Real Estate

DC Is Getting a Female Empowerment-Themed Hotel

Donovan Hotel is becoming Hotel Zena—"an ode to feminine strength”—but what does that mean?

The future Hotel Zena. Rendering courtesy of Viceroy Hotel Group.

DC already has a resistance-themed hotel and a millennial-focused one, so naturally, we’re also getting a female empowerment-themed property, too. Viceroy Hotel Group announced Wednesday that it’s turning the Donovan Hotel on Thomas Circle into Hotel Zena— “an ode to feminine strength, celebrated by all genders, races and sexualities,” according to a press release. The 191-room hotel is scheduled to open in the spring.

In the announcement, Jon Bortz, president of the Viceroy group’s owner Pebblebrook Hotel trust, says that Zena “will be the first hospitality establishment solely dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women.”

But…how exactly does a hotel do that? There will be a mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (obviously). The release promises additional “provocative art” and “community engagements for the culturally curious”  including salons and live music, plus a makeover by Seattle firm Dawson Design Associates that will inject the place with “a rebellious and defiant yet playful energy.” But a publicist said specifics weren’t yet available. “More details will be announced the first part of the year,” she said via email.

If anyone is planning an impeachment-themed hotel, the clock is ticking.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia. Kashino lives in Northeast DC.

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