FRESH START

The woman be­hind the iconic Water­gate Ho­tel takes us in­side its daz­zling restora­tion.

Capitol File - - CONTENTS - BY CAMILLE CAUTI

Rakel Co­hen, VP of de­sign and de­vel­op­ment at Euro Cap­i­tal Prop­er­ties, new owner of the Water­gate Ho­tel, is 32 years old and the mother of six chil­dren. Let those data points sink in as you con­tem­plate her tremen­dous task in ren­o­vat­ing the in­te­ri­ors of this once-fore­closed land­mark, which turned 50 in March.

Co­hen trained in fi­nance, not de­sign, but was con­fi­dent in her great eye. “I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in beau­ti­ful, de­sign-driven ho­tel prop­er­ties,” she says. “I knew this could be the most in­cred­i­ble ur­ban re­sort in DC.”

Co­hen and de­sign star Ron Arad worked a retro-glam in­spi­ra­tion. “We em­braced the ho­tel’s ar­chi­tec­ture to bring its sig­na­ture curves to the in­te­rior de­sign,” she says. “We were so pleased to keep the orig­i­nal struc­ture of the pool in our spa, Ar­gentta. The mo­saiclined walls and high ceil­ings are mag­nif­i­cent.” She loves the pops of rich red in the King­bird Restau­rant and its chan­de­liers shaped like the Water­gate logo, while the Next Whiskey Bar daz­zles with its curv­ing wall of 2,500 cus­tom­made, in­di­vid­u­ally il­lu­mi­nated whiskey bot­tles. Even the li­brary’s col­lec­tion of books re­lated to the ho­tel’s history spot­lights Co­hen’s at­ten­tion to de­tail—as do those mod staff uni­forms by Mad Men cos­tumer Jane Bryant. “Retro is in our roots,” Co­hen says. “We want guests to feel trans­ported to another time as soon as they walk through the doors.” 2650 Vir­ginia Ave. NW, 844-617-1972; the­wa­ter­gate­ho­tel.com

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