The Watergate Hotel Renovation Is a Nod to Both Camelot and CREEP

Everything old is new again, by design.

Pre-reno Watergate. [Photo credit: Sarah Stierch via Wikimedia Commons]

Pre-reno Watergate. [Photo credit:  Sarah Stierch via Wikimedia Commons]
Pre-reno Watergate. [Photo credit: Sarah Stierch via Wikimedia Commons]
Credit:
The Watergate Hotel, namesake of all gates that followed, has had many housing identities both before and after its scandal-that-brought-down-a-presidency past. For the last nine years, it had none, racking up utility bills as plans for a remodel went unfulfilled and owners kept drifting in and out of Watergate’s life, until Euro Capital Properties went through with its vision for the hotel.

That vision is the past, updated. From a Vanity Fair piece on the hotel, as it prepares for a grand opening in June:

Everything at the hotel, except the exterior, pool, and stairwell, has been refurbished by Ron Arad to reflect the place’s heritage.

[Euro svp Rakel] Cohen is so nostalgic for the 1960s and early 70s that she hired Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant to make the staff uniforms. “Everything old is new again,” says Bryant, who created ensembles for everyone from the maids to the doormen.

She combed through old magazines, including many in the Condé Nast archive, “not to re-create, but for inspiration.” Bryant adds, “I wanted to express that era in a modern way,” although she says the “feel” is definitely more Camelot than Nixonian.

That the hotel is more, rather than exclusively, of the Kennedy era is key, because its nods to the Nixon era are fun. According to VF’s Stephanie Green, there’s a room key that snags you a “no need to break in” message at check in, as well as “recordings of Nixon’s speeches…played occasionally in the powder rooms.”

Sounds eerie and also perfect Washingtonian, where even D.C.’s ghosts are power players.