A new kind of hotel is opening in Washington D.C. that combines lodging with liberal politics. It’s what Bloomberg calls “the world’s first politically motivated hotel.” Guests will be immersed in liberal messages while they are there. It will open next year on the north side of the National Mall, about a half mile from the Trump hotel.
The Eaton Workshop will be a flagship hotel for a chain of similar hotels in other locations. Each location will have an agenda tailored for whatever liberal messages are relevant for that area. In D.C., guests will be greeted by a video art installation on the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. Footage will be broadcast on vintage-style TVs that attempt to show where we were then and where we are today with, of course, a liberal point of view (1).
The hotel will also have a street-side window with a visual art display by local artists, and fireside chats and lectures addressing liberal topics. Founder Katherine Lo hopes to offer those events to the public for free, along with podcasts for anyone who wants to listen later. There will also be a wellness program at the hotel, and a co-working space for working travelers, but space priority will be given to activists and artists.
The leftist agenda will also come from staff members who will have to have an activist background to qualify for their jobs. Bloomberg offered an example, saying the cocktail beverage director was hired because he won a “Bartender of the Year” award from “Imbibe” and also “cares deeply about social justice.”
Founder Comes with Hotel Background
Lo isn’t just a political activist. She comes from a family with impressive hotel credentials. Her father, Ka Shui Lo, started the Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group which includes the luxurious Langham hotel chain and the more modern Langham Place. It also includes the upscale Cordis Hotel chain which is devoted to a client’s “well being” and travelers seeking a unique 5-star experience.
Now, his daughter is creating another unique experience for travelers. The Eaton website says the new chain will merge “hospitality with progressive social change.” The description calls it a “hybrid model of a hotel, co-working members club, and wellness center, with extensive content and cultural programming supporting the intersection of arts, consciousness and impact.”
Immersed in the Liberal Message
Although social activism isn’t a requirement for guests, they will be surrounded by opportunities to participate. Bloomberg writes that, “A guest who does nothing other than check in, sleep atop Eaton’s organic mattresses, and check out will still have a sense of the hotel’s mission.” The hotel will use various methods to deliver its message, including the placement of an activist’s toolkit inside the minibar. Lo told Bloomberg that if they were opening the hotel during the Women’s March, for example, she would have put poster boards and markers in all the rooms (2).
But the message will change from hotel to hotel. The D.C. hotel will be first, but Lo is also planning to open one in Hong Kong next year. She says, at that hotel, she’d like to replace bedside bibles with copies of the United National Declaration for Human Rights. She also has plans for hotels in San Francisco and Seattle where there’s strong support for the liberal agenda. Those could open as soon as 2019.
Hotel to Have Anti-Trump Presence
But it isn’t just the liberal agenda. The hotel is targeting people who dislike President Donald Trump and the Republican agenda. The D.C. hotel is also opening very close to the President’s own 5-star Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s a luxurious hotel that opened at the historic Old Post Office a few years ago, after a $200 million restoration. It has a nine-story atrium that serves as the Grand Lobby, and gathering spot for guests who more than likely have a conservative world view. The new Eaton hotel will provide an alternative for those who don’t like the President’s politics (3).
As the website says, “Eaton Workshop invites activists, artists and entrepreneurs from around the world to instigate meaningful and positive initiatives on both a local and macro scale, as well as to hang out, indulge and follow their bliss.” Rooms are expected to cost between $250 and $300 a night. I haven’t seen any reaction yet from the President on the opening of this new hotel.
(1) Eaton Workshop
(3) Trump Hotels