Mayflower HotelEdit profile
This article is about the hotel in Washington, D.C. There are other historic hotels by the name of Mayflower, including the Mayflower Hotel on the Park in New York City (closed and demolished in 2004 ), the Mayflower Hotel in Beirut, and the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle. The Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, known locally as simply The Mayflower, is a historic hotel in downtown Washington, DC located on Connecticut Avenue NW, two blocks north of Farragut Square (one block north of the Farragut North Metro station). It is the largest luxury hotel in the U.S. capital and the longest continuously operating hotel in the Washington D.C. area, and a rival of the nearby Willard InterContinental and Hay-Adams Hotels. The Mayflower is known as Washington, D.C.’s “Second Best Address” (second to the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.), a reference attributed to President Harry Truman during his stay at the hotel during White House renovations. The Mayflower was built by Allen E. Walker, the land developer behind Brookland and other residential neighborhoods of Washington. Nicknamed the "Grande Dame of Washington" at its opening in 1925, the hotel was said to contain more gold trim than any other building except the Library of Congress. An extensive renovation completed in 1988 uncovered decorative effects, including a skylight, which had been covered up due to blackout regulations during World War II. Shortly after opening, the Mayflower hosted a ball for the presidential inauguration of Calvin Coolidge. Although Coolidge himself never arrived, the hotel has sponsored a ball every Inauguration Day since. Franklin D. Roosevelt worked on his famous "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" inaugural address while a guest. His successor Harry S. Truman resided there for the first 90 days of his presidential term while the White House was undergoing renovations, and declared his intention to run for the presidency in 1948 at a dinner there. The Mayflower's lounge, Town & Country, has long been a social center for Washington's elite. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was said to lunch there daily for over twenty years. In 1975, the Mayflower was the site of former Peace Corps and Office of Economic Opportunity director Sargent Shriver's formal announcement that he would run for President of the United States. The hotel came into spotlight several times in relation to political-sex scandals. President Kennedy's supposed mistress, Judith Campbell Exner was established in the hotel and supposedly sneaked into the White House when his wife was away. Monica Lewinsky was staying there when alleged her affair with Bill Clinton was in the news. The Mayflower was also the location where Lewinsky had been photographed with President Clinton at a campaign event not long before the 1996 election; this photograph would become an iconic component of the media coverage of the scandal. On March 10, 2008, The New York Times reported that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had on the evening of February 13 patronized a high class prostitution service called Emperors Club VIP and met for over two hours with a $1,000-an-hour call girl in room 871 of the Mayflower Hotel, where Spitzer registered under the pseudonym George Fox, but with his own Fifth Avenue Manhattan address. The resulting scandal caused him to announce his resignation on March 12, 2008. The Mayflower appeared in the news once again as the location of a meeting at which Hillary Clinton introduced Barack Obama to about 300 of her leading contributors on June 26, 2008.