BBGM Recent News

Watergate Overhaul Embraces History Through Design

The Watergate Hotel is deeply ingrained in the nation’s consciousness, an icon that walks the line between premier hospitality and the country’s elite.

Euro Capital Properties is not afraid of such inherent challenges and capitalized on the hotel’s history through a massive $125 million renovation, selecting BBGM as the Architect for the project.  Financial Times provides the latest coverage, with a deep look into the history of this iconic property and the massive opportunity it presented for its new ownership.  


An excerpt from the article by Kate Salter in Financial Times:

The hotel’s new owners, Jacques and Rakel Cohen of Euro Capital Properties, who bought it in 2010 for $45m, say they “immediately saw the potential to return the hotel to a state worthy of its reputation as Washington’s finest address”. They know that the scandal is their most powerful marketing tool and are enthusiastically milking it: the telephone reservation line ends in 1972, the room keys say “No need to break in” and pens are inscribed with “I stole this from the Watergate Hotel”. There are plans to play extracts from Nixon’s speeches in the toilets. Even the name of the hotel is written in a version of the typewriter font used in the Senate Watergate Committee case documents.

Aside from American history buffs, the new owners want the hotel to appeal to a younger, design-conscious crowd — the kind of “hip” people that Buttaro-Pfeffer says the complex needs to attract. The hotel’s 336 bedrooms, designed by BBGM, have a masculine, mid-century corporate feel (and with rates starting at about $500, it may be businessmen rather than young hipsters who can afford to stay here). Later this summer a spa is due to open, along with a rooftop bar and Michael Santoro’s fine dining restaurant.


Click here to read the full article.


Click here to learn more about the BBGM design.

Hotel Management Covers Historic Renovation of Watergate Hotel

Press coverage of the historic Watergate Hotel renovation continues with the latest feature from Hotel Management.  Following the property’s acquisition by Euro Capital and $125 million renovation, the rejuvenated hotel is ready for prime time.

BBGM was the architect for the project, and teamed with other firms for design of select interior spaces.  The revitalized hotel will offer guests unique options for R&R, while still appealing largely to the affluent and business crowds. 


An excerpt from the article in Hotel Management:

The property now has 336 guestrooms, half of them elevated with balconies with views of the city as well as the Potomac River. The floor-to-ceiling Zebrano marble bathrooms have solid granite vanities. Six Diplomat Suites, 24 premier suites, and two Presidential Suites are also available.

For dining, the property has onsite dining options including the contemporary Kingbird restaurant, a dual-concept American-French venue with patio seating; the lobby’s Next Whisky Bar, framed by a wall of sculpted whisky bottles highlighted by bronze light; and the Top of the Gate rooftop lounge.


Click here to read the full article from Hotel Management.


Click here to learn more about the Watergate Hotel design.


Hotel Renovations Lead to Significantly Higher Profits

The U.S. hospitality industry has seen a considerable resurgence in years following the recession.  We continue to see increasing capital expenditures, and RevPAR trends are on track for the seventh consecutive year of growth, according to the JLL 2016 U.S. Hotels Perspective.  Many investors consider liquidation, acquisition or new construction options versus renovation projects, with the concern that many of these projects can be complex with hidden complications, and an improving economy mixed with younger demographics may better support an all-new product.


This often begs the question, “Is a renovation really worth the investment?”  The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”


The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and the recent sale of The Graham Hotel in Georgetown is a strong indicator.  BBGM provided turnkey Architectural and Interior Design services for the recent renovation project at the property, which increased the room count to 57 keys, as well as adding a new restaurant and rooftop bar for the boutique hotel.  According to Mast Capital and the Washington Business Journal, the hotel’s profitability quadrupled following the renovation.  This statement is confirmed through the sale price, which commanded an impressive $649,000 per room. 

The Washington Business Journal provided detailed coverage on the sale, as well as information on recent comps in the region.


Click here to view images & learn more about The Graham.

Hotel Tech Tips from BBGM Principal Bruno Grinwis

When it comes to modern-day hotel accommodations, it is an understatement to say that appealing to the business traveler is critical in many markets. BBGM Principal Bruno Grinwis recently authored an op-ed piece for Hotel News Now, discussing the role of technology needs in improving the business traveler's experience.


An excerpt from the article:

Business travelers are no longer impressed with having access to a printer and a conference center, they want the ability to host a virtual meeting in their hotel room. By providing guestrooms that can offer not only the relaxation business travelers crave, but also the functionality of a virtual office their jobs require, hotels will increase their business traveler clientele and turn them into loyal and repeat customers.

Here’s a short list of best practices hoteliers can use to attract more business travelers to their properties.

Use technology to improve the check-in process
Traveling for business is tiring. And the last thing your guest wants to experience after a long day of meetings or a long flight is a slow check-in process.

This is why more hotels are adding features that allow their guests to check themselves in. Some hotels even use an app that allows the guests to check-in while they’re on their way to the hotel.


Click here to read the full article.

Click here to learn more about Bruno Grinwis.

Paséa Hotel & Spa Featured on Hospitality Design

Following its debut, the Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach continues to garner press attention. The latest article from Hospitality Design goes into detail on design inspiration for the 250 ocean-view guestrooms and suites. MONOGRAM at BBGM Principal Kathryn Mickel provided additional insights on the essence of the design concepts, capturing the California allure of this newest addition to the Meritage Collection.


An excerpt from the article:

“The hotel’s design celebrates the culture and the magnificent views of Huntington Beach,” says Monogram at BBGM principal Kathryn Mickel. “We wanted to offer luxurious coastal living with clean lines and elegant materials. Our designs incorporate the local area’s charm and were based on our interpretation of a modern California beach house.”

The design includes local artwork, distressed wood finishes, and teak accents. Included among the guestrooms are eight luxury one-bedroom suites and the 1,900-square-foot penthouse suite.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to learn more about the MONOGRAM design.

Construction Today Interviews Bill Wilhelm on Irvine Spectrum Marriott

Construction Today had a chance to speak with President of R.D. Olson Construction Bill Wilhelm, going into detail on the Irvine Spectrum Marriott development. The full-service Marriott hotel will be a great fit for both business and leisure travelers, following its ambitious design and construction schedule.  MONOGRAM at BBGM is providing Interior Design services for the project.


An excerpt from the article by Alan Dorich:

The hotel’s design is still being developed despite the construction process being underway, something to which R.D. Olson Construction is accustomed. “We’re part of that frontier team, out there working with ownership and Marriott on finishes, textures, colors and other elements that will give this property the ‘wow factor’ it needs to be cutting-edge and exceed guest expectations,” he says.

This design/build approach has become more common in the travel industry, as hotels want to stay in tune with what is popular with guests. “In about 80 percent of hotels that R.D. Olson builds, we’re in the trenches during the design phase, trying to make the concept the most successful it can be,” Wilhelm says.

In the case of Irvine Spectrum Marriott, the interior design will celebrate the rich history of the Irvine Ranch, in keeping with R.D. Olson’s dedication to paying homage to the communities in which its hotel projects are located.


Click here to read the full interview.

Click here to learn more about the design from MONOGRAM at BBGM.


Savoy Suites Rebranded as Kimpton Glover Park Hotel

The Washington Business Journal walks us through a sneak peek of the renovation and repositioning of the former Savoy Suites, to the Kimpton Glover Park Hotel.

Led by BBGM, the renovation project entails a refresh of the guestrooms and public spaces, including an all-new lobby, restaurant, meeting spaces, and a 200-seat ballroom. As previously covered by Washington Business Journal, the hotel will also be home to one of DC's hottest new rooftop venues.


An excerpt from the Washington Business Journal: 

While the renovation of the rooms is complete — the hotel remained open during the revamp — some parts of the property are still a work in progress. The planned restaurant in the hotel, a coastal Italian restaurant from chef Michael Schlow, called Casolare, is set to open in July; and a 200-seat ballroom off the lobby, to be called the Walnut Room, isn’t quite finished yet. A lower-level gym space from Urban Athletic Club is also complete; hotel guests can work out there for free or join one of the classes at a discounted price, and the gym is also open to members from outside the hotel. The hotel is Kimpton’s 10th in the District and the first outside of the traditional urban core or other tourist-heavy neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill. 

Video: Bloomberg Interviews Euro Capital Founder & Watergate Hotel Owner Jacques Cohen

Following a nine-year hiatus and massive renovation, The Watergate Hotel has reopened and is already turning heads. Bloomberg's latest interview with Euro Capital Properties founder and owner of The Watergate Hotel, Jacques Cohen, dives into the challenges and opportunities of the project.


BBGM was the Architect on the project, which entailed a $125M renovation to the property.  Mr. Cohen goes into detail about challenges regarding demolition and expansion of public areas and event spaces.  With spectacular views of the water, the property boasts an impressive rooftop bar and pre-function spaces, in what Mr. Cohen refers to as a much-needed luxury lifestyle hotel for Washington, DC.


The top-to-bottom 1960's branding and mid-century modern design further The Watergate Hotel's position as a glamour icon in the hospitality industry. Watch the video for additional details on the building's captivating architectural history, and the unique approach taken to restore the hotel to its full potential.


Click here to learn more about BBGM's involvement in the project.