Beautifully engraved Certificate from the Mayflower Hotel Company
in the 1920's. This historic document was printed by the Young and Selden Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of the famous Washington DC Hotel cars from the 1920's driving by. This item is hand signed by the company's officers and is over 80 years old.
This hotel dubs itself as "Washington's second best address." In fact, the Mayflower attracts nearly as many notables as the nearby White House -- no doubt the town's first most desirable address. Since opening its doors in 1925, the hotel has hosted Calvin Coolidge's inaugural ball and Charles Lindbergh's celebration of his historic flight. Hotel legend has it that during a visit, actress Jean Harlow was so intrigued by the hotel's switchboard that she spent a morning as a stand-in operator.
Designed by Warren and Westmore, the New York architects who also worked on Manhattan's Grand Central Station, the original hotel boasted 1,057 rooms, including 112 apartments. Hotel workers reportedly spent three months working around the clock just to arrange some 25,000 pieces of furniture delivered from New York. Extensive renovations in the early 1980s restored the hotel to its original grandeur, earning it a place on the list of the National Register of Historic Places.
Furnishings are lavish: poster beds and settees, damask wing chairs, and tiered curtains with matching bedspreads and dust ruffles. Walls are covered with faux-silk wallpaper and decorated with historic prints of local scenes. The bathroom, covered in Italian marble, is luxurious. Light-wood cabinets house an army of fluffy towels.
Notorious history: the Mayflower Hotel in Washington
What goes on behind closed doors is another matter. Judith Campbell Exner claimed that the same hotel was routinely booked for her by John F Kennedy when she visited him in the White House four blocks away.
Monica Lewinsky also stayed there after her dalliance with Bill Clinton had been exposed.
J Edgar Hoover, the FBI chief, and Clyde Tolson, his deputy and rumoured male partner, lunched for years in the hotel's lounge on a near daily basis.
Eliot Spitzer could scarcely have picked a grander location for his tryst. It was perhaps fitting that on the day the Spitzer scandal broke that is likely to consign a high-flying political career to the graveyard, the hotel was hosting a meeting of the National Funeral Directors Association.