WASHINGTON, D.C. — Infamy has its perks – just ask The Watergate Hotel.
Thanks to a U.S. political scandal that’s famous the world over, the Washington, D.C. hotel benefits from the kind of name recognition other brands can only dream of.
And while you might think that association with a scandal would be bad news – it certainly was for President Nixon – for The Watergate Hotel, it’s true what they say: there’s no such thing as bad PR.
During a recent visit it was clear to see that The Watergate Hotel has a sense of fun when it comes to its storied past. Cheeky messages on the hotel key cards remind guests there’s “no need to break in” and “make sure the recorder is off”.
The luxury property is coming off an especially high-profile year, marking Watergate’s 50th anniversary with a promotion that included packaged stays in the ‘Scandal Suite’ where, 50 years ago, a lookout team including E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy used two-way radios and binoculars to keep watch as five burglars broke into the Democratic National Convention office next door, in the Watergate complex office building.
This year’s special ‘Scandal Suite’ packages complete with add-ons were available for a limited time, to coincide with the June 2022 anniversary of that famous – or infamous – night. But guests at The Watergate Hotel can still book the Scandal Suite, i.e. room 214, year-round based on availability. It’s an in-demand room, especially for politics and history buffs.
Decked out in black and white decor, with high-impact hits of red, the Scandal Suite has all sorts of vintage accoutrements in keeping with the Watergate vibe. There’s a reel-to-reel tape recorder – no doubt Nixon would have been impressed – and an Olivetti Lettera typewriter. Guests can relax in modern comfort, meanwhile, in a queen size bed. And the luxe bathroom is all black marble and silver (with complimentary bathrobes marked, naturally, as ‘Cover Up’).
The real standout in the room is the gallery wall, featuring newspaper front pages from the turbulent times. ‘Nixon Resigns’ blares the inches-tall headline in the Daily News. ‘Nixon Quits’ was the choice of the London Herald. Amidst all the headlines, there are choice quotes from Nixon himself: “When the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.”
And of course, there’s Nixon’s very brief and to-the-point resignation letter, dated Aug. 9, 1974. With all the focus on the June 1972 night at the Watergate, it’s easy to forget that Nixon did win re-election in 1972, cruising to a decisive victory. But his second term in office didn’t last long.
The Watergate Hotel makes the most of its famous history, and rightly so. But the property also has a lot to offer anyone visiting Washington, D.C. for business or leisure. A great location in Foggy Bottom, at the western edge of Georgetown, puts guests in close proximity to all the shops, restaurants, pubs and more that have made the neighbourhood’s M St. NW such a draw for visitors and locals. A 10-minute walk to the Foggy Bottom-GWU metro station puts guests on track to all of Washington, D.C.’s historic sites.
The Watergate Hotel is also home to its own restaurant, Kingbird, and The Next Whiskey Bar, plus the stunning Top of the Gate, a rooftop lounge with 360-degree views of the Kennedy Center, the Potomac, Washington Monument and the city skyline.
Operating as a hotel since 1967 (when it created a scandal of its own, long before Nixon, because of its ground-breaking architectural style), the property saw various owners from the 1980s through the early 2000s. On June 1, 2016 it reopened under its current ownership with a brand new stylish look.
For more details see https://www.thewatergatehotel.