The Mayflower Hotel: Where Scandal Sets Sail

03/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Sarah Kershaw and Michael Powell The New York Times

The Mayflower is one of the dowager madams of Washington, whose curving facade, murals and extensive gold leaf suit a city of grandiose ambition. President Harry S. Truman called the hotel "Washington's second-best address." The White House is a five-minute walk from the front door.

J. Edgar Hoover lunched there every day for 20 years, taking a blandly predictable chicken soup, cottage cheese and grapefruit. Charles Lindbergh celebrated the first-ever solo trans-Atlantic flight in a Mayflower ballroom. Franklin Delano Roosevelt penned his first inaugural speech in Room 776.

Marion S. Barry Jr., the former mayor of Washington, was seen smoking a crack pipe in 1989 in a Mayflower room; he was later convicted for drug possession. Members of the House pursuing the impeachment of President Bill Clinton interviewed Monica Lewinsky in the hotel's 10th-floor Presidential Suite a decade later.

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