Over the past decade, the capital has slowly expanded from the more traditional luxury properties like the Hay-Adams and the Mayflower to add more chic, design-forward hotels to its roster, and Riggs Washington DC—which opened in February—is the latest to ride that contemporary wave.
Located in DC’s Penn Quarter neighborhood, Riggs is set inside an 1891 building that once housed the “Bank of Presidents,” which earned that nickname due to the 23 POTUSes who banked there in the early 20th century. “We were drawn to the history of the building’s origins as Riggs National Bank, an iconic structure that’s one of the last Romanesque Revival-style buildings in the city,” says Lore Group Creative Director Jacu Strauss.
“The original architectural features like the Corinthian columns and 22-foot coffered ceilings in Café Riggs, and the original metal, concrete and tile leftover from the bank’s vault inspired us quite a bit to honor the legacy of the building.”
Along with celebrating those original flourishes, Strauss and team have adored the 181 rooms with things like a custom headboard and background wallpaper by NYC-based design studio Voutsa, which created the design by analyzing a 17th-century Mexican painting and drawing out specific color swirls. In the corner of each room stands a custom-made steel safe that houses the minibar and an actual safe, while velvet-clad furniture in jewel tones and pastels compliment the navy and marble bathrooms. Other style-savvy amenities include silk patterned robes and umbrellas with floral undersides that match the headboard (yours to take home for $90 and $40, respectively.)
Fifteen suites are available, including the upcoming top Riggs Suite, complete with a fireplace, dining room, bar, and living space. Also notable are the four First Lady suites inspired by a select few Presidential better halves. “The world’s most famous house itself, the White House, is just down the road from the hotel, and I was introduced to the White House Historical Association and have been lucky to have had several tours of the property to learn about its history from an interior design perspective, and about the role each First Lady played in that,” says Strauss. “Most hotels have a Presidential Suite, but we thought we would honor the other halves that played an equally pivotal role in their spouse’s presidency.”