Ron Arad’s mission was to bring the natural landscape and architecture from the local area into the hotel. The building’s façade and the Potomac river inspired him to try to recreate an enormous luxury yacht, through curved lines, marble and shiny metal.
Closed since 2007, and later sold at auction, the Watergate has reopened its doors, financed by Jacques and Rakel Cohen, and blessed with the creative touch of Israeli designer Ron Arad. Their intention is to recover the aura of luxury and exclusivity radiated by the residential and office complex before the scandal. Far from concealing its blemished history, the hotel pays tribute to it through a host of innuendos and allusions. The message “No need to break in” is written on the electronic keys, while the free pens carry the phrase “I stole this pen at the Watergate Hotel”. The typeface used on all the hotel documents was inspired by the legal documents from the scandal, and the customer service phone number ends 6-17-1972, in honour of that infamous night. But that’s not all: in the background music played in the bathrooms, you can hear fragments from speeches by Nixon.
The restoration has preserved the original façade by Luigi Moretti, which evokes the sails of a boat, as well as the main staircase and indoor pool. Over six years, the new owners have invested 179 million euros to complete the 336 rooms (including 24 premiere suites, six diplomat suites and two presidential ones), a restaurant, a bar, a spa measuring over 1,000 square metres, two swimming pools, and a ballroom for conferences and events. The terrace bar, Top of the Gate, offers panoramic views of the city, including over the Potomac river, the Cathedral, Capitol Building and Washington Monument.