Do we need the further politicization of hotels?
Do we need the further politicization of hotels?
17 NOVEMBER 2017 8:14 AM

A new hotel set to open in Washington, D.C., is being touted as the “first politically-motivated hotel” and called an antithesis to President Donald Trump’s nearby hotel. But I worry this approach will only deepen the divide.

The world’s “first politically-motivated hotel” is coming.

The Eaton Workshop is scheduled to open in spring 2018 in Washington, D.C., with a goal of merging “hospitality with progressive social change,” Quartz reports. That doesn’t necessarily sound bad on its face. The hotel will be accompanied by a co-working space, a media company and a wellness center, according to the story, and it “invites activists, artists and entrepreneurs from around the world to instigate meaningful and positive initiatives on both a local and macro scale.”

Katherine Lo, president of Eaton Hotels and daughter of Langham Hospitality Group creator and Chairman Lo Ka Shui, is quoted in Bloomberg as saying while she’s in favor of cultural diversity and inclusion, the goal of the Eaton Workshop “isn’t to bring together left and right.” She instead intends the property to act as the “antithesis of the Trump hotel that’s just a few blocks away,” according to the article.

Now, that last quoted section isn’t a direct quote by Lo, but it’s a sentiment attributed to her. From a business standpoint, it does make sense to offer a hotel specifically designed to appeal to those “who may feel marginalized by the current administration’s agenda.”

I’m just not convinced this is the right way to go. First off, anyone who is upset with the Trump administration and/or the Trump International Hotel can simply stay at another hotel. There’s no shortage of them in Washington, D.C., so I would argue that staying at any other hotel out of opposition to Trump counts as an act of protest, however minor.

Secondly, I remember a lesson I learned years ago in a high school class on government during the second Bush administration. Several students were upset about different policies and actions taken by the administration and talked about protesting against them. Our teacher said it was clear what these students were against, so she asked them what they were for. That got them to stop and think about the policies they wanted to further.

I’m not saying that’s the situation here with the hotel, but that’s something that has stuck with me over the years. The company behind this hotel definitely has an agenda it wants to support, and regardless of whether you agree with the politics behind it, it’s great that it’s trying to appeal to civic-minded travelers who want something more out of their stay.

I’m just not a fan of the hotel as being billed against the administration—not just Trump’s but any presidential administration. While that approach certainly makes it clear where the hotel and the company behind it stand, I feel that takes away from the grander message the hotel could be putting out. I’d rather a hotel company that wants to promote different political or social issues focus on what it’s for and what it wants to achieve and how it will do that rather than dwell on what it’s against.

Show us clearly what you are for, and I think we can determine on our own what you are against. Spread the word about the good you want to accomplish and leave the negativity behind.

What do you think? Maybe I’m just getting tired of all the crazy news out of Washington, the politicization of everything and the ever increasing divide between people. Leave a comment below or reach out to me at or @HNN_Bryan.

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