New DC hotel targets powerful women
Thursday, November 12, 2020
#MeToo is not dead, it is sleeping — at a new hotel that hopes to attract the bold and the beautiful, if not the most powerful women on the emerging political landscape.
Viceroy Hotels & Resorts is changing the conversation in Washington, D.C., and beyond, with the opening of Hotel Zena, a brash new cultural magnet giving special attention to the accomplishments of women and their enduring struggle for gender equality. It's an interactive venue where every architectural line, material and art installation have been thoughtfully designed and curated to send a message of female empowerment.
Located in the vibrant Logan Circle neighborhood along renewed 14th Street in downtown D.C., the 191-room hotel is not only a story about women. It's also a celebration of people who work together to achieve fundamental civil rights, in a warm, dynamic, and inviting hotel with comfortable spaces featuring artwork commissioned to create a message of struggle, empowerment and hope.
Drawn up by Dawson Design Associates (DDA), every area was designed to lead to another moment of discovery for those with the time to explore. Provocative art and design are at the core of Hotel Zena, where guests are immersed in over 60 pieces of gallery-quality artwork created specifically for Zena by artists from around the world invested in the cause of human rights. The art revolves around the courage of some of the world's most notable people and their fight for inclusivity and change. All the pieces are original and painted, photographed, sculpted and stitched by feminists of both genders with powerful stories to share.
"It is a simple story, and long overdue," said Andrea Sheehan, DDA's founding principle and art director. “This is our "Female Z," and the first Z Hotel on the East Coast. We wanted to make it a powerful statement. Given its strategic location and our society's current state, it just made sense to us to take a public stand central to its creation. We both believe in the power that art can play in bringing people together."
The hotel opens at a pivotal time in the nation's history. Its lobby is dominated by an extraordinary portrait of the late, honorable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Its pointillist concept, conceived by Andrea Sheehan and produced by Julie Coyle Studios using 20,000 hand-painted and repurposed tampons, is a contemporary, intimate spin on this classic art form. This unique portrait honors both Justice Ginsburg's life-long dedication to women's rights and equality and her humor in the most personal and intimate form. Another iconic installation, a curving wall layered with 8,000 protest buttons representing generations of marches and events promoting the feminist movement, pays tribute to America's 100th anniversary of the Women's Right to Vote.
The "Portrait Gallery" in Hotel Zena's lobby features the stories of female warriors. It displays artwork celebrating ten powerful women, in addition to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who have made significant contributions in the struggle for Women's Rights and Gender Equality. Additional portraits include the indomitable Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress and the first woman Democrat to run for President of the United States. It is one of two pieces of art inspired by the late Congresswoman; the other is a hanging installation constructed of painted folding chairs in celebration of her famous statement: "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."
Numerous art pieces created by regional artists were brought forward by local curator Jason Bowers to supplement the artwork from other parts of the world. They can be found throughout the hotel, including the mural of female warriors standing as sentinels on Hotel Zena's exterior designed by D.C. based art director, muralist, designer, and illustrator Cita Sadeli, more popularly known as MISS CHELOVE. Her vision for Hotel Zena's mural was to create an atmosphere of intrigue composed of a pair of fierce yet curious warrior-sentinel women protecting the sanctity of the space.
Dining and Conversation
At the heart of Hotel Zena lies "Figleaf," the spacious bar and restaurant designed to inspire creativity and ignite conversation in an area surrounded by the hotel's signature art pieces. Figleaf is an ideal space for an intimate yet socially distanced get-together. It is a unique area to work remotely or provide a venue to feature a speaker series and creative events. Executive Chef David Sears looked to the modern wellness movement for crafting a menu of approachable, locally-sourced shared plates and entrees, and a Drinks Menu that embraces bold flavors in mocktails and cocktails.
"Hedy's Rooftop" will be coming to Hotel Zena in Spring 2021. Hotel Zena's upscale rooftop lounge will serve up cocktails, mocktails, and select small bites. Guests will be able to sip and savor in the poolside sun or in the comfort of one of the hotel's private cabanas painted by artist Rose Jaffe including her Dancing Druids mural celebrating the rights of fertility and spring. A six-foot-tall, internally lit Venus, a replica of the Venus icons of paleolithic tribes, will spread her soft glow in the night.
In each of Hotel Zena's 191 guestrooms and suites, a sleek and progressive design featuring soft, warm hues provides a tranquil atmosphere in which guests can relax. Art secures the guestrooms in the form of a translucent portrait of the Greek goddess Artemis, quiver in hand, protecting those within.
The hotel offers 3,500 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, indoor and outdoor options, on-site catering, and more, interwoven with venues aptly named after and inspired by women who have affected historical change. Perched on the hotel's highest floor, Belmont pays tribute to Alva Belmont, a significant figure in the American women's suffrage movement known for a willingness to challenge convention. Set under the stars, Hedy's Rooftop has a breathtaking view of The District and is an ideal destination for intimate weddings and small private events.
Hotel Zena practices all Viceroy cleanliness protocols, including physical distancing and mask requirements, hand sanitation stations, and guest rooms disinfected with hospital-grade products, plus thoughtful amenities such as in-room touchless, voice-controlled Google NestHubs virtual concierges. Hotel Zena is also part of AHLA's Safe Stay® cleaning and safety program, the industry's adopted program, and processes for maintaining and ensuring all guests' and associates' safety.
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