The Watergate Hotel
What We Love
- The nostalgia that brings you back in the 70s, when the biggest political scandal in American history unfolded inside these walls
- Sipping an Old Fashioned at Top of the Gate, the hotel’s open-air rooftop bar with 360-degree river and skyline views
- The 15-meter saltwater lap pool next to the full-service spa
- Hobnobbing with the capital’s power players at Kingbird, the striking ground-floor restaurant
What To Know
- Most room categories have the option of city or river views
- Pets of up to 50 lbs. are allowed, but a $150 daily fee is charged
- Trendy neighborhoods like Georgetown or Dupont Circle are about 20 minutes away
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Its maxim may be “unapologetically luxurious,” but don’t expect traditional luxury at the Watergate Hotel, whose high-impact contemporary design is enhanced by a dose of irreverence. Working off the original 1967 structure designed by Luigi Moretti (a concrete-and-metal curvilinear building protected by The National Register of Historic Places), architect Ron Arad reinvented the interiors’ prominent sinuous shapes, covering them in sleek bent steel, polished timber, and glass vitrines. Playful touches alluding to the past are everywhere, including staff uniforms created by Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant and room key cards that read “no need to break in.” It’s an American icon reborn.
All 336 rooms have a seductive, rather masculine style conveyed by grey fabrics, dark wood accents, and eye-catching mid-century furnishings, plus all the amenities expected of a luxury hotel. Superior Rooms, the standard option, start at 260 square feet, while One Bedroom Suites start at 520 square feet. Marble-clad bathrooms are stocked with high-quality La Bottega products.
The Watergate is a significant addition to D.C.’s dining and nightlife scene, with alluring options like The Next Whisky Bar (named after lyrics by The Doors), where more than 2,000 bottles of whiskey, scotch, and bourbon are displayed in wall-to-wall curvaceous vitrines covering the entire space. Kingbird, the double-height restaurant on the ground floor, is a place to see and be seen while eating French and American classics like steak frites or lobster rolls. Unobstructed views of the Potomac River and the city skyline, plus Asian bites, are on offer at Top of the Gate, the rooftop lounge.
The Watergate Hotel, part of the 1960’s Watergate complex facing the Potomac River, is a lively addition to the centrally located but somewhat staid neighborhood of Foggy Bottom. The National Mall and its monuments are about a 20-minute walk away.
How to Get There
We paid a little extra to ensure a fancy weekend in DC. Spent a few hours at the pool, in the steam room and the sauna. There were no towels anywhere to be found. The staff was apologetic but did not resolve the issue. If you want to deliver a luxury experience for guests, running out of towels can not be in the cards.
Clean hotel. Inviting. Nice views of Potomac. Staff was very courteous and friendly. Wi-Fi worked great. Would stay there again. Walkable to Georgetown. Unique history of course - you can take a tour and they have a display with historic memorabilia
Among the reasons I'd chosen the hotel was the rooftop bar and the storied views. But the night I stayed there, I was informed the rooftop was booked for a private event. It looked like some kind of 30 year college reunion. In any case, I would have expected a property that bills its rooftop bar among its top amenities to at least offer to compensate me with a free breakfast, something, but no. Just apologies with a smile -- and some of the crappiest customer service i've ever seen.