Eaton DC, Washington D.C.
Will Ross, December 8, 2018
Despite the turbulence of U.S. politics, a hotel half a mile north of Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill remains defiant, serving up an unrivalled range of businesses at a central venue. Opened in September 2018, Eaton DC is a highlight for the capital with the hospitality offering existing within a small ecosystems for half a dozen businesses. The hotel’s 209 bedrooms, gym and wellness area are accompanied by a radio station, a speakeasy bar, a shoebox-sized news stand, one coffee shop and Japanese-themed restaurant on the ground level, with a rooftop bar occupying a premier setting up top. This eclecticism is further paired with intimate customer service, ideal for solo travellers looking for guidance, or for groups looking for an authoritative nudge during their stay in capital.
Eaton DC sits as a hotel beneath the Eaton Workshop brand, an offering which follows in the wake of a growth in a number of discerning hotel groups that brush up as members-only clubs. In the case of EW, the clout of Great Eagle, owners of Langham Hospitality Group, is refreshed with new notes from community-driven hospitality to attract the most creative visitors to Washington. Also eliding with the workspace concept and the broader dismantlement of work-life distance, MD Kimberley Lo aims to cultivate the “ultimate utopian gathering place for global innovators and creatives who seek to change the world.” And indeed, EW does a good job at creating a meeting point between hospitality and wellness, at the same time establishing a physical foundation for social change.
During the few minutes of my check-in, I was introduced to the progressive agenda, messaging which remained prominent after the September opening. A memorable fulfilment of the hotel’s approach to inspire and facilitate impact came in the form of a gemstone, offered once all check-in administration was completed. My version of this warm embrace asked me to decide between two gemstones, one promising Balance and the other Energy, equally sized items that I could slip into my pocket. With Balance in my possession, I continued with my stay by heading through the cool corridors to my lodgings.
My bedroom was located on the third floor, decorated in soothing interiors with a range of distractions. A series of records were stacked on the shelf, including Roxy Music’s Flesh + Blood, Lou Reed’s New Sensations and another EP from November Group. Alongside the music, literature include Full Frontal Feminism (Valenti), Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America (Juan Gonzalez) and Jill Freedman’s Resurrection City, 1968. These careful pieces of media mirrored the hotel’s commitment to content and community, matched by an assortment of refreshments from the mini bar. The inevitable Kombucha (Health-Ade) was exceeded by Moringa Green Energy from Kuli Kuli, and alkaline spring water from Flow, a reminder that we are in Peak Water. Snacks range from Popped Chickpeatos (chickpea puffs), Alter Eco Coconut Clusters, Neurogum and the prevalent Sustain Natural Condoms.
Solid furnishings included a small writing area, a lounge chair, a refined, two-person sofa and a chest of six drawers below enough shelf space to store a few items. Grown Alchemist toiletries scented shower time with Damask Rose and Chamomile, while the Sweet Orange, Cedarwood and Sage hand wash was used more liberally. Without doubt, the rejuvenating interiors and curated refreshments form a foundation for the hotel, meeting the standards set by the likes of Hoxton, Ace Hotel and Proper Hotel.
Yet without doubt, the community feel of the Eaton DC sets it up there with the best of the Hoxton and Ace properties, meeting the needs of industrious locals as well a curious visitors. Fronting the hotel is American Son from Chef Tim Ma of Kyirisan, a Michelin-rated French-Chinese highlight in D.C.. At American Son, Ma’s Chinese heritage has helped inform a restaurant that delves into the smaller archive of classical American classics while drawing in Eastern inspiration. For dinner, a charred Romaine caesar and shrimp salad rubs up against 5-spice fried chicken. Breakfast enthusiast will enjoy the exceptional rice porridge with rice porridge with extra cold grapefruit – the porridge dish was one of my gastronomic highlights for 2018, completed with tamari, confit chicken, scallions, natto, poached egg or açai with Thai basil and bitter greens.
On the other side of the entrance area from American Son is an enclosed seating area stocked full of material. Shelves eschew the typical bogus library with vintage editions, suggesting that the books are there as a resource to be used. If you aren’t making the most of this material, sidestep next door to the hotel’s cafe and workspace, or pay a visit to Eaton Wellness for a treatment.
Eaton DC’s proximity to The Washington Memorial and The Mall makes it an easy choice for runners looking to get out on continuous, traffic-free runs around a busy schedule. The most convenient 400m running track is linked to Georgetown, at Ellington Field. Swimmers will need to travel a little further, 1.5 miles to the north-west to get into lanes at Dunbar Aquatic Center. The pool is open from 6:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, though lanes are unfortunately not accessible on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cyclists should traverse west to Rapha, Georgetown and join their group rides – consider joining the illustrious Rapha Cycle Club and accessing their fleet of Canyons. Those looking to do some strength training or simply jump on a treadmill can use Eaton DC’s gym, which has dumbbells up to 50lbs (no barbells).
I stayed in #301 for a night at the beginning of November, a room which looks onto the main street. For more information, go to eatonworkshop.com/hotel/dc. Images courtesy of Adrian Gaud unless stated.