Yes, that Watergate. Even before E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy checked into Room 214 to orchestrate a break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the adjacent office complex, The Watergate was mired in controversy. When Italian architect Luigi Moretti unveiled his plans for the complex, one critic called the modern design “as appropriate as a strip dancer performing at your grandmother’s funeral.” Still, when the hotel opened in 1967, its glamourous style drew DC power players, models, and the Hollywood elite.
Today, the crowd is less inclined to scandal (we hope), but the design, renovated by Ron Arad in 2016, reimagines the hotel’s heyday. In the oh-so-sleek lobby, staffers sport uniforms designed by Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, while the bartenders at Next Whiskey craft drinks stiff enough for a Don Draper bender behind a wall of 2,500 custom-designed backlit whiskey bottles. The 336 rooms follow suit, with Mid-Century-inspired furnishings and, often, spacious balconies, while the can’t-miss rooftop bar has some of the city’s best Potomac views.
The most famous room is now 205 (formerly 214), which has been transformed into the Scandal Room (from $1,299/night), hung with ’70s-era newspaper clippings and quotes (“I am not a crook!”) and outfitted with a retro typewriter and listening equipment.
No matter which room you book, it’s not the toiletries you’ll be stuffing in your suitcase; it’s the pencils. They’re downright criminal, embossed with the phrase “I Stole This From The Watergate Hotel.”
From $319/night; www.thewatergatehotel.com