In July I wrote here about the uncertain status of the Watergate Hotel, best remembered, of course, for the break-in that ultimately brought about the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency. At that time, the hotel had been put up for auction by Deutsche Bank, after Monument Realty, the company that had owned the hotel and planned to convert it to condominiums (until tenants of the Watergate apartment complex challenged the move), had lost the property as a result of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which had been the primary financial backer of the project.
The auction in July produced no buyers, and the hotel has remained in limbo since. But recent weeks have seen a change in this status. Monument, with new backing, put in a bid this fall to reacquire the Watergate. It was outbid by the Jumeirah Group of Dubai, a leader in the luxury hotel field. But thanks to Dubai’s financial crisis in recent weeks, the Jumeirah bid fell apart. Now, the Washington Post reports that Monument’s bid has been accepted and the deal is expected to close next month. The company’s plans are to reopen the structure as a luxury hotel.
I stayed at the Watergate for Thanksgiving weekend in 2001, when it was part of the Swissotel group, and well remember the excellent Continental-themed cuisine of the restaurant. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that, although “Watergate” for most of America will always bring to mind wiretaps and taped doors, the reopened hotel will again be a fine place to visit.