Washington, D.C.’s Grand Dame of Hotels: The Grand Mayflower
The historic four-star Mayflower Hotel, located at 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, is a grand hotel that has hosted tourists, politicians, and celebrities alike for 87 years. Coated with green and gold carpeting and sporting leather chairs, check in desks of dark wood, and sparkling crystal chandeliers, the lobby is both impressive and welcoming. The rooms are equally impressive, as many foreign dignitaries, vice presidents, and even presidents would agree. In fact, President Truman declared it the “Second Best Address,” in Washington D.C., next to the White House.
Hotel and home to hundreds of visitors and business people of Washington, D.C. since it opened its doors in 1925, the Mayflower Hotel is a great choice for anyone planning a stay in the city on a good sized budget and looking for reliable, elegant accommodations. It is situated in a nice part of the city, located within walking distance of the shops and restaurants of DuPont Circle in addition to monuments and important government buildings (such as the White House).
Mayflower Hotel Lobby
The luxury apartments once located here have been knocked out for many years now, and as a result the hotel itself is larger than ever, with 657 normal guest rooms and 74 suites. Before you rush out to tour the sites of the city, take a few minutes to explore the hotel itself. One of the employees will be willing to show you around if you would like a tour, or, if you prefer, you can have a look around yourself, though the accompaniment of an employee will allow you more than just a quick peek in the large and beautiful State Rooms, where conferences, meetings, and large celebrations are often hosted. Most of all, you won’t want to miss the Grand Ballroom, which truly lives up to its name. A long room with glossy, wood floors, balconies lining the walls, a stage on one end, and another stage (which doubles as a connector to the “Chinese Room,” another conference room, next door) draped in red velvet on the other. This room has been the site of the Inaugural Ball of nearly every president since Calvin Coolidge.
Mayflower Hotel Grand Ballroom
If you would like to try eating at the large restaurant located within the hotel, you can expect high quality food - but at a high price. Where a meal for one person seems reasonable, if you’re there with a group, the bills quickly add up. Consider having one meal in the hotel and the rest at one of the many nearby restaurants. Another interesting dining option in the hotel (though no less expensive) is the mezzanine. A balcony tucked in to one wall of the lobby, the mezzanine serves coffee, light breakfasts, sandwiches, a small dessert menu, cocktails, and other alcoholic drinks. A great place for a quiet chat or some evening fun, the mezzanine hosts live piano performances every night and is a good choice for a quick bite right nearby your hotel room. If it is entertainment you’re looking for, a couch beneath one of the TVs mounted on the wall would be an ideal choice and a seat near the balcony would be excellent for people watching. But if you’re more in the mood to carry on a private conversation or get some work done, a table tucked back against the wall would be recommended.
Although the Mayflower Hotel isn’t exactly geared towards families, a stay with kids can be a pleasant experience. True, the state of the art gym may not be appreciated and the absence of a pool can be a disappointment, but all of the things to do in the area won’t leave the family bored. Besides, the staff is welcoming and kind to people of all ages - and the moist, sweet banana nut bread offered upon check-in is delicious!
Mayflower Hotel State Room
But be warned, the elegance and premium location of this hotel means that the rooms also come at a high cost. Especially if you are expecting a room with a view prettier than an empty alley and any more space than necessary to accommodate a king sized bed, TV cabinet and narrow walkway between the two, you should be prepared for a large bill. Yet you might just be surprised at some of the deals you can find. If you’re willing to take a little risk, you can try bidding for a spare room the company wants to fill through online sites like Priceline. Through purchasing this way, rooms have been known to become available for as low as $125 a night, less than the cost of a Hampton Inn in D.C. during the work week! Still, aside from the champagne and “famous” banana nut bread offered upon check-in, nothing is free here. Valet parking is offered, but at $45 a day and unless you are willing to haul your computer down to the lobby, Wi-Fi costs extra as well. Guests are sometimes frustrated that, despite the hotel’s high reputation, these conveniences aren’t offered automatically.
Overall, despite the extra costs and high prices, The Mayflower’s service is superb, the hotel rooms, though sometimes small, are beautiful and clean, and the location can’t be beat. The convenience and comfort you receive can be well worth the price.
Kathyrn Blanco is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program
All photos courtesy and copyright Kathryn Blanco