There is good reason to be skeptical about its founder.
The resistance will have a juice bar and cost $200-$300 a night.
From the first anti-Trump protests erupting the day after the 2016 election, the bottom-feeders of America contemplated how to make activism lucrative. Some even offered diamond-encrusted safety pins. Now, those capitalizing on the political moment have found their next opportunity for profit on the backs of protest: a hotel.
Washington, D.C.'s Eaton Workshop is, according to founder Kathryn Lo (daughter of Hong Kong hospitality billionaire Ka Shui Lo), “The manifestation of me ‘following my bliss,'" as she explained to the Washingtonian, "so others can follow theirs.” As Bloomberg reports, it's the "world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement."
How a hotel that costs over $200 a night contributes to community engagement remains unclear.
The 209 rooms are, “modeled after European pied-à-terres,” Lo told the Washingtonian, and will include "artists and activists in residency," sponsored by the hotel, as it's not apparent they'd be able to afford the place on their own. According to Bloomberg, rooms will be in the upper $200s per night. There will also be a radio station, movie theater, artists' studios, festivals focusing on social change, and a co-working space next to the hotel featuring the ever-important juice bar.
The hotel opens in early 2018 in a former Sheraton, where visitors will be greeted by a video installation composed of clips from the 2012 and 2016 elections, raising, as Bloomberg notes, a question haunting many of us: "How did our country get where it is today?" Lo, according to the Washingtonian, wants to make the hotel into a "hub for journalists, pioneers and changemakers” that is inspired by "countercultural movements that have changed the world for the better, from the Beatniks and East Village Radio to the Vietnam War protests and this year’s Women’s March."
Who knew the legacy of the Vietnam War protests would one day be memorialized by 1,000-thread-count sheets?
Although Lo is adamant that this is an anti-Trump hotel, and not one designed to bring the left and right together, it still lacks the revolutionary spirit, as evidenced by Bloomberg's story of its name:
"Among the subtler points is the significance of the company’s name: a nod to the high-end shopping mall of that name in Montreal that captured the fascination of Ka Shui Lo when he fled the Cultural Revolution in China. The mall, says Katherine, was a beacon of freedom to her father—and when she found an archival photo bearing its old motto, 'Progress and better living,' the two Eatons became forever intertwined."
The irony of a shopping mall as a beacon of freedom is left unaddressed. Perhaps the Founding Fathers left the "freedom to shop" on the cutting room floor of the Constitution.