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Renaissance Mayflower Hotel Celebrates 80th

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 doing the
following on its 80th anniversary:

* 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. * The 80th guest who checks into the
hotel that day will be surprised with an upgrade to the hotel’s luxurious
Presidential Suite. (It’s the Presidential Suite that has actually hosted
presidents.) * Offering an eight-tier anniversary cake (one tier for every
decade) and signature banana bread that will be served to guests and those
walking by the Mayflower during rush hour (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to
7 p.m.)  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. 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

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

* 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.