When Katherine Lo’s father, Langham Hospitality Group chair Ka Shui Lo, tasked her with remaking the group’s Eaton brand to appeal to a millennial audience, she used her background in activism, anthropology and film to create a space that merges hospitality with social change.
Lo’s new hotel brand, Eaton Workshop, has four distinct parts: hotel, house, media and wellness. The first location is set to open in Washington, DC, early this year, with more to follow in Hong Kong, San Francisco and Seattle. “The brand is the manifestation of me ‘following my bliss’ so others can follow theirs,” says Lo. “Beyond the eco-minded design and community-oriented offerings, through the power of our programming and content, we will take a moral stance and catalyse productive, positive change through dialoguing.”
Wellness programming at Eaton Workshop is inspired by new age practices and experiential learning traditions, with a holistic approach built on the mind-body connection. This includes classes like yoga and meditation, alternative therapies like reiki and acupuncture, and sensory experiences including infrared saunas and sound baths.
“Vegetable-forward” and detox food and beverage menus will be offered, and the locations will host guest speakers in the health and wellness industry.
Leong Leong and Kengo Kuma and Associates have been brought on for the design architecture, and Gachot Studios, Parts and Labor Design and Avroko for interior design.
The brand plans a serious focus on sustainability, creating partnerships with organic bath products and organic mattress companies, installing rooftop organic gardens and wind turbines, and practising aerobic food waste decomposition.
Taking cues from political and countercultural movements from the Beatniks to last year’s Women’s March, the 209-bedroom Eaton DC will include a wellness centre with yoga, meditation and alternative treatments, as well as an event space, coworking club, rooftop bar, restaurant and 50-person cinema.
“Recent political events make our first hotel in DC that much more trenchant,” says Lo. “The Eaton we are creating will be a safe space and sanctuary for all: international, people of colour, LGBTQ and more.”
The Eaton Hong Kong will follow later this year and will open in the emerging Kowloon neighbourhood.