The new Hotel Hive is creating quite a buzz in Foggy Bottom.
The 83-room hotel offers tourists and business travelers to D.C. an affordable, chic option with its selection of mico-rooms ranging from 125 to 250 square feet.
“It’s a great value for the working-class person,” said Gordon P. Buist, chief operating officer at Abdo Development, the firm that built the hotel. Room rates start at $100.
“We have a lot of different room types,” Buist said. Several of the adjoining rooms have bunkbeds, each with its own television mounted at the foot. Buist said they originally thought the small rooms would attract mostly millennials, but the rate and the design is bringing in lots of families as well. “You’re basically getting two rooms for the price of one,” he said.
Renovating the 100-year-old building was a labor of love for developer Jim Abdo, whose company specializes in historic rehabilitations.
“Abdo Development is pleased to have redefined this property for the next 100 years as the first micro-hotel in Washington, D.C. Our goal with The Hotel Hive has been to unite modern design and an innovative hotel experience, while featuring the building’s historic character,” Abdo said.
The building’s classic bones have been incorporated into the décor, with exposed brick walls and original wood beams. In the guestrooms, crisp, white bedding is tucked neatly into black metal frames. Metal doors, stairwells and railings help round out the trendy industrial vibe.
Abdo’s wife, Mai, is responsible for the hotel’s interior design. She showed off the minimalist look of a fifth-floor room — no dressers or desks to clutter the small space. A chair and a shelf serve as a spot to work or have a snack, and an underbed box and pullout hooks provide any necessary storage.
Mai Abdo said they want guests to be comfortable in the rooms, but they don’t expect them to spend a lot of time in them — they want them to go out and see everything D.C. has to offer. Those staying on the fifth floor at the tip of the triangle-shaped building will be able to see a lot of it right from their bed — these tiny rooms come with five windows (and automated shades).
Designers combined old and new creatively with a glass-walled elevator that allows riders to view artwork created by D.C. artists mounted inside the shaft on each floor.
“It’s a small shaft,” Buist said. “We couldn’t change it without compromising the building.”
When Abdo acquired the building, it was in a serious state of disrepair, with peeling paint, a leaky roof, no sprinklers, no handicap access and metal fire escapes affixed to the outside. Yet it was still occupied and being run as a backpack hotel. It was a serious eyesore, plopped right next to George Washington University and the World Health Organization.
Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilman Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, at the Hive for the ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this week, couldn’t have been more pleased that Abdo has turned the dilapidated structure into a tourist magnet.
“Our hotel and tourism industry has been growing five straight years,” Bowser said. “Every year, we break a record.
“We don’t just want [tourists] down on the mall. We want them in beautiful Foggy Bottom.”
Not only has Abdo improved the local landscape, he did it with local companies, including plumbers, painters, electricians and more. The bar serves locally sources liquors, and the Hive’s food and beverage partner is another local — &pizza. Together, the bar, restaurant and hotel provide the city with 100 jobs.
The Hive in D.C. is the first of its kind, but Abdo is scouting other cities to expand the brand.