” and “showing compassion for others.”

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Dana Toscano, the director of human resources for the hotel, told Bethesda Beat on Tuesday that the word “Bethesda” means house of kindness in the Bible, and Marriott wanted to create a vibe of kindness.

“We started asking our associates what kindness meant to them, and whatever answer they gave, we saved it and we created graffiti art with what their answer was,” she said.

Toscano said about 75 people responded, and she used their messages to create art using the design program Canva. She said most answers centered around empathy and treating others the way you would want to be treated.

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“Whatever they said as their answer, I found street murals that are somewhere in the world that are tied to what they said, and I made that the backdrop, and then I used their words to make graffiti [art],” she said.

Other features of the hotel include a ballroom, a fitness center and several large conference rooms.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”29″ display=”basic_slideshow”]General Manager Kat Burns told Bethesda Beat on Tuesday there’s been intense interest from the community.

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“We already had our first customer arrive at 7 a.m.,” she said.

Executive Chef Dupree Braswell, left, shakes hands with David Marriott, the director of the company’s board of directors and incoming chairman.

Burns said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are traveling now and it helps that Montgomery County’s mask mandate was recently lifted. She said there’s been a log of inquiries from people hoping to rent out space for events.

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“We are getting quite a log of inquiries, especially for bar and bat mitzvahs and for weddings. But also for corporate travel and leisure travel. I think people are just excited to stay here,” she said.

Burns said the hotel has hired 90 people, and is still hiring for many types of positions, including servers, bartenders and leadership roles.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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