A retro-glam redo of a D.C. icon
336 Rooms / 34 Suites
After nearly a decade of closure, Washington’s iconic property, The Watergate Hotel, is now back and arguably better than ever. In 1961, it was designed by the incomparable Luigi Moretti to look like a sail on the Potomac. The curving lines of the Watergate building are a landmark feature of the city’s skyline, visible from many points along the Potomac River, from the Kennedy Center and Georgetown, and even from the sky when flying into Reagan National Airport.
Completely revamped, the new property blends the swinging ’60s feel of the original with a contemporary aesthetic intended to appeal to the millennial traveler.
The hotel’s 336 stylishly modern guest rooms, half of which offer large curving balconies, have some of Washington’s most Instagram-worthy views. Done up in a soothing color palette of whites, grays and dark woods with pops of rich red, the rooms feature abundant natural light thanks to the oversized windows.
The gorgeous bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling Zebrano marble, custom La Bottega amenities and diffusers emitting the hotel’s signature Red Flower Oakwood scent, including small tins of bath salts (ideal for a relaxing soak in the oversized deep tubs).
Tip: Ask for a river-view room for the best sights. And don’t miss a peek inside the closet, even if you’re the type to never unpack. We love the custom umbrellas from Mad Men designer Janie Bryant — they feature fashion sketches of the staff’s retro-chic uniforms.
The Food and Drink
The food is a highlight of The Watergate, with three different dining options that appeal to both guests and locals.
Weather permitting, it’s best to start the night with a cocktail at Top of the Gate, the hotel’s massive rooftop, which boasts 360-degree views of the Potomac River, the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. But chef Michael Santoro has envisioned the space as more than just a spot for cool cocktails — it also serves up Asian street food and grilled items from one of the city’s only robata grills.
In the cooler months, The Next Whisky Bar is a hot spot to sip something that warms you. Seamlessly integrated into the Washington, D.C., hotel lobby, the bar is set off by a custom curved wall of whiskey bottles that exude a warm glow. Nestle into custom-designed Ron Arad red chairs and order from the extensive list of whisky, bourbon and ryes. The best place in the house? Deep within the bar, which curves inward and inward like a nautilus shell, you’ll find a small nest of chairs for an intimately cozy experience that’s also right in the center of all the action.
When it comes time for the main meal, pop to Kingbird, the all-day American restaurant at the luxury hotel. Try the young chicken and liege waffle — a spinach and pancetta waffle topped with chicken, roasted foie gras and peach agrodolce.
Argentta Spa is poised to become one of the city’s must-visit wellness escapes. It’s all soothing grays and silvers (to complement the spa’s name, which means “silver” in Latin) and the 10,000-square-foot spa features seven treatment rooms (including one luxe couples suite) and a bevy of perks, including a unisex steam room, 49.2-foot indoor saltwater pool and whirlpool, a barre studio and a spacious gym with TechnoGym equipment.
Expect treatments by powerhouse brands like Caudalie, Cellcosmet and Red Flower.
Since it opened in 1961, The Watergate Hotel has been a name synonymous with D.C. cool. But after it closed nearly a decade ago, the hotel was left with naught but the infamous name and the building’s signature undulating lines to recommend it. World-renowned designers Ron Arad and Moroso took some creative liberty, tapping into avant-garde architecture with a nod to the mid-century mod that was so popular in the hotel’s heyday.
The design keeps intact some of the signature aspects of the space (the massive curving staircase and indoor pool) while re-envisioning others, like the custom metal of the front desk. We’re not normally ones to ooh and ahh over ballrooms, but the hotel’s signature Moretti Grand Ballroom is an exception.
Take in the intricate, Gucci gray marble on the walls and custom LED lightscape on the ceiling made to make you feel as if you’re under the night sky. The result: A luxurious experience that feels at once modern and like it’s been there decades.