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This year marks the 50th anniversary of a seminal moment in LGBTQ history: the Stonewall Inn Riots, an uprising in response to police harassment at the New York City bar that took place on June 28, 1969.
Every June, Pride month commemorates the event, which is considered around the globe to be an important turning point for the LGBTQ community and the gay rights movement. And you don’t have to be in the Big Apple for WorldPride this year to commemorate the revolution.
In Washington, DC, at the Hamilton Hotel, travelers can immerse themselves in LGBTQ history by booking a stay in the Newsroom: Rise Up Suite. It’s a cross between sleeping in a chic one-bedroom luxury suite and spending a night at a museum (without Ben Stiller).
I recently had a chance to tour the suite, and was blown away not only by the scope of the items represented, but the deeply personal stories behind the relics.
Newsroom: Rise Up Suite
The one-of-a-kind partnership with the Newseum (a news-focused museum in the capital) aligns the exhibit Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement with a specially-curated selection of artifacts representing key moments in campaign for equality. According to Newseum, “Rise Up” explores defining moments of the gay rights movement, such as the assassination of Harvey Milk, the AIDS crisis, and the fight for marriage equality and hate crime legislation, among others.
Actor and activist Alan Cumming selected the items to be exhibited in the suite.
“The exhibit is a reminder that a whole area of the population were completely marginalized and completely invisible in terms of being seen as equal,” Cummings told Afar.
One of the items on display, for example, is Ellen DeGeneres’s original script for the episode of “Ellen” during which the titular character came out on national television in 1997.
If you’re younger than 30, you may not know what an important moment in both cultural and gay history this was. I binge-watched “Friends” a few years ago with my kids, 12 and 15, and it was really difficult for them to understand what the big deal was about a lesbian wedding in 1996, when that episode originally aired.
Other notable items displayed include the Vanity Fair cover featuring Caitlyn Jenner; a copy of the “Macho Man” album by the Village People; and a children’s storybook about the life of Harvey Milk.
Cummings told Afar his favorite piece from the mini-collection is a black-and-white lithograph of the Stonewall Inn. Only a rainbow flag in rendered in color.
Rates for the Newsroom: Rise Up Suite start around $550 per night plus taxes and a $25 destination fee, but I found rates in the $310 to $409 range on select weekends. Stays include two Newseum tickets to see the full “Rise Up” exhibit and a swag bag, among other perks.
And you don’t have to book your visit during Pride month, either. The Newsroom: Rise Up Suite will be available for stays through the end of 2019.
During my visit to the Hamilton Hotel, I discovered there’s a second specialty suite that makes perfect sense considering property’s location blocks from the White House. HBO partnered with the hotel to bring an entire truckload of original props from the comedy series “Veep” to recreate the Oval Office and the West Wing. The one-bedroom presidential suite is a detailed recreation of President Meyer’s brownstone living quarters.
The reason I mention this suite here is that the 12th floor lobby — which leads to both the Newsroom: Rise Up and the Selina Meyer Presidential suites — contains the actual Oval Office set including the “President’s” desk (Hello, selfie moment!) and Selena Meyer’s presidential portrait. I don’t want to ruin the level of detail for you, but I’ll tease with one of my favorite props.
Book Your Stay
The Hamilton Hotel is a mecca for Art Deco enthusiasts, as it’s fresh off a major renovation that preserved its 1922 provenance. It’s a really interesting combination of Flapper-era ceilings and the fastest internet in DC. Stays also come with free Lopifit rentals. (If you’re wondering, “What the heck is a Lopifit?” you’re not alone. It’s a treadmill and electric bike hybrid that looks wild.)
Sadly, the Hamilton Hotel is not in any hotel award programs, but you could use flexible points or Citi Prestige’s 4th night free benefit to help offset the cost. I could find the Hamilton Hotel on both the Ultimate Rewards portal and Hotels.com, but neither offered the specialty suites — so I think you’ll have to book direct. Both suites will be open until the end of the year, but dates are booking up quickly.
If you’re looking for a truly creative way to celebrate Pride, a trip to DC may be in order. Not only can you view the Newseum’s groundbreaking collection of LGBTQ artifacts, but you can also return to your very own private museum complete with Egyptian sheets.
For More Pride Inspiration:
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