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In the News: Checking In on the Mayflower

John Deiner

So you've probably read about Eliot Spitzer and the prostitution ring by now -- and the Mayflower Hotel, where the dalliance allegedly took place.

The Post's Dana Milbank gives an intriguing overview of the case this morning in his Washington Sketch, including some historical info on the place (JFK apparently used the hotel for his own indiscretions). And if you checked out the Gridskipper travel blog this morning, there's a fun item pointing out the fact that Spitzer chose a "standard room."

We here in the Nation's Capital take our scandals seriously, and, uh, not so seriously. To that end, you can read all about past headline-makers in a couple of recent pieces in The Post, including a Sunday Source report from last August about various nefarious characters from the city's past. And the aforementioned Mr. Milbank guided Weekend section readers to scandalous spots around the city in a piece he did in November. Included: The Ritz-Carlton where Marv Albert bit a Virginia woman in 1997 and where Monica Lewinsky was recorded while having lunch with LInda Tripp in 1998.

For those unfamiliar with D.C., the Mayflower (owned by Marriott, by the way) is one of the prestige properties in town. It's a few blocks from the White House and sits right next to the Farragut North Metro station. If you have the money, it can be a traveler's best friend, as it's within walking distance of Dupont Circle eats and drinks and major attractions like National Geographic and the National Mall (if you have good sneakers, that is).

In case you're wondering, it's ranked No. 28 out of 116 hotels in TripAdvisor's Popularity Index among Washington hotels.

I've always thought it must be an unsettling place to go if you're drving into town: The entryway is always a mess of cars and taxis, and traffic in the area can be atrocious. Right beyond the lobby is an endless corridor lined with mirrors and doors leading to meeting and banquet rooms. In cold weather, it's a good way to cut between Connecticut and 17th Street and stay indoors.

I've used that detour numerous times, but I've never stayed in the hotel. Besides, it's a little beyond my budget. Okay, it's wayyy beyond my budget. I checked rates for March 27 and found the cheapest rates were $409 a night. Yow. Here's the description: "Deluxe Room, 1 king or 2 double beds, progressive, classic elegance , marble bath."

Oddly enough, for the same price you can get a Club level room, described thusly: "1 king or 2 double beds, hot breakfast, PM appetizers & desserts, upgraded amenities, rate includes high speed Internet." Sounds like a no-brain decision, right?

If you want to check in on Wednesday, March, 26, it'll cost considerably more: $469 for the standard room, $519 for the Club level.

And one more thing: The Web site is advertising a special deal, valid Thursday-Sunday through April 27. You get breakfast for two and champagne upon arrival, and rates start at $229 a night. Here's the tagline at the top of the deal: "Flirt with an Escape! Romance package from Renaissance!"

By John Deiner |  March 11, 2008; 3:20 PM ET  | Category:  Hotels , In the News , John Deiner
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You and I are the only ones that are broke! With the high prices holding, people buying new cars, new TVs, new's just the Poor that don't have any money. LOL

Posted by: What Recession? | March 11, 2008 4:00 PM

$5,500 an hour for the girl on top of the hotel rate. What sort of service was she performing? Seems like the per-minute rate (which works out to $91.67) is a lot more reasonable and realistic.....

Posted by: Rich | March 11, 2008 5:11 PM

With that kind of hourly rate, I don't think any of them could claim to be paid less then men!!! Honestly though I really can't understand what makes anybody think that cost always relates to quality. I can see the argument "you get what you pay for" only so far. No wonder many companies inflate their costs for government contracts, nobody will argue over the cost.

I have a very tight budget when it comes to accommodations ( I start to sweat when it goes above $150.00 a night) and cannot see the value in spending that kind of $ for a place to sleep ( or play as in this case). I understand recouping the cost of the furnishings and paying for labor, taxes, real estate, construction, utilities and supplies and realizing a profit. But after 5 years, how much of that room rate is pure profit? Just wondering.

Posted by: rja112 | March 12, 2008 12:59 AM

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