Long before Monica Lewinsky took up residence at the apartments
next door, the Watergate complex took its place in Washington folklore. For
it was here, on June 17, 1972, that an attentive security guard noticed
during his rounds that the door to the office of the Democratic National
Committee had been taped open. When the police arrived they found five
well-dressed men associated with President Richard M. Nixon's Committee
to Re-elect the President, equipped with state-of-the-art spy equipment
and walkie-talkies. The resulting uproar would bring down the president
and go down in history as the most infamous of Washington scandals.
The Watergate opened its doors 31 years ago and was originally
built as a luxury apartment building. The hotel's reputation for sumptuous
hospitality made it a favorite stop of high-ranking government officials, diplomats and celebrities, who often performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts next door. Guests who have graced the Watergate include such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Muhammad Ali, Ingrid Bergman, Yo Yo Ma and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Walking into the dramatic black and white marble foyer, the visitor to the Watergate is immediately struck by the view of the Potomac River. Fresh floral bouquets waft their scent throughout the area, and glassed alcoves display the baubles and trinkets for purchase at the boutiques in the complex. You'll notice immediately the most important element that sets the Watergate above many other luxury hotels -- its incomparable
service. The staff at the Watergate has not forgotten that luxury does not necessitate arrogance.
After checking-in, have a drink and listen to the tinkling notes of live piano music in the lounge. Weekday happy hours feature theme nights featuring such fare as Japanese sushi or Italian pasta.
The fitness facilities are excellent, rivaling most health clubs. A heated pool, weight rooms, nautilus equipment and aerobic classes are available, as are the services of a personal trainer and masseuse.
-- Angela Walker