For one of the most visited cities in the country, DC tends to skew depressingly run-of-the-mill when it comes to its hotels.
Spots such as the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, the Thompson in Seattle, and the Graduate in Richmond have become cool, Instagrammable hangouts for locals as much as places for out-of-towners to stay. Meanwhile, Washington has largely been stuck with a staid mix of accommodations that reinforce an outdated perception of our city as little more than the seat of federal government. The Line DC, slated to open by year’s end, aims to change things.
To start, the hotel’s owner, the Sydell Group, didn’t plop it down in the middle of a tourist corridor. Rather, it’s in the former First Church of Christ, Scientist, on a largely residential corner in Adams Morgan. The neighborhood location, paired with a design led by DC artists, is intended to show-case the District as a “multilayered” city, says Sydell’s chief development officer, Jake Lamstein.
You won’t find industrial-grade carpeting or mass-produced particleboard furniture. In fact, no two guest rooms are exactly alike. The brass beds are flanked by individually sourced side tables; fringed rugs are layered over herringbone hardwood floors. Each room has a different assortment of old and new books, accessories, and artwork, nearly all of it found in area shops or commissioned from Washington crafts-people.
For instance, Sydell hired local photographers Kate Warren, Ellie Van Houtte, and Donovan Gerald to take original photos for the hotel’s walls. Svetlana Legetic—founder of the on-line magazine/events business Brightest Young Things—curated its art collection, including 220 charcoal drawings that she sketched herself.
As a tip for homeowners who are looking to spruce up their guest rooms on a budget, Lamstein says that at Sydell hotels, “we like to frame things we find or salvage at no cost.” In this case, hymnal pages found in the church pre-construction gained new purpose as funky decor.
This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Washingtonian.