Inspiration can come from just about anywhere: a beautiful painting, a setting sun, a protest. It can be a Zoom call from your BFF encouraging you to stay in that boring internship.
At Hotel Zena, located in Washington, DC, there’s no shortage of inspiration. From its female-warrior mural standing guard on the exterior of the hotel, to its see-through reception desk housing women’s worn high heels (a testament to the fact that womxn can do anything that men can do—and in high heels!) everything is dedicated to female empowerment.
Its cozy lobby and walls decorated with beautifully curated artwork designed and photographed by local and global artists will reintroduce you to prominent female changemakers like Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem, whose stories have influenced the world.
“Hotel Zena was created primarily by women, for people, both women, and men. It is a hotel that offers a haven for all genders, races, and sexualities; where an atmosphere of strength and femininity live in harmony,” said Bill Walshe, CEO, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts.
And this vibe of feminine strength is everywhere on display.
Walking through the colorful interior of the 191-room hotel transports you to a world where womxn run the world. The black-and-white portrait Wall of Honor is comprised of 221 notable womxn (and men) past, present, and future, in a space that allows you to contemplate their achievements as well as your own. While gazing in awe at the wall, I found myself mentally brushing up on notes from my high school’s social studies classes and being inspired by their accomplishments. What did you want to be when you grew up? Chances are, there’s a womxn on the wall who has held that title.
Cutting through the hotel restaurant, Figleaf, behind the very grown-up bar, stands a curved wall of 8,000 protest buttons from the present and past. Messages like “keep your policies off my body” and “a woman’s place is where ever the hell she wants to be” and an enlarged protest photograph across the room create visual representations of the many protests for the struggle for womxn’s rights throughout the years.
Become entranced by the textured portrait presenting the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Overlooking the lobby, it was created from 20,000 hand-painted repurposed tampons, with a steel collar, and is a testament to her strength.
Every room on every level contains artwork inspired by (and in many cases created by) women. The fitness room has its own wall art—a light fixture that encourages its users with a motivational message, “Wake up, kick ass, be nice, repeat.” Words to live by as we navigate this crazy, unpredictable world.