Maryland, Bethesda: Bethesda Marriott Suites

Bethesda Marriott Suites

6711 Democracy Blvd
Bethesda, MD 20817
(301) 897-5600

Friction Factor = LOW FRICTION

We stayed at this hotel in March 2016 when we traveled to the Washington D.C. area for a nephew's wedding. Located just outside the beltway at its intersection with I-270, Bethesda Marriott Suites is conveniently located for access to the entire Washington D.C. metro area, Dulles Airport, the Mormon Temple, and heading north further into Maryland.

Our first impressions were very positive as soon as we were greeted at the front desk by Berta Orellana. As we checked in, Berta was exceptionally friendly and helpful, answering questions we hadn't thought to ask.

After several hours on the road driving up from North Carolina, we were relieved to enter a comfortable suite. After a most restful night of sleep, the good first impression became our reality.

Room Comforts

The couch faces a large screen TV mounted on the wall instead of sitting on top of the usual dresser/cabinet furniture found in most hotels. A seemingly small thing, but it made the room feel more open.

The large desk comes with an ergonomic chair. The desk has convenient lamp-base power outlets for my computer and USB charger. There is similar convenient power access on the bed side tables which is nice for keeping the phone charged and accessible as a book, alarm, and, well, as a phone.

We love the beds, bedding and pillows that Marriott provides at its hotels including this one.

The shower has a stainless steel clothes drying bar that is mounted to the back wall so sturdily that it also serves as a safety hold when stepping in. A corner shelf is mounted at the front, large enough to hold shampoo, body wash, shaving mirror and razor. I am disappointed when a hotel does not provide a shelf like this, so was pleased to have one here. Water pressure is high...nice. The only issue was the lack of lighting over the shower. The double shower curtains are heavy duty which passes through less light.

My wife liked the vanity room which has good lighting for her.

Internet connection notes: when signing up, if you want higher speed service (15Mbps vs. 5Mbps) you must do so at the time of signing in or use the "upgrade" option immediately after signing in. I found out what normal speed was but couldn't find a way back to the upgrade option after signing in with my laptop. When I signed in on my phone I did see it but wondered if it would take effect only for the connection on my phone. That seemed very unlikely but I called their Internet tech service which turned out to be necessary. They had to disconnect my regular speed service so I could reconnect at the higher speed from the start. Wireless service applies for up to 6 devices. When signing in with subsequent devices, simply use the option to connect another device. Marriott Rewards members get the basic service at no cost, so the upgrade is just $3/day. I needed the higher speed for business video calls.

During the day we heard ambulances going by periodically on the main thoroughfare next to the hotel and was worried about the noise. Fortunately, during our two nights here it was utterly quiet.

Having slept so well, I woke up early and noticed another small and pleasant surprise. The bedside clock has a soft darkish-yellow light that allowed me to walk around the bedroom without being disruptive while I was sleeping. I do not like light sources in the bedroom in our home where I shaded my clock LEDs with Sharpies, turned off the notification lights on my phone, and cover charging lights on other devices. Now I want to look for a clock like the one in our room here.

Hotel Comforts

As you would expect at a high end hotel, quality touches are found inside the room and throughout the hotel. Thinking of another small thing that I particularly noticed and appreciated: on the tunnel walk between the hotel and the parking garage, the doors open smoothly in time to enter or exit without breaking stride. Parking here was much less of a walk than it was when we stayed last year at the nearby Hilton.

We enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant. The selection included everything we wanted, elevated, of course, and more that we were sure would have also been very good. Eggs Benedict instead of the overdone scrambled eggs found at most places, nicely seasoned roasted breakfast potatoes with chopped peppers, fresh fruit that was good instead of the expected winter-bland, and the usual selection of cereals and fresh chef-cooked waffles and omelettes.

We like the pools at full service Marriotts that are both inside and outside with an underwater path between the two (during warm weather). They are not the large and lavish pools found in resort locations, but the water is warm enough for a non-shock entry. The Jacuzzi water is actually reasonably hot, not that tepid stuff that so many hotels offer.

Local Area

Having lived in the Washington DC area for several years, I was concerned about our group venturing out during rush hour periods. We needed access to a grocery store and I didn't think one was anywhere near where we were staying. As it turned out, I had not zoomed in enough on Google maps to see a Giant grocery store and entire shopping area very near to the hotel. The concierge told me about it when I decided to venture out for a drive. I wanted to experience the path and traffic to the Grosvenor–Strathmore metro station a few miles from the hotel to see how it would be when our extended family drove there the next day. Grosvenor station offers parking (many metro stations do not) for the great (and odd) price of $5.19 per day. It was a very easy drive to this station. On the return I stopped at the grocery store to get some snacks, then over to Flippin' Pizza (highly...and accurately...recommended by the concierge) to pick up dinner. The shopping center has a large variety of stores and restaurants.

The next day, our extended family successfully navigated to the metro station, rode trains to the Mall, visited a couple of Smithsonian museums, stopped on our return at Union Station for a meal at the huge food court there (and pix at that main hall), back to Grosvenor, then, exhausted, back to the hotel for conversation as we soothed our tired muscles in the Jacuzzi.