Watergate Hotel Reopens, Plays on Scandalous History

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The Watergate Hotel, Washington DC, Washington, Watergate, themed events
The Watergate Hotel

The historic Watergate Hotel—yes, the one involved in the scandal that led to the resignation of President Nixon in 1974—reopened its doors on June 14 after being closed for renovations since 2007.

The reopening gala in Washington, D.C., used the scandal to its advantage with Mad Men-esque office desks set up for attendee check-in and appetizer trays with faux newspaper headlines reading “Nixon Resigns.” That tongue-and-cheek play on the hotel’s history also translated into its decor with key cards that read “no need to break in” and pens transcribed with “stolen from The Watergate Hotel.”

When the original hotel opened in March 1967, it was designed to look like a sail on the Potomac River while also incorporating the 1960s-era style that epitomized the look and feel of the times. After a $125 million renovation, the 336-room hotel still very much plays on that mid-century design and features restored, original structures such as the staircase and indoor pool.

The hotel’s F&B outlets, all overseen by Executive Chef Michael Santoro, also add to its appeal. Kingbird features American cuisine with a French twist, while The Next Whisky Bar features an expansive spirit list of whisky, bourbon and rye as well as a variety of cigars available for purchase. Top of the Gate will debut this summer, featuring 360-degree views of the Potomac River, Capitol and Washington Monument from the hotel’s rooftop. The rooftop lounge, a first for the hotel, will feature signature cocktails and Asian street food.

Also opening this simmer is the Argentta Spa, a 12,000-sf facility with eight treatment suites as well as a 15-yard indoor, saltwater pool, whirlpool, aqua aerobic space, barre studio and gym. Groups will meet in the hotel’s 27,000 sf of indoor-outdoor space, including 10,000 sf of outdoor space overlooking the Potomac.

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