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The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. [In-Depth Review]

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Michael Y. Park
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Michael Y. Park

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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
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There are only a handful of hotels that have earned a place as an ingrained part of popular culture — The Plaza in New York City, for example, or Raffles in Singapore. But arguably, only 2 have actually altered the English language: The Ritz in London (the source of the word “ritzy” and phrase “putting on the Ritz”) and The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., the reason why so major scandals since the 1970s are tagged with the “-gate” suffix.

Thus, as I’m both a history buff and a word geek, The Watergate Hotel was at the top of my list when my family of 3 planned a short visit to the nation’s capital in late April 2024.

Why don’t you accompany me by proxy as I recount our stay at American history’s most notorious hotel?

Booking The Watergate Hotel

I saw The Watergate Hotel listed on AmexTravel.com’s listing of Fine Hotels + Resorts the very first time I perused the site, and I never forgot, so I went there immediately once we’d decided on our D.C. trip.

I’d originally planned on staying in the Scandal Room, which had played a key role in the Watergate burglary, but the hotel had a rule against children staying in the room, and we were bringing our kindergartener. So I looked up a standard (or “Superior,” though there’s no lower tier) room with 2 double beds with an inside view. Base rates were $439 or 43,900 points, representing a redemption value of 1 cent per point — less than half our current valuation of Amex Membership Rewards points for 2.2 cents per point.

The Watergate Hotel FHR
Image Credit: AmexTravel.com

Knowing I could do better and wanting to earn more Amex points anyway, I paid the cash rate for 2 nights, earning 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent because I prepaid for the stay through AmexTravel.com. My total came to $1,093.89, and I earned 4,390 Amex points before taxes and fees.

The Watergate Hotel FHR
Image Credit: AmexTravel.com

Because I prepaid for my stay using The Platinum Card® from American Express, I received the prepaid hotel credit of up to $200 for the year.

There was a $33 urban resort fee, which, according to the hotel website, entitled us to free coffee and tea from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the lobby; access to the pool, sauna, steam room, and 24-hour fitness center; free use of the hotel bicycles; handling of incoming packages and delivery of said packages to our room; Wi-Fi; complimentary in-room bottled water; free local and long-distance domestic calls; and the 24-hour-a-day business center.

History of The Watergate Hotel

The Watergate complex, of which The Watergate Hotel is just a single component, was beset with controversy even before it was built in this once-blighted industrial zone. The design, which called for introducing then-revolutionary curvy architecture to D.C.’s skyline, created a rift with its neighbor, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which was going up nearly simultaneously in the mid-1960s. Critics feared the much taller mixed-used complex would overshadow the flat, pagoda-like cultural center. It took years of legal wrangling, with the Watergate’s design undergoing several changes, before the Kennedy Center was placated.

The Watergate, which is mostly residential, was an instant hit and became the most desired address in D.C. — high-ranking politicians, celebrities, and the wealthiest families called (and continue to call) its 3 residential buildings home. Residents include or have included actress Elizabeth Taylor and then-husband Sen. John Warner; Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Sen. Bob Dole and his powerful wife Elizabeth, a perennial cabinet member; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice; opera tenor Placido Domingo; so-called “father of the credit card” Arthur Bloomingdale; conservative thinker, ambassador, and Time Inc. founder’s widow Clare Booth Luce; and too many more to list here.

But the reason everyone knows the Watergate now is because of what happened in 1972 in one of the complex’s 2 office buildings and in room 214 of The Watergate Hotel. That, of course, is the year that President Richard Nixon’s “White House Plumbers” — the common nickname for the shady group of operatives furthering the administration’s interests by “plugging the leaks” in less-than-ethical ways — were caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in the Watergate Office Building. They were planting bugs to sabotage the presidential campaign of Nixon’s challenger, Sen. George McGovern. Room 214 in the hotel was where fellow conspirators G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt used a radio to monitor the burglars’ movements.

The Nixon administration’s cover-up of the scandal, along with the work of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and revelations from an anonymous informant (FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt, known for decades only as “Deep Throat”), brought down the Nixon administration and led to the only presidential resignation in U.S. history. From then on, the Watergate affair has inflected the very names of major scandals even in countries where English isn’t spoken.

From the mid-1980s, the hotel languished, with several changes in ownership and management. In the early 2000s, the hotel closed for a major renovation that ended up lasting 9 years. It finally reopened in 2016 with 336 rooms, including the Scandal Room, the new designation for the infamous (and still rentable) room 214. The flashy, $125 million new look got rave reviews nationally and notably leaned fully into Watergate’s reputation for 1970s intrigue.

The Watergate Hotel Location

The Watergate Hotel is in Washington, D.C., right across the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway from the banks of the Potomac River. It’s in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of D.C. and next to the Kennedy Center, but we spent more time in the adjacent neighborhood of Georgetown, which was easily accessible by foot via the Washington Harbour complex.

Watergate DC balcony sunset
The Watergate Hotel is on the Potomac River in Foggy Bottom and near Georgetown.

The hotel is a 20-minute drive almost directly east of Dulles International Airport (IAD) and about 10 minutes almost directly south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). From our balcony, we regularly saw planes in the midst of their descent to Reagan National.

Of course, you might have to double — or triple — those drive-time figures (especially for Dulles) if you decide to take on D.C.’s infamously congested traffic during rush hour.

Though we’d driven to the hotel, we exclusively used the city’s robust public transportation system to get around within the city. The Washington Metro station we used was Foggy Bottom-GWU, on the campus of George Washington University and a smidge more than 5 minutes away by foot.

We could’ve walked south from the hotel to the Lincoln Memorial by foot in 20 minutes or east to the White House in 25. Taking the Metro to the Smithsonian station (a central hub for the National Mall and many of the museums) took about 25 minutes, from which it was less than a 10-minute walk to the Washington Monument. The Metro to the Capitol South station on the U.S. Capitol grounds took around 30 minutes.

Checking In

We arrived a little after noon, strolled in with our luggage, and checked in at reception. Street parking wasn’t practical near the hotel, so we used the valet, which was $58 a night ($75 for oversized vehicles).

Watergate entrance sign day
Fake cherry blossoms wreathed the hotel’s name at the entrance.

Booking the rooms via Amex Fine Hotel + Resorts entitled me to the following benefits: early check-in (noon), late checkout (4 p.m.), complimentary daily breakfast for 2, a $100 hotel credit, and free Wi-Fi.

We were also entitled to a free room upgrade, which we got. Instead of an inward-facing Superior Room, we got a Deluxe River Room with 2 full beds.

Watergate DC reception
The Watergate’s interior look in a nutshell? Chrome and curves.

The desk agent ran through the list of perks we got and handed us 2 key cards, low-key brownish-gray rectangles that said, “No need to break in.” We took the elevator up to our room and found a welcome gift of 2 Saratoga waters (1 sparkling, 1 flat), dried apricots, mixed nuts, and 2 granola nut bars, which were tasty, along with a welcome note from the chief sales officer.

Watergate DC welcome gift
The granola nut bars were excellent. I hogged them both.

Amenities

The Watergate didn’t have a golf course, virtual-reality golfing, or daily shark feedings, instead relying on its cachet and location as amenities. It did have extras, though.

Pool

The saltwater pool was heated and 50 feet long — quite large for most hotels that aren’t beach resorts. It had 3 lap lanes and was intended for adults, but kids were welcome, and families seemed to use it more than athletic swimmers during our stay.

Watergate DC pool
The saltwater pool in the basement was huge by most hotels’ standards.

The whirlpool tub was also larger than the ones at most hotels, featured in-water loungers, and was also more popular with families than solo adults.

Watergate DC hot tub
The hot tub near the pool was larger than the usual 4-person hotel Jacuzzi.

The bathroom that the pool and spa shared, by the way, was oddly shaped and so big it could’ve been its own guest room in a lower-end hotel.

Watergate DC pool bathroom
I’ve stayed in standard hotel rooms that were smaller than the bathroom for the pool and gym.

Gym

The gym was large and had plenty of equipment, from step machines and cycles to toning machines and so on.

Watergate DC gym
The hotel had a decent-sized gym with a good variety of equipment.

There was also a corner with free weights and a carafe of cold water on a table.

Watergate DC gym free weights
There was a decent number of free weights and a small bench, too.

Spa

The Argentta Spa was in the basement and served as the gateway to the pool and other amenities. During our entire stay, I didn’t see a single client or staffer here.

Watergate DC Argentta Spa seats
I never saw anyone occupy these seats (or man the desk) at the spa.

The men’s locker room, through the spa and on the way to the pool, was full of weird angles but was big.

Watergate DC gym mens room
The locker room was giant and shaped like an angular jigsaw puzzle piece.

The sauna, likewise, was huge but basically a steamy ghost town every time I passed it.

Watergate DC sauna
The sauna was big.

Meeting Rooms

Believe it or not, the basement meeting rooms were where all the action was during our stay. Every conference room was filled, mostly with World Bank executives and financiers from big-name banks, and many of the attendees were also hotel guests.

Watergate DC meeting rooms
The meeting rooms in the basement of the hotel were possibly the busiest part of the hotel during our stay, packed with international finance types.

Business Center

Despite the plethora of top-tier financiers at the hotel during our stay, I saw only a single person using the business center. It had 3 computers, a printer, and an odd corner full of the kinds of things you need to make a last-minute run to Staples for once every couple of years.

Watergate DC business center
I only ever saw 1 person use the hotel’s business center. Do real business people actually use business centers?

Scandal Room

My original idea was to book the Scandal Suite, formerly room 214, which G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt used as their secret station to monitor the Plumbers’ progress as they broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the office section of the Watergate Complex.

The room got a themed makeover in 2017, with period objects from the early 1970s that the conspirators might have used, including binoculars, a manual typewriter, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and books from the era. (It also has modern amenities like a flat-screen TV). The bathrobes were embroidered with the phrase “Cover up.”

The hotel, however, doesn’t permit anyone under 18 to stay in the room, so an overnight stay was out of the question. The hotel offers tours of the room to guests, but it was booked during our stay, so I wasn’t able to go inside.

Shops

When the Watergate Complex was built, it included a lower-level retail shopping center that was meant to reflect the concept of a city within a city.

There was a dry cleaner, a breakfast pastry place, a florist, a liquor store, a travel agency, and the like during our stay. But the cafe seemed closed permanently, and many of the shops seemed closed or unmanned, and they all were obviously suffering from a lack of business. The whole place seemed to have taken a turn to permanent disrepair, and these businesses looked like they were trying to claw their way out of the literal sublevel of irrelevancy. (Brick-and-mortar travel agency in 2024?) It was so desolate down there that it felt spooky and uncomfortable to stay for more than a few minutes.

Watergate DC shops
The shopping center in the belly of the complex was a ghost town.

Wi-Fi

Though we’d been promised good Wi-Fi service during our stay, getting a decent connection turned out to be like one of the 12 labors of Hercules.

Assuming the Wi-Fi we were intended to use was the standard Wi-Fi network with The Watergate Hotel name, I logged on with my phone to find the connection good enough for basic emails and texts but not great for much more than that, much less streaming videos. Plus, it was unstable and frequently disconnected without warning.

Watergate DC Speedtest
The original Wi-Fi speeds were so slow and unstable as to be unusable.

When I asked at the front desk about the Wi-Fi, the clerk looked surprised and told me to use the “exclusive” Wi-Fi network, which didn’t have an obvious name and required a password. He told me it was the one the staff used.

The speeds on that network were much improved, and they were now fine for streaming videos. (Don’t judge me: I don’t normally stream movies on my phone on work trips or with my family. This was just for this review.)

Watergate DC Speedtest
When reception gave me the “real” Wi-Fi, it was much improved — but it stopped working for guests and staff alike sometime the next morning, never to return.

The next morning, however, I found that I’d been logged out of that network. What’s more, when I tried to log back in, the password that’d worked before came back as invalid. On our way out of the hotel after breakfast, I asked at reception what had happened. The desk agent, a man I hadn’t dealt with before, was as befuddled as I was.

“It hasn’t been working for me since last night, either,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what’s going on with it. We can let you know when it’s been fixed.”

We were leaving later that day, so I told him not to bother, but I never found out why the password had been changed without anyone, including staff, being told.

The Room

Our room was down a hallway with retro 1970s-patterned carpeting that looked like it could’ve used a refresh (it had been nearly a decade since the renovation, after all). It was starting to show signs of wear, and it was hard not to notice a scrap of paper (it looked like part of the wrapper for a drinking straw) that lay on the carpet between guest rooms for almost our entire 3-day stay without being picked up. We never heard anyone vacuuming the halls.

Watergate DC room hallways
I know they were intentionally retro, but the carpets and hallways could probably use a refresh about now.

The room, however, was clean, bright and airy, and the beds were made up with crisp linens.

Watergate DC beds
Our room and the beds were clean and comfortable.

The desk was set right against the window. It held the coffee maker and coffee accoutrements on a breakfast tray, as well as a lamp, notepad, pen, and landline telephone.

Watergate DC desk
The desk had a commanding view of the Potomac.

Our complimentary water, TV remote, an ad for the spa, and thumbed-through copy of Washingtonian magazine waited on the shared nightstand. There were 3-prong power outlets, USB-A ports, and climate control above them. But the USB-A ports were worn to the point of looking like they might pop out of their setting.

Watergate DC nightstand
A thumbed-through copy of Washingtonian magazine and 2 bottles of water awaited us.

The closet contained a full-size ironing board and iron, a Watergate-branded umbrella, 1 bathrobe, and a safe.

Watergate DC closet robe
The safe was on the other side of the closet.

The minifridge, next to the closet, was packed to the brim with nips of booze, soft drinks, beers, and juices that were not complimentary. We had enough room to stick our complimentary Saratoga waters in the door to cool and, later, a small brown bag of leftovers from a local restaurant.

Watergate DC minibar
The booze and soft drinks in the minifridge were not free.

Above the minifridge were red-crystal drinking glasses (2 wine glasses and 2 martini-glass-shaped rocks glasses), overpriced snacks, and an ice bucket that the staff refilled every day with ice.

Bathroom

The marble bathroom was done up in the grays, whites, and blacks of an administration-shattering newspaper headline, and was all understated luxury. The room’s other bathrobe hung here, a plush La Bottega with the Watergate logo.

Watergate DC room bathroom
The bathroom looked great in various shades of white, gray, and black.

We had the usual toiletries, such as soap, lotion, a shower cap, and shampoo, all bearing The Watergate Hotel branding.

Watergate DC bathroom amenities
The soap, lotion, and nearly everything else carried The Watergate Hotel branding.

The shower continued the clean, shades-of-gray marble look. The shower’s water pressure was good, and we had no complaints about its cleanliness or the toilet.

Watergate DC shower amenities
G. Gordon Liddy obviously never had to use the first 2.

As soon as I entered the bathroom for the first time, however, I saw that the sink still had a brown flake of something unidentifiable in it. (I was the first person in the bathroom from our group.) I rinsed it down the drain before anyone else used it, but it left me feeling that the sink was relatively unclean — housekeeping could have done a better job, especially noticeable in a sink as starkly white as this one.

Watergate DC bathroom sink
An unpleasant speck in the bathroom sink.

Balcony

The best feature of the room was the river view, and we spent quite a lot of time on the balcony. In the mornings, we could see several teams of crew rowers putting their boats into the river and going out on the Potomac. My wife and son spent an evening on the balcony painting the view.

Watergate DC balcony river view
In the mornings, you could see and hear crew teams take their boats out onto the Potomac.

The balcony wasn’t particularly clean but did show the wear and soot you’d expect from a decades-old outdoor space right over a traffic-filled parkway. Despite us overlooking a thoroughfare, noise wasn’t an issue during our stay, and the balcony door was soundproofed well.

The interior view was of one of the complex’s courtyards, including a pool that was still covered for the season.

Watergate DC balcony garden view
The balcony afforded a view of part of the rest of the complex and the covered pool.

Food and Beverage

The hotel had 1 restaurant and 2 bars, and staff set up a table with coffee and tea for guests in the lobby every morning.

Kingbird Restaurant

We had breakfast every morning in the Kingbird Restaurant, taking advantage of the Fine Hotels + Resort complimentary breakfast for 2 and figuring the $100 hotel credit would cover our son’s breakfasts.

It was open for breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 to 10 a.m. on weekends; for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends; and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It was closed for dinner on Sunday.

You could take a staircase down from the lobby to the restaurant or take an elevator to the first basement level. Though it was technically floor B1, it opened up to the back of a hill and faced trees and the river, so it was more like a garden level than a basement, full of natural light and showing lots of greenery.

The curvy chrome look of the lobby continued down here, and the wooden chandeliers mimicked the spiral teardrop of the hotel’s logo. The chairs were specially designed for the restaurant to reflect the original curvy architectural design of the Watergate Hotel.

Watergate DC Kingbird seating
Like the chrome trunk of a chrome tree.

We ordered à la carte, as did most of the diners we saw. The first morning we ate here, it was largely empty, but the second morning, it was swamped with World Bank executives on expense accounts, holding forth with each other about the state of the world’s financial systems and the Manhattan real estate market versus San Francisco’s.

The standard American breakfast of eggs, sausages, and potato hash came with a fried tomato. It wasn’t remarkable and pretty much what you’d expect from a high-priced hotel restaurant, cooked technically to the precise order. It wasn’t worth the $22 menu price — though I suppose that’s the standard for a World-Bank-on-an-expense-account budget.

Watergate DC eggs and sausage
The Watergate’s take on a traditional American breakfast of eggs, sausage, and potatoes.

The mushroom omelet gushed out gooey fontina cheese and mushrooms at the first cut — it was generously stuffed. Again, it was a beautiful, technically proficient omelet (with a frisée salad, of course), but it wasn’t actually that tasty and needed a lot more seasoning. (And I’m usually a guy who complains about dishes being oversalted nowadays.) The salad supposedly came with truffle vinaigrette, but I didn’t detect any of it. I finished a little more than half of the omelet, which was listed for $25.

Watergate DC Kingbird mushroom omelet
The mushrooms and cheese poured out of the omelet at the first cut.

Strangely for a New Yorker who has almost never found a decent bagel outside of New York City or Montréal, the bagel with smoked salmon and olive-and-sundried-tomato cream cheese was my favorite breakfast here. The bagels were fine (for toasted, non-New York, non-Montréal bagels), but the salmon was hearty and luscious, and the capers were so large I had to check with my wife and the server before I was assured I wasn’t eating a pickled alien seed pod. This dish, naturally, was called the New Yorker and cost $27.

Watergate DC Kingbird bagel salmon
Even though it was hours from New York, the bagel and lox were my favorite breakfast here.

The avocado toast came with 2 perfectly poached eggs over freshly mashed avocado and toast, with a salad on the side. It was quite good (and $24).

Watergate DC poached eggs avocado
Those were some perfectly poached eggs.

Our son’s pancakes came with fresh fruit but a haphazard sprinkling of confectioners sugar, as if it had received its portion only as splash damage from the garnishing of another dish, or somewhat like how only 1 pant leg might get splashed when a city bus lumbers through a puddle at 25 miles per hour and sprays you — but only 1 side of you — as you stand on the sidewalk.

He finished it, and he’s a picky eater, so it couldn’t have been bad. I’m not sure how the menu designer could’ve listed it for $25 without falling out of his or her chair in hysterics, though.

Watergate DC Kingbird pancakes
As a parent anxiously watching his kindergartener navigate pouring his maple syrup onto his pancakes by himself in his last set of clean travel clothes, I greatly appreciated the spout built into the ramekin of syrup.

The buffet, which we only saw people use on World Bank morning, was stationed between 2 chrome columns that looked like the necks of the ring-wearing women of Myanmar and South Africa. At over $40 a pop and considering none of us were planning on stuffing ourselves, it didn’t seem a great value, though the pastries were tempting.

Watergate DC Kingbird buffet
It was impossible for me to pass the breakfast buffet without thinking of the neck-ring-wearing Kayan women of Myanmar or Ndebele women of South Africa.

The service at the Kingbird was noticeably less friendly than in other parts of the hotel, with slow service and smiles or even the briefest of conversations (even a “Good morning!”) being rare. It improved the second day, but it felt like we were being served by people nursing a hangover or who just didn’t want to be there.

Room Service

On our final night at the hotel, anticipating a long day at the airport and wanting us all to get as much rest as possible, I tried to order room service using its dedicated line on the phone in the room. I tried a couple of times, only to get a machine that asked us to try again later. Eventually, I called down to the front desk to ask what was up and got an audibly flustered agent (this was the day a growing number of attendees for the World Bank meetings began to crowd the lobby and other parts of the hotel). He told me it looked like the person in charge of managing room service had left her station, presumably for something work-related, and that he’d have her get back to me as soon as she returned.

I never got that call, and we instead ended up just eating the leftovers from a Foggy Bottom restaurant we’d gone to the day before, Founding Farmers (good food, spotty service).

The Next Whisky Bar

Yes, that’s a Doors reference, and even though “Alabama Song” was released in 1967, you can pretend it’s actually also about David Bowie’s 1978 take on the Bertolt Brecht classic so that you can split the difference and The Watergate Hotel can keep its 1972-era cred intact.

The Next Whisky Bar was a fun bar, at least design-wise, and I thought it was an utter shame that we never saw anyone in here drinking the entire time we were there. I can’t even recall seeing a bartender on duty here whenever I passed through (though, admittedly, that was usually during the day).

Watergate DC lobby bar
The chairs in the lobby bar looked like red felt tulips.

It continued the hotel’s curviness but had its own alcohol-infused take. Curving walls of empty liquor bottles led drinkers to the bar or to the inside of a spiral, where a cozy nook beckoned. The red, tulip-like chairs were, like the restaurant chairs, designed specifically for the 2016 renovation to bring the hotel back to its scandal-era roots.

Watergate Hotel lobby bar secret seats
This hideaway nook in the bar was a nice private nook, but we never saw anyone take advantage of it.

Top of the Gate

I made a single visit to the rooftop bar, Top of the Gate, during my stay, but it appeared to be 1 more visit than anyone else. It was cold after dark, so the bar employees were closing up after a quiet night.

Watergate DC rooftop bar
The bar had a great view of the city and river at night but it was empty when I visited.

The bar looked like it would’ve been an excellent place to catch river and city views with colleagues and a couple of rounds of drinks on a warmer night.

Watergate DC rooftop bar seating
On warmer nights, the rooftop bar would be a great place to take in the capital.

Service

The staff was enthusiastic and friendly but stretched thin. It was most apparent as they struggled to keep up with the needs of a sudden influx of international financiers for convention meetings at the hotel. But it also showed in the unmanned counters at the lobby bar and spa, the detritus that should’ve been picked up, the all-around weirdness with the Wi-Fi, and the lack of follow-up to the AWOL room service.

We stayed from Sunday to Tuesday, so it was hard to tell if we were dealing with weekday staffing levels unprepared for a weekend-level surge of conventioneers or if management is trying to keep costs down by relying on a skeleton staff. Either way, this wasn’t a good look for a hotel that proclaims itself to be a 5-star destination.

Final Thoughts

The Watergate Hotel has leaned into its history and location since its renovation — and, judging by our visit, it has to.

Well-meaning and hard-working staff couldn’t hide the fact that there weren’t enough of them to cover the bases and prevent the odd, minor lapses that add up over a stay. The food was technically proficient and visually appealing, but, more importantly, it wasn’t actually delicious enough to warrant a special visit.

It’s a good thing that the hotel has such a convenient and attractive riverside perch, then, as the water views are stunning, and Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, and the National Mall are so easy to get to.

Our room was clean and comfortable and a great place to recover after long days soaking in our national history. And, speaking of history, I’d still list The Watergate as a must-do for history buffs and especially people fascinated by tales of Nixonian shenanigans — the design is almost its own Washington, D.C., monument to a dark moment in American history that redefined and possibly broke our trust in government, for good and ill.

So, yes, history buffs: Stay at The Watergate Hotel for the thrill of a night in an elegantly redesigned, living historical monument. Just don’t plan on a repeat visit. I don’t.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Watergate Hotel part of Fine Hotels + Resorts?

Yes, The Watergate Hotel participates in the American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts program and can be booked via AmexTravel.com.

Is there parking at The Watergate Hotel?

Street parking is possible but not reliable near the hotel. Valet parking is $58 a day ($75 for oversized vehicles).

Where is The Watergate Hotel?

The Watergate Hotel is located within the Watergate Complex in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Is The Watergate Hotel where the Watergate break-in happened?

Not the break-in. The Watergate burglary took place in the Watergate Complex, but in one of its office buildings. The Watergate Hotel, also part of the complex, is where Nixon henchmen G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt monitored the burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters via radio. Specifically, they were in what was then room 214 of the hotel.

Can you rent the burglary room at The Watergate Hotel?

Yes, you can stay in the Scandal Room (formerly room 214) of the hotel, where so-called “White House Plumbers” G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt used radios to monitor the progress of the burglars as they broke into the Democratic National Committee in a nearby office building inside the Watergate Complex. Children are not allowed to stay in the Scandal Room, however.

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About Michael Y. Park

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and queen of Malaysia, tramped around organic farms in Cuba, ridden the world’s longest train through the Sahara, and choked down gasoline clams in North Korea.

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