Lots of official events with D.C.’s mayor and Council members are perfunctory and, well, official. But some are really fun as well. The March 6 launch of the 83-room Hotel Hive in Foggy Bottom, the first “micro-lifestyle” hotel in Washington, D.C. — along with the latest &Pizza location — was one of those truly fun official events.
It was the end of the day for both Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans (her seventh and his sixth event of the day) and they seemed to let loose to enjoy it. At the outdoor podium on an unseasonably warm evening, they teased and laughed with Jim Abdo, president and CEO of Abdo Development, and his wife Mia. The Abdos built the hotel with a focus on local needs, employees and small- business entrepreneurs like Michael Lastoria, co-founder of &pizza. Lastoria was a significant player in pushing the District’s successful $15-by-2020 minimum-wage campaign last year.
“Eighty percent of our employees come from Washington, D.C.,” said Jim
Abdo. “Most of our spirits and even the soft drinks in &pizza are locally created, distilled and brewed.”
Mayor Bowser got to show that off after the official ribbon cutting. She got behind the bar and mixed up a number of glasses of the house specialty cocktail, vodka lemonade, which they renamed the District Drop in her honor. It was a concoction of District-made Civic vodka, Don Ciccio & Figli limoncello and a sprig of mint. The soft drinks at &pizza include locally created mango passion fruit soda, ginger berry lemonade, burdock and anise root beer, pear and fig elixir, black cherry cola and cherry bomb.
After her turn as a mixologist, Mayor Bowser joined the crowd to create her own pizza, going around the wide counters to choose the dough, the sauces, the toppings and the final additions after the bubbling hot pizzas were baked. The rectangular pies (who says a pizza have to be round?) were placed in a box with Love &Pizza printed on the top.
The whole place feels young, very millennial. It’s located in the heart of Foggy Bottom in the center of the George Washington University campus on the corner of F and 23rd Streets. The hotel has a lighted canopy entrance, a long terrace with outdoor seating and a double-size, glass-paned arched doorway.
During the low season, a bunk-bed room costs $99. Each has its own TV, lights, internet outlets and shelves for laptops. There is a desk, a bathroom with shower, foldout bars for hanging clothes and space under the bed for suitcases. Larger rooms with single beds can be combined for family suites. The hallways are narrow and winding for maximum space usage. The walls of the glass elevator feature paintings of bees and designs in a bright, friendly yellow.
Although this was the official launch date, the hotel has actually been open for several weeks. It was 90-percent full that evening. “It’s not just college families,” staff noted; the hotel is seeing a good number of international tourists and business people.
In her official remarks, Mayor Bowser commented that the hotel is part of the city’s “Destination DC” visitor push. Then, grinning at Abdo, she said: “This hotel, it gets D.C.”