The good old days, the Marriott of years gone by, as shown in this 1960's era advertisement.
Notice, in the small print it lists all Marriott hotel locations and there are 5 locations listed. DC, Philly, Dallas, Saddlebrook, and Atlanta. There were at least two in DC's VA suburbs so there were probably 6 or maybe 7 or 8. That handful has grown to many thousands. Notice, also, that the add calls them moto hotel. (I guess that sounds fancier than motels.
You're right, Marriott used "DC" like many of us Virginians do. Twin Bridges, Key Bridge (soon to be redeveloped, hopefully remaining a Marriott) Dallas, Philly (City Line), Atlanta, and Saddle Brook was the ad's order of development.
My recollection is fuzzy (what's new) but I'm thinking Marriott didn't open their first DC hotel, the flagship JW on Pennsylvania Avenue until they already had over 100 other hotels (and they wouldn't go into Vegas due to gambling).
JW PA Avenue opened in 1984
The term motel conjures up Motel 6 with skimpy towels, a TV on a ceiling mount and generally shabby accommodations. Motor Hotel means a step up. Recall that hotels were generally downtown locations with a fine dining restaurant, and more elegant clientele. Marriott was halfway there.
It was the brand standard as shown in this photo of the first Marriott located at Twin Bridges in Arlington VA, and a 1957 Ford in the entryway
A motel is a hotel designed for motorists and usually has a parking area for motor vehicles. Entering dictionaries after World War II, the word motel, coined as a portmanteau contraction of "motor hotel", originates from the Milestone Mo-Tel of San Luis Obispo, California (now called the Motel Inn of San Luis Obispo), which was built in 1925. The term referred initially to a type of hotel consisting of a single building of connected rooms whose doors faced a parking lot and in some circumstances, a common area or a series of small cabins with common parking. Motels are often individually owned, though motel chains do exist.
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