The Mayflower Hotel history is as storied as the city where it resides.
As one of the most historic hotels in Washington, D.C., The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection has welcomed locals and visitors alike into its elegantly gilded hallways and gloriously appointed spaces for nearly a century – playing host to inaugural balls and ladies who lunch, the famous and the infamous, decades of society weddings and legions of guests who just wanted to be in the center of it all.
Opened in 1925
The Mayflower Hotel, part of The Autograph Collection, is a capital classic, a landmark hotel that brings timeless elegance, integrity and contemporary style to its role as a vibrant social hub – a Washington, D.C. original since 1925.
1927 - Charles Lindbergh
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh was awarded the Hubbard Medal by National Geographic Society. A breakfast for 1,000 was held at the hotel.
1933 - Roosevelt
Elected president in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt, prepares to deliver an inaugural speech intended to reassure U.S. citizens amidst an economic depression. On March 3, 1933 in room 776 on the eve of his inaugural address, President Roosevelt pens one of the most famous lines in U.S. political history, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
1941 - World War II
During World War II, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt took an active role in promoting the sale of savings and war bonds as well as defense stamps. In September 1941, The Mayflower Hotel hosted the retailers for Defense Week and was one of 6,000 hotels across the country to sell the stamps.
1943 - Ballroom
In 1943, Harry Colmery, World War I veteran and former commander of the American Legion, pens a draft of the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act or GI Bill on hotel letterhead in room 570. Once passed, the bill assists millions of veterans by helping to pay for their education or home purchase once they’ve returned from war.
1945 - Winston Churchill
The acoustics in The Mayflower’s Chinese Room played a trick on Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1945. While attending a state dinner, Churchill leaned over to his neighbor to tell him an off-color joke. To Churchill’s surprise, his voice was carried up to the dome and magnified to the horror of two distinguished women and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who were all seated in the room.
1947 - Hotel Restoration
In 1947, a major restoration revealed buried treasures that had been lost for decades, such as the hotel’s silver collection pictured. A group of workers came across a locked basement storeroom with valuable gold, silver and cloisonné serving and centerpieces, urns, cases and candelabras worth several thousand dollars each.
1957 - King of Morocco
King of Morocco, Mohammed V. hosted a dinner in 1957 for President Eisenhower and Mrs. Eisenhower.
1972 - J. Edgar Hoover
The Carvery Restaurant and Coffee Shop’s most famous guest, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover dines here nearly every working day for 20 years until his death in 1972, always selecting the same menu items.. It is also here that President Harry Truman, another frequent restaurant patron, gives the hotel its tagline, “Washington’s Second Best Address.”
1981 - Reagan Arriving
Heads of state meet in a private room at The Mayflower in 1929 to foster continuing relations between North and South America, and subsequently dedicate this the Pan American Room. Later renamed the Cabinet Room, Ronald Reagan’s former aides and presidential library volunteers gather here in 2004 following his death to prepare and distribute the 1,000 funeral invitations that Nancy Reagan has asked to be sent to family and friends.
1983 - Hotel Billboard
After a major renovation, The Mayflower Hotel is placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and later named to the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America in 1989. The Trust credits The Mayflower Hotel for faithfully maintaining its “historic integrity, architecture and ambiance.”
Forever, A Consummate Host
Today, The Mayflower is a capital classic freshly rendered, a landmark hotel that brings timeless elegance, integrity and contemporary style to its role as a vibrant social hub – a Washington, D.C. original since 1925.
Exactly like nothing else, the Mayflower Hotel in the collection has been selected for its quality, bold originality, rich character and uncommon details. From near to far, iconic to historic, The Autograph Collection is an array of properties that is nothing less than unique, nothing short of collectively exceptional.
The Mayflower has been richly woven into the fiber of the nation’s capital for over 90 years — a revered grande dame in Washington, D.C. constantly reinventing itself. Recast in a refreshing new way, the timeless style of The Mayflower is reflected in refined rooms, innovative culinary explorations and signature experiences befitting one the city’s most celebrated historic hotels.
Landmark Experiences in D.C.
Let us bring to life the unique role of the Mayflower Hotel in the capital’s history with this crafted experience with your own expert local guide. Hear tales of the world’s most powerful capital drips with scandals and is embroiled in the underbelly of global clandestine efforts.