Hotel Online  Special Report

Renaissance Mayflower Hotel Creates Permanent,
Museum Quality Exhibits Throughout the Hotel
Features Stories Highlighting 80 Year History


WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2005 - On February 18, 2005, the historic Renaissance Mayflower Hotel is celebrating its 80th anniversary with the unveiling of permanent, museum-quality installations throughout the hotel that highlight the Mayflower's prominent past.  The hotel, which opened its doors on February 18, 1925, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, recognized for its architectural significance, as well as its historic distinction.  With 657 rooms, the Mayflower is the largest luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.
In addition to the exhibits, the Mayflower also will be offering the J. Edgar Hoover menu in the hotel's Cafe Promenade. J. Edgar Hoover ate the same lunch every day at the Mayflower at the same table for more than 20 years while he was head of the FBI.  Although he ate a rather bland diet of chicken soup, toast, salad, cottage cheese and grapefruit, Cafe Promenade's menu will feature culinary highlights served at the hotel over the last 80 years.

Behind the Scenes

The exhibits include a large plasma screen installation in the hotel's Main Promenade.  The multi-media display features stories about famous events and happenings at the hotel with a focus on the people who worked behind the scenes. 

Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, District Of Columbia
The stories are communicated through a combination of historic photographs, text and streaming video.  Another exhibit on the hotel's mezzanine level features artifacts from the hotel's history, such as a complete place setting from the hotel's original china, silver serving pieces and gold chargers, as well as old photographs, blueprints and original menus.  Many of the original artifacts were collected by hotel employees past and present.

Keith McClinsey, a senior event manager at the hotel, oversaw the development of the hotel's history installations and became so involved with the project, he conducted his own scavenger hunt to obtain hotel objects lost over time.  Using online auctions and many searches through the hotel's archives in the basement, his many discoveries include old postcards, a set of original Mayflower china, silver pieces and photographs.

Famous places and spaces

A brochure offering a self-guided tour to the hotel is available at the concierge desk.  The guide features several stopping points throughout all public spaces and highlights works of art, artifacts, architecture and historic events.  The hotel also is placing plaques in key guestrooms and meeting spaces throughout the hotel to commemorate famous happenings, such as:

  • FDR wrote his inaugural speech in 1933 in the hotel's Suite 776 and the infamous lines, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
  • The hotel's Grand Ballroom, site of every inaugural ball up to the Reagan Administration, was also where FDR celebrated his 61st birthday, Charles Lindbergh celebrated his flight around the world and Amelia Earhart received her special National Geographic Society Gold medal from President Hoover for being the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo.
  • At the request of President Nixon who had just arranged for the U.S. to exchange diplomatic missions with China, the 6th floor of the Mayflower served as a temporary Chinese Embassy in February 1973 while the Chinese embassy offices were being renovated.
Located just four blocks from the White House, the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel is best known as "Washington's Second Best Address" as coined by frequent guest and former U.S. President, Harry S. Truman.  Since the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel opened its doors in 1925, the hotel has been regarded as the "Grande Dame of Washington, D.C." 


Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
Also See: With Hotels Dating Back to the 17th-century, National Trust Historic Hotels of America Often Played Host to Presidents and Sometimes the President Leaves Behind an Interesting Tale / February 2004
Designers Provide Tips on Historic Integrity and Ambiance; Designing for the Ages, National Trust Historic Hotels of America®/ December 2003

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