You might recognize Lo’s father as Lo Ka Shui, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent real estate billionaires who chairs Great Eagle Holdings and owns the luxury hotel chain Langham Hotels, or her uncle, Vincent Lo, also a real estate scion. However, unlike some of her ostentatious, Instagram-famous peers who have been profiled by the media as “real life Crazy Rich Asians,” 36-year-old Lo has different plans on how to use her privileged background.
A graduate of Yale and Philips Exeter Academy, Lo obtained a masters in film from the University of Southern California, choosing to explore her interests in the media arts and environmental activism over real estate. She advocated for Greenpeace as a student ambassador and her latest project as a filmmaker was a documentary on the architect Mies van der Rohe and his grandson. Now, Eaton Workshop will be her first independent venture, funded by her father’s company, into the family business.
“About five years ago, my father sent me a challenge to create a hospitality brand that would anticipate the changing needs of the world he saw around him,” Lo said. “I took all my personal passions, such as the arts and social change, and channeled that into the creation of this new brand.”
Eaton House DC will officially open in downtown Washington D.C. on October 1 as a “dynamic working club” for social activists, artists and entrepreneurs–think Soho House, but with a side of Burning Man. The brand has already launched another Eaton in Hong Kong, with plans for future locations in Seattle and San Francisco in the next two years.
Eaton House is hardly the first corporation to take a stab at becoming the newest buzzy epicenter of the arts and culture crowd with its members-only club concept, but it may be the first to focus exclusively on social good. According to the press release, Eaton House members will be carefully vetted to ensure that they fit the club’s ethos, with a maximum capacity of 300 members for the D.C. location.
Just a shadow of its former Four Points Sheraton self, the building that houses Eaton House DC will include amenities such as a 50-seat professional screening room, Creator’s Room equipped with editing software and tools, wellness studio, private conference rooms, in-house radio station, and rooftop bar. Coworking membership rates will start at $400 per month for a hot desk, extending up to a 6-person office space for $4500 per month.
Oh, and there’s also a hotel attached, set to have its grand opening in late September with 209 rooms starting from $199 a night. Chef Tim Ma will head the hotel’s 150-seat flagship restaurant, American Son, which will serve American cuisine with an immigrant twist. There will also be Kintsugi, a 42-seat cafe providing coffee and baked goods, and a lobby cocktail bar to top it all off.
Lo’s ultimate vision for Eaton House is to have it become a “third place” in-between work and home for its members, a la Starbucks. The D.C. location hopes to serve as a major events space for activists and arts-oriented people, as well as a headquarters for promoting the liberal-skewing causes the brand believes in, such as gender equality, LGBTQ rights, environmental justice and immigration issues.
In a city like Washington D.C., where the crowd has “a really high standard of intellect and engagement,” Lo wants to help nurture an “unconventional approach to politics” through Eaton’s physical space. There is also the fact that Trump International Hotel sits a mere six blocks over from where Eaton will open. Lo, who once served as a student ambassador for Greenpeace and whose hotel will include a plaque acknowledging the hotel’s foundations being built upon land originally belonging to a native tribe, seems like a model anti-Trump hotelier.
Across the pond, Eaton House HK is a few steps further along in its opening, and has been met with what Lo views as encouraging success.
“I’ve witnessed the growth of the member community from personal friends and contacts to a really robust community, unlike any I’ve seen in Hong Kong,” she said. “I feel like Eaton House offers [members] a space to have open minds and experiment with ideas and projects. We hope to create the same in D.C.”