Luxury Hotels

WASHINGTON DC – 2

Banks can become really stately hotels, as evidenced at The Langham Boston.  In Washington DC The Lore Group, keepers of such other memorable hotels as The Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London, has turned the US capital’s imposing 1891-vintage Riggs Bank headquarters into a 218-room beauty.

As always with this group, design has been left to the talent of Jacu Strauss. In all bedrooms he has cleverly designed vault-like standing trunks to hold safe and minibar – see above.  This particular room is #701, the Caroline Harrison Suite, one of four named for First Ladies.  Mrs H collected china, so one wall displays a collection of Wedgwood’s signature Jasper Ware stone ware, pale blue with superimposed white cameos.

The main banking room has been left pretty much as-is. Café Riggs, as it now is, has Corinthia columns reaching to its high ceiling, from which hang amber light fixtures to break the void – from below, tall greenery in high pots, and a glass booth for glasses and other paraphernalia do the same function. It was brunchtime. Tuna tartare and avocado for Girlahead starter, enormous plateloads and glasses of bubbly for selfie-addicted others.

A wedding party came down for Café Riggs pick-me-ups between the ceremony and the banquet, both up on the roof.  When Lore Group bought this ten-floor building they cleverly obtained permission to add a rooftop facility – it’s at least double the Hay-Adams’ rooftop. Here, probably 500 could dance a day away and with the sun shining and every white flower in town brought up to be on parade, what a location.

As always, it seems, GM Dewayne Wright’s face beams. He’s doing what he always wanted, to make people happy. Even when he was a world-travelling pro basketball player, back in his Los Angeles-based days, he knew he would go on to a second career in luxury hospitality. And by sheer grit and determination, look at him now (he’s standing below, by a 3.5-metre Jacu Strauss flower in the Café). Ask one of the Café managers why they like working here and the answer is simple. It’s a happy place.