Marriott Corp., the Bethesda food and lodging company, will add yet another category of hotels to its chain by buying Residence Inn Corp. for an undisclosed price, a company official said yesterday.

Residence Inn is a Wichita, Kan., chain with 93 hotels open and 40 under construction or development that caters to business travelers who need lodging for an extended stay. Units in the all-suite Residence Inns, located mostly in the Midwest, have full kitchens and fireplaces, and many have more than one bedroom. There is one Residence Inn in the Washington area at Tysons Corner.

Marriott officials declined to comment on the purchase yesterday, saying the details of the sale are not yet final. John C. Wagner, vice president of sales and marketing for Residence, said that none of the Residence Inns properties compete with Marriott hotels. "We go after the traveler who needs to stay for more than five nights," Wagner said. "We're pretty unique in the lodging industry."

Marriott recently entered the all-suite market with the opening of Marriott Suites in Atlanta. The company said it plans to develop 40 of its suite hotels by the early 1990s.

However, analysts said that Marriott Suites appeal to a different type of traveler than Residence Inn suites, which will maintain their name, according to Wagner.

Marriott Suites, which offer a corporate rate of $105 a day, have no kitchens and are designed for business executives who like the extra room of the high-rise luxury suites. Residence Inns, with an average rate of about $67, are for "someone who's been transferred and hasn't found a house yet, the long-stay person who wants that kitchen," said Daniel R. Lee, a financial analyst with Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. in New York.

Some of the smaller, low-rise Residence Inns offer rates as low as $35 a night for those staying a month or more, Lee said.

"When you put this with {Marriott's} Courtyard and Fairfield Inns and smaller luxury hotels, it all adds up to a company that over the next five years will almost double its number of guest rooms," Lee said. Marriott had about 200 hotels with about 77,700 rooms before the Residence purchase.

"Marriott was thinking of copying the Residence concept," said Lee. "It was easier to buy it."

Lee said he believes the Residence hotels offer Marriott another growth area. When Lee was in business school eight years ago, he spent a summer working for the Marriott Corp. When he couldn't find a reasonably priced place to rent near Marriott's Bethesda headquarters, he wound up buying a tent trailer that he parked in Frederick, Md.

"It was the wierdest feeling to walk from my tent to the showers and put on a three-piece suit to go to work for one of the largest hotel companies in the world," Lee said. "I would have gladly have paid $35 a night for a hotel room."

Two weeks ago, Residence Inn Corp. announced that it would pay Holiday Corp. $51.4 million to buy back 50 percent of its stock that Holiday purchased in 1985.

Residence Inn reported revenue of $143.99 million last year.