New Hotel Hive brings buzz to campus

Media Credit: Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

Hotel Hive opened its hotel, bar and location of &pizza the day before Inauguration Day.

Updated: Feb. 2, 2017 at 9:49 a.m.

A new hotel, bar and eatery are bringing a buzz – and spirits – to F Street.

After its opening before inaugural weekend, D.C.’s first micro-hotel Hotel Hive is settling in. Jim Abdo, the building’s developer, said the hotel staff is working to establish neighborhood ties.

Abdo, of Abdo Development, and his wife, Mai Abdo, have owned the building – the old Allan Lee hotel – for 13 years and invested three years into developing the project until its Jan. 19 opening. Abdo said they set that day to open because it was a day before the inauguration – a popular time for tourists to visit D.C.

“I was shocked the opening went as smoothly as it did,” he said. “I was expecting systems to fail, key cards to fail and phone systems to go down.”

The business, which is the first “pod” hotel in the city, was designed to have state-of-the-art technology, Abdo said. Each room is equipped with a Smart TV, and bunk beds in bunk rooms feature individual TVs. Thermostats in the rooms can detect when guests are no longer in the room and can adjust accordingly to save energy, and the rooms also have automatic blinds.

Mai Abdo, the chief creative director of Abdo Developments, oversaw the hotel’s interior design. Subtle references to hives are evident throughout the hotel: The carpet between rooms features the hotel’s honeycomb logo, the stainless steel stairwell takes the shape of several mini honeycombs and the hotel’s bar has honeycomb-shaped lights. The Hive logo won the Graphic Design USA Logo Award, hotel manager Sophie Penichet said.

Hundreds of guests have checked into the hotel since its opening, Abdo said, but its bar has also attracted a crowd. Over the past two weeks, the Hive Bar has seen patrons steadily come in from the State Department, and by last week, the bar was packed, Abdo said.

“Guests are like worker bees,” Abdo said. “They buzz out, and they sort of pollinate the public and say, ‘Hey, the Hive is cool,’ and then we watch that happen over the course of a week.”

Abdo said the hotel prioritizes having local workers, food and beverages and affordable room rates, cocktails and coffee. Rooms cost a minimum of $84 per night with an additional $5 discount for government and military workers, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The bar currently features a three-month long happy hour, during which guests can buy cocktails like a bourbon manhattan, a run daiquiri, gin mule, vodka lemonade, spicy tequila margarita and whiskey tea for $7.27, rounding up to $8 each including tax. Beer and wine are both $5.45.

“My goal was for the hive to be something that anyone, and everyone at all income levels can enjoy,” Abdo said.

Hotel manager Sophie Penichet said the hotel does not yet have statistics on how many guests have stayed, how many reservations they have or how much money they have made. Guests can book a hotel room a year in advance, she added.

A rooftop with an observation deck overlooking F and 23rd streets and Virginia Avenue will open later this spring, Penichet said.

Hotel Hive also has a collaboration with &pizza, run by CEO Michael Lastoria. Guests can order an &pizza from the Hive Bar or order it directly from the restaurant.

&pizza will accept payment with GWorld cards within the next few weeks, Lastoria said.

“We have always wanted to be inside a hotel,” he said. “It’s been something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and we’ve always wanted to serve the students and faculty of GW.”

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