Everything old is truly new again, especially after being the lucky recipient of a $200 million facelift. The infamous Watergate Hotel and its surrounding multi-building complex — the site of one of America’s greatest political scandals, the 1972 Watergate break-in — now looks like a mid-century modern fortress floating along the Potomac.
Designed by Italian architect Luigi Moretti to resemble a sail, the now-50-year-old hotel reopened in 2016 with a renewed sense of grandeur, charm and sophistication, providing more than 330 guest rooms and suites, including two Presidential units.
But the most important of all is room 214, which earned its place in history when, 45 years ago, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy used the space to orchestrate the burglary of the adjacent Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex.
In addition to that bit of controversy and a good night’s sleep, here are five reasons why The Watergate is a must-visit.
Hints of history
The Watergate is not one to shy away from its history; nods to the past are everywhere. The hotel’s hold music features Richard Nixon giving a speech and room keys cheekily remind all that there’s no need to break in. Even the property’s phone number (844-617-1972) recalls the day — June 17, 1972 — that will live in infamy.
Book the Scandal room
One notorious hotel room is getting an extra-scandalous makeover. Specially curated by Lyn Paolo, the Emmy-winning costume designer for popular TV series Shameless and Scandal, room 214 will be unveiled in fall 2017 to reveal a one-of-a-kind stay in Washington, D.C.’s most notorious (and stylish) accommodation.
All that red
The Next Whisky Bar is a sight to behold. Located in the lobby, across from the undulating brass check-in desk, this chic space draws you in with bold, oval, crimson furnishings and a wall of thousands of whisky bottles that seem to be suspended in mid-air.
Once you see the chairs, which give off a red marshmallow vibe, you will want to sink right in, order a drink and broker your next big deal.
Janie Bryant, costume designer for Mad Men, created retro-inspired attire for the staff of The Watergate as part of her first hospitality collection. For reference, she looked to archival images of the historic property and put a sophisticated spin on the wares of those who service The Whisky Bar, the Top of the Gate rooftop and the Kingbird restaurant, as well as the rest of the property.
Take note of the gold, black and red palette used on pieces that you don’t commonly find in the hospitality space: four-button suits, A-line dresses, capes for men and women, top coats with gold piping and homburg hats. All this fashion equates to what just might be the best-dressed team in town.
From top to bottom
Party all day and night at the Top of the Gate rooftop lounge, a spot with bottle service, bites and a breathtaking, 360-view of the city.
After you’ve had your time with the fashionable crowd, mellow out downstairs at the Argentta Spa. Meaning “silver” in Italian, Argentta offers a pristine indoor pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center — with Technogym touchscreens, wirelessly compatible equipment — as well as eight treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room and a relaxation area.
As with other parts of the Watergate experience, it’s all about design at the spa. Grand silver and gray mosaics cover curved walls, which create natural, intimate nooks from which to escape the world. Silver flecks are added about the space for an opulent and shiny touch. Even the treatments, such as the Strengthening Facial, use liquid silver to improve skin elasticity.