Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington DC
The stately elegance of the Shoreham has made it a favorite destination of presidents, dignitaries and world travelers since the 1930s. Famed singer Rudy Vallee flew in for the hotel’s grand opening in a tri-motored Amelia Earhart plane. In 1933, the hotel was outfitted with a special ramp and elevator to accommodate the needs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Later, during World War II rationing, the hotel found a way to keep serving alcohol by simply buying up the entire stock of a Scottish distillery. Many prominent politicians made the Shoreham their home during the stay in Washington, including Senator Stuart Symington from Missouri who was known to host President Harry Truman for all-night poker games. The hotel was home to the legendary Blue Room, the swankiest nightclub of its time. A favorite gathering spot for John and Jackie Kennedy, the club was also the site of Liza Minnelli’s first public performance.
The basement of the property also housed a furniture factory started by C.V. Harlan, a master wood carver who was responsible for much of the hotel’s handmade furnishings and embellishments. The hotel recently completed a three-year, $80 million restoration which was one of the largest undertaken in the country.