Hotel Preview: The Watergate Hotel

The Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, is set to open this fall, and we got our hands on the latest details behind the $125 million renovation of the historic property.

Promising a "modern reinvention from its scandalous past," Ron Arad Architects has been tapped to design the lobby, whisky bar and restaurant. Here's a quick preview:

"In its heyday, The Watergate Hotel was a playground for powerful people.  My vision was to recreate that by celebrating Moretti’s original design and updating it with modern, luxurious details that guests and locals will value," said Rakel Cohen, vice president of design and development, at property owners Euro Capital Properties. 

The historic hotel, which debuted in the 1960s, was originally designed by Italian architect Luigi Moretti.

“I have a confession to make: our initial attraction to this project was actually the Watergate scandal. It is fantastic that this starting point led us to work on a project that also has such a great architectural legacy. Working within such a significant period piece, you can’t ignore the context, but at the same time you don’t want to mimic it. Instead, you want to create something complementary, but most importantly, something new,” said Ron Arad.  “We have tried to enhance Moretti’s original curves using our own, while at the same time influencing the anticipated flow of people through the spaces. To honor Moretti, we introduced a brilliant Italian fabricator to the project as a way of completing the cycle.”

In addition to the lobby and whiskey bar, Ron Arad has also carved out a new double-height space to house two new restaurants. The fine dining restaurant is wrapped by a distinctive red, curving banquette and features bespoke upholstered dining chairs - the ‘Watergate Chair’ - designed by Ron Arad especially for The Watergate Hotel, and manufactured by the Italian furniture company Moroso. The casual dining restaurant, which runs nearly half the length of the entire building, functions as the main eating and drinking space.

For accommodations, the hotel will have 337 guestrooms, five deluxe Diplomat Suires and two Presidential Suites. 

Finally, a rooftop lounge will have 360-degree views of the river and the Washington Monument.