Monday, June 15, 2009

Lounge Act - A Once-Tired and Untrendy Washington Hotel Offers A Dip in Times Gone By

From the Washington Post web site
Morris Lapidus -- the late, great Googie master of South Beach-style architecture -- was hired to design the Skyline Inn motor hotel in 1961, which is why it looks so spaceshippy, like it crash-landed six blocks south of the U.S. Capitol and failed utterly in its mission of alien invasion. By the 1970s, the hotel was thought of as ugly and so was the neighborhood.

The present owners? The somewhat famous Rubell family? They'll tell you how they hate putting quotation marks -- a knowing (") with a (") -- around what they're doing to the Capitol Skyline Hotel. They hate putting quotation marks around fun. That's the worst, when people act too cool, when there's a VIP list, when cocktails at a hotel pool get jacked up to $14 apiece and the DJ thinks he's the oonce-oonce-oonce messiah. They know there's a fine line here -- they're from Miami -- when the decor and atmosphere go too far toward the stylized. That's what the Rubells didn't want to happen here.

"It was a Best Western," says Jennifer Rubell, 39. "And there was nothing wrong with that. We liked it that way. . . . When we bought the hotel, it was a little bit like those English manor houses, where people end up living in the two rooms left that function? There were parts of the hotel that [the former owner] had just closed off -- the banquet rooms, the restaurants -- shut down, not functioning. If there was ever a problem in a room, then they would just close that room down and not use it."

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