Lonely Planet Writer

The world's first activist hotel is open for business in Washington DC

A radical new kind of hotel is coming to the nation’s capital. Set to open in September 2018 just blocks from the White House, Eaton D.C. strives to bring together journalists, pioneers, and changemakers to help make the world a better place. So not only is it a 209-room hotel, the hybrid property is also a radio station, a 50-person cinema, a holistic healing center, a coffee shop and juice bar, a co-working space, an arts and culture incubator, an event space that can host up to 182 people, among other roles.

New 'progressive hotel' to open in DC
Eaton Workshop President and Founder, Katherine Lo’s vision for the Eaton DC guestroom design is to provide a natural, down-to-earth vibe with mid-century influence, and ethical sustainable bohemian comfort that fulfills all parts of ourselves: intellect, culture, art, politics, and spirituality. Photo courtesy of Eaton D.C.

“Each step in realizing Eaton stems from my goal of cultivating the ultimate utopian gathering place for global innovators and creatives who seek to change the world,” says Founder and CEO Katherine Lo, who is the daughter of Hong Kong billionaire Ka Shui Lo. She emphasizes that Eaton will be a safe space for everyone, including people of color, LGBTQ, and international travelers.

All of the products in Eato, DC's rooms have been locally sourced
The lounge area of each suite is meant to gather guests and will aim to fuel their passions in activism, arts, and culture in a relaxed setting, whether it’s to read a book, listen to a vinyl record, or take in the views of the nation’s capital. Putting a unique twist on the standard hotel mini bar, all the products that are featured have been carefully vetted through the following criteria: locally-sourced, sustainably and ethically produced, a commitment to wellness and community engagement, and design. Photo courtesy of Eaton D.C.

As for the hotel part, Lo worked with Gachot Studios of New York to design down-to-earth, natural guest rooms that, as she says, would be the “perfect home for a former art student who has grown up, ten years later, after global travels, and is returning to their third place, their home.” Each colorful, bohemian-style room includes a healing Himalayan salt lamp; a mini library holding books on politics, holistic spirituality, contemporary literature, and more; and a record player with real-life vinyls. And, true to its mission of change, each room includes stationery for writing to members of Congress, with phone numbers included.

“I love the idea of the Eaton D.C. guestroom providing ethical sustainable bohemian comfort while fulfilling all the other parts of ourselves: intellect, culture, art, politics, and spirituality,” Lo says.

Eaton, DC work station
Work stations are meant to be inspiring and helpful to guests who seek to merge their passions with travels. Minibars are stocked with an option to order activist tool kits. Photo courtesy of Eaton D.C.

But there’s more. Programs will be offered to at-risk youth from local high schools, including internships at its in-house radio and culinary teams. Artists can stay in residence at no charge. A co-working space called Eaton House will accommodate 370 members in the hopes of generating community. And an as-of-yet-unnamed slate of provocative programming will strive to spark communication and change in the community.

“Beyond the eco-minded design and community-oriented offerings, through the power of our programming and content, we will take a moral stance and catalyze productive, positive change through dialoguing,” Lo says.

Indeed, Eaton is a different kind of hotel, one that definitely has a place in D.C.

**Eaton D.C. is the flagship property of Eaton Workshop, part of the Hong Kong-based Great Eagle commercial real estate corporation. A Hong Kong property is slated to open in fall 2018, with ensuing properties planned for San Francisco and Seattle.