Get Away: Check In To a Thematic Hotel

Get Away: Check In To a Thematic Hotel

Plus, the inaugural Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show

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Check In to the ‘60s

The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., reopened this summer after a $125-million renovation that drew from history and midcentury modern design. The hotel, which had been closed since 2007, is part of the Watergate complex that was made famous by the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices and the cover-up that resulted in President Richard Nixon’s resignation. Keycards emblazoned with “NO NEED TO BREAK IN” and pens inscribed with “I stole this from The Watergate Hotel” nod to the complex’s infamous past.

One of the most impressive spaces is The Next Whiskey Bar, separated from the main lobby by a wall of glass and featuring floor-to-ceiling curved shelves lined with 2,500 whiskey bottles. Set on a balcony overlooking the lobby, the hotel’s library features tufted couches and deep-set swivel chairs. Modular bookshelves hold a small collection of intriguing titles, such as the Design Museum’s Fifty Dresses that Changed the World. Employee uniforms by Mad Men designer Janie Bryant feature block patterns and dapper vests.

Dining options include Kingbird, part bar, part contemporary restaurant, with an outdoor terrace that feels more resort than urban hotel thanks to views of tree-lined paths along the Potomac River waterfront. Top of the Gate, the hotel’s palatial rooftop lounge, was scheduled to open in September. Additional resort-like features include a spa and an indoor 15-meter saltwater swimming pool lined with silver-flecked mosaic tiles.

Each of the hotel’s 336 guest rooms, including 32 suites, take décor inspiration from luxury yachts, with metal and warm wood tones. Many rooms have balconies with a panoramic view of the Potomac. Rates begin at $425 per night.

2650 Virginia Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.; 202-827-1600,


Baltimore hosts The Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show this fall.

By Air and by Sea

The inaugural Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore, Oct. 10-17, celebrates the region’s rich naval traditions with air and sea events around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at Fort McHenry and at Martin State Airport. Highlights include flight demonstrations (Oct. 15-16) by the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Geico Skytypers (flight squadron of six vintage WWII aircraft) and the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. On the water, dozens of Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race vessels can be viewed dockside and sailing along Baltimore’s shorelines (Oct. 10-13), including in the Parade of Sail on the 13th, when the schooners circle the Inner Harbor. During public tour hours, board more than a dozen U.S. and Canadian naval vessels. The Fleet Week Fair (Oct. 13-16), also around the Inner Harbor, includes a cook-off competition between ship and local chefs, and musical performances. Events are free. Visit and for details.


Collegiate-inspired décor in the game room at Graduate Charlottesville

Go back to school

Rekindle your college spirit (minus the spartan dorm room) at Graduate Charlottesville, part of a small chain of collegiate-themed hotels. Opened in June 2015, the 134-room hotel is across the street from the University of Virginia’s campus and a quick walk to restaurants and galleries on Charlottesville’s historic Main Street. It’s also a short drive to Monticello, several wineries and Shenandoah National Park. The collegiate-inspired décor includes a front desk that sits atop a row of library card catalogues and mini pennants to hang from your door that say “studying” in place of “do not disturb.” Excellent caffeine jolts are available from the lobby’s Sheepdog Coffee shop. An old-school game room and bar offers foosball, pingpong and shuffleboard tables, and a cozy outdoor terrace. Heirloom, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar, opened in May with a menu that highlights local farmers and artisans, and includes fare such as pork belly doughnuts. It also serves two signature mint juleps. Rates begin at $119 per night.

1309 W. Main St., Charlottesville, Virginia; 434-295-4333,


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