Travel Review: Watergate Hotel, Washington DC
Following an extensive, $200 million renovation that took almost nine years to complete, the Watergate Hotel offers a luxurious urban resort experience for the world’s most discerning leisure and business travellers.
Conveniently located near many of Washington DC’s most popular destinations, including the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the hotel is a mere one mile walk to the White House and National Mall, and close to Georgetown shopping, George Washington University, Embassy Row and the picturesque Dupont Circle.
And if the name rings a bell, it’s because the Watergate is one of the most iconic locations in America. The hotel was the setting for a major political scandal that occurred during the early 1970s, following a break-in by five men at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex, and the subsequent attempt of then-President Richard Nixon’s administration’s to cover up its involvement.
The scandal led to the discovery of multiple exploitations of power by members of the Nixon administration, an impeachment process against the president that led to articles of impeachment and, ultimately, Nixon’s resignation. As a result, the name Watergate and the suffix ‘-gate’ have since become synonymous with political and non-political scandals in the US and around the world. It’s basically THAT iconic.
The Watergate Hotel, however, was controversial from the start. When it opened in 1965, celebrity Italian architect Luigi Moretti’s curvy, sprawling design sent shock waves through conservative DC. Despite the criticism, the hotel quickly became a playground for the fabulous, however. Actors and models hobnobbed with congressmen and the Supreme Court Justices who lived in the Watergate apartments.
These days, the hotel consists of 336 stylish guestrooms designed for sophisticated comfort, half of which boast lavish balconies. Six exquisite diplomat suites, 24 premier suites and two stately presidential suites offer top-quality accommodation in the American capital.
Each guestroom features natural light and soothing colour palettes, as well as plush bedding, floor-to-ceiling Zebrano marble bathrooms with solid granite vanities, superior in-room amenities, 24-hour in-room dining, cutting-edge technology, diffusers featuring the hotel’s signature Red Flower Oakwood scent, and loads more.
But if you really want an authentic Watergate experience, look no further than the hotel’s signature guestroom where the scandal actually happened. The Watergate Scandal Room 214 was conceptualised, curated, and designed by Lyn Paolo, the costume designer of TV shows including Scandal and Shameless, and co-owner of the Watergate Hotel, Rakel Cohen, to create a one-of-a-kind accommodation for guests. Binoculars, a record player with 45 singles, a manual typewriter, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, a curated book collection and several pieces of furniture pay homage to the 1970s.
Our favourite spot, however, and one of Washington DC’s most desirable outdoor destinations, is the hotel’s rooftop lounge, Top of the Gate, which enjoys
360° views of the river and the Washington Monument. Home to a bevy of well-appointed amenities such as heat lamps, the rooftop serves as a luxurious respite from the bustling city below. Guests and local residents can take in the scenery from the bar’s high-top chairs, or kick back and relax on the comfortable couches positioned throughout the space. Adorned with plants and greenery to create a natural setting, the rooftop is the perfect place for a drink after a long day of sightseeing or to host an exclusive event with the best view in town.
INFO: 2650 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC, thewatergatehotel.com
Picture credits: Shutterstock, Supplied