By the time the Hyatt Regency hotel next to the Bethesda Metro station completes its interior renovations in late December, nearly every wall and room will look different.
When it completes its exterior renovations in the spring, the same will be true for its ground floor façade facing Wisconsin Avenue.
The hotel’s owner, The Meridian Group, started a $37 million renovation in February after purchasing the hotel in 2015 with its partner Highgate Hotels. Since then crews have been working to transform the property from an aging hotel to one that its owners hope can attract more high-end business meetings and events.
The work has been happening while the hotel and its restaurants—Morton’s and The Daily Grill—have stayed open to customers.
Bruce Lane, executive vice president at Meridian, said the company has bought and sold the hotel four times over the past 20 years, but after the most recent purchase the company decided to invest in significant upgrades.
Construction work is ongoing inside the lobby of the Hyatt in Bethesda. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
Lane said he believes the Hyatt will be comparable to other top-tier hotels in the region once the work is done. “The reasons for that is the quality of the renovations. We’ve gutted every guest room, meeting room, event room and the lobby,” Lane said.
Lane and Selim Soliman, the hotel’s managing director, gave Bethesda Beat a tour of the ongoing work inside the hotel Thursday. The pink lobby has been painted white, new marble is being installed and the main entrance will feature trellised woodwork with recessed lighting.
A rendering of what the completed lobby will look like. Image via Hyatt Regency Bethesda
Each room has been outfitted with $3,900 in soundproofing and redesigned to focus on the needs of frequent travelers by adding desk space and additional outlets. The hotel has 390 rooms, including 14 with outdoor terraces, and seven suites.
Inside a king terrace hotel room. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
A view from the terraces. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
“My friends and colleagues from Bethesda have been longing for a first-class hotel in Bethesda,” Lane said. “Hopefully their prayers have been answered.”
Crews have removed walls in the meeting reception area to give it a more open look. There are also new doors installed on the meeting room level so event planners can bring in equipment, tables and other items directly from the parking garage.
The fitness room has been enlarged to nearly four times its previous size. And the hotel has removed the rooftop pool and replaced it with a new event room that will be rented out for exclusive gatherings. The rooftop event space is expected to be completed Dec. 20.
A rendering showing what the completed rooftop event space will look like. Image via Hyatt Regency Bethesda
On the ground floor, the hotel is installing two new retail spaces that will face Wisconsin Avenue next to the Metro station. Lane and Soliman said no leases have been finalized on the spaces yet.
The renovations come during a changing landscape for Bethesda hotels. The market is expected to get a jolt soon from two new projects that will add hotels downtown. The Bernstein Companies is planning to construct a 12-story, 240-room Westin Hotel at the current site of the Connor Building in Woodmont Triangle. Meanwhile, Marriott International has announced its intention to build a 200-room hotel downtown as part of its new headquarters project.
Lane said Meridian is not concerned about the new competition.
“We think it’s going to be a positive for the market,” Lane said, noting that many companies do business with Marriott and their employees will need a place to stay. “It’s a win-win. Rockville is the county seat, but Bethesda is the beating heart of Montgomery County business. We’re excited about it.”
“Any addition to this area and investment in the local economy is a good thing,” Soliman said.
The renovated meeting rooms feature new movable tables that are easy to separate.
A rendering showing the new ballroom via Hyatt Regency Bethesda. (The room was in use Thursday for a battery conference)
The interior of a double room at the Hyatt. Officals said more attention has been given to provide additional workspace for guests. Credit: Andrew Metcalf