- 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
|Location||1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.|
|Architect||Warren & Wetmore; Robert F. Beresford|
|Architectural style||Beaux Arts|
|NRHP Reference #||83003527|
|Added to NRHP||November 14, 1983|
The Mayflower Renaissance Washington DC 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 on February 18, 1925, the hotel was said to contain more gold trim than any other building except the Library of Congress. The original interior design included four over life-sized portraits of the first four presidents by painter and muralist Louis Grell of Chicago.
After World War II, it was sold to Hilton Hotels. In 1954, Hilton purchased the nationwide Statler Hotels chain. As a result, they owned multiple large hotels in many major cities. In Washington, for example, they owned both the Mayflower and the Statler Hotel Washington. This was found by the government to be an anti-trust violation and Hilton was required to sell The Mayflower in 1956 to Hotel Corporation of America. HCA, in turn, sold the hotel to local investors, May-Wash Associates, in 1966. They brought in Western International Hotels to manage the hotel. In 1973, the hotel served as the temporary Chinese Embassy for a time while their new embassy building was being renovated following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
In December 1981, the hotel was acquired by Stouffer Corp to be a flagship of their expanding Stouffer Hotels division and renamed the Stouffer Mayflower Hotel. It remained open while it was completely renovated and restored between 1981-1984, at a cost of $65 million. The renovation uncovered many historic decorative elements, including a skylight in the main lobby which had been covered up due to blackout regulations during World War II. Stouffer Hotels was bought by Renaissance Hotels in 1993 and the hotel became the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.
Shortly after opening, the Mayflower hosted a ball for the presidential inauguration of Calvin Coolidge. Although Coolidge himself never arrived, the hotel has been the location of 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 declared his intention to seek a full term in 1948 at a dinner at the Mayflower, and resided there for the first 90 days of that term while the White House was undergoing renovations. 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 with Clyde Tolson 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 the 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 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 New York Times - New York / Region - 2004-10-16 The New York Times, retrieved 2010-08-08
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- Renaissance Hotel Fact Sheet - May 2011 Marriott News Center, retrieved 2012-11-09
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- "The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel, a Historic Hotels of America member". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- Farrell, William E.; Weaver Jr, Warren (1984-12-14). "BRIEFING ; Merry Hotel". The New York Times.
- Eliot Spitzer's tryst at a high-class hotel Telegraph.co.uk 2008-03-13
- Mayflower Hotel also setting in Clinton-Lewinsky scandal NYDailyNews.com 2008-03-10
- Feuer, Alan (2008-03-07). "Four Charged With Running Online Prostitution Ring". The New York Times.
- CNN (2008-03-10). "Sources: Spitzer under prostitution investigation". Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- Hakim, Danny; William K. Rashbaum (March 10, 2008). "Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring". N.Y. / Region (The New York Times). Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- Zeleny, Jeff. Obama-Clinton Meeting Fest The Caucus: The New York Times Politics Blog 2008-06-26
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.|
- Renaissance Mayflower Hotel web site
- National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places travel itinerary: Mayflower Hotel
- Mayflower Hotel Maid Finds Woman Near Death; Husband Shoots Self Through Heart
- SAH Archipedia Building Entry on Mayflower Hotel, with 2 photos