So last Friday over lunch I dropped by the Watergate Hotel Liquidation to see for myself what it would be like, and maybe snag some nice table lamps for the apartment. I walked over to the hotel, and with some directions from security, found the way up to the entrance, which was graced by an hour-long line of eager bargain hunters and Watergate gawkers. They were letting in buyers in groups of fifty, at irregular intervals depending on how many people were in the hotel at the time.
At the entrance I had to pay a $10 fee, but word is that the entrance fee was just crowd control for the first few days of the sale; from today onwards entrance is [supposedly] free. From there the group was directed to the lobby, where sample items like chairs, desks, armoires, beds, and other standard hotel room furnishings were on display, each with a tag showing a code number and price. Buyers were given order sheets, then were told to take note of what standard items they wished to purchase and in what quantities, that only a certain range of floors was open to the public, one-of-a-kind items would be individually marked, and payment could be made by cash or card at the concierge. Fixtures attached to the walls like bathroom vanities, toilets, chandeliers, and such were not to be removed, and could be ordered by code number and delivered later.
Floors 8-14 were open that day, but there were only two tiny elevators (and a service elevator which doesn’t go to the lobby) to serve the group of fifty, so I ducked into a back hallway, looked for an EXIT sign, and found the stairs. Broken light bulbs littered several steps, probably from past unfortunate buyers with hard-to-carry lamps. On the eighth floor I emerged into a dimly lit hallway, mostly empty but for the occasional buyer drifting from suite to suite, and a couple of delivery men bringing a large table to the service elevator.
About half of the rooms had been cleaned out of lamps and other small, easily-carried items. Most of the lamps lacked finials, but did all still have light bulbs. Very few armchairs were left. In one room a woman sat in an armchair and spoke quite loudly into her cellphone, “Honey, guess where I am? No. No. I’m AT THE WATERGATE HOTEL!! Yes! It’s great!”
After admiring the view from a few of the rooms, I finally found two working blue porcelain ginger jar lamps with shades — one with a finial and one without — and hauled them back down the stairs. They were not too heavy at first, but were rather bulky and difficult to carry, seeming to grow heavier and heavier as I descended. Back in the lobby, there was a bit of a queue for the concierge, but nowhere near as long as the entry line. The cashier was even nice enough to give me a spare finial. Price: $25 each lamp. These go for anywhere from $60 to $300+ each brand new.
After a long walk and a stopover at the office, the lamps are finally in our bedroom, making it much more home-like as compared to the old BB&B plastic desk lamps we used to have — as evidenced by this photo from my wife:
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs