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THE MADISON HOTEL
This is a classy hotel in the heart of Washington. It is said that every U.S. president has stayed at the Madison since it opened in 1963 and the late Bob Hope used to enjoy breakfast here when he was in town.
While working with RKO Radio in the 80s, we had a few meetings in Washington and this was where the company put us up. It was a great choice.
The rooms are very nicely appointed here and the staff couldn't be nicer and more accommodating.
During one visit here, it just so happened that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek was staying here and on my floor -- the 6th. Secret Service Agents were stationed at the elevators on the ground floor and on the 6th floor. I had to go out and get some deodorant (which I had forgotten to pack) and it was thoroughly inspected by the efficient Secret Service guys as I returned to the hotel. I've worked with Secret Service guys many, many times during my decades in radio and they're not only efficient but pretty nice guys.
I rode up to the 6th floor with three agents one afternoon and they had a "break room" right across the hallway from the elevators. I watched these guys go into the room and take off their guns and pile them on a table.
One night after an RKO function I returned to the Madison and while waiting for an elevator, a really drunk guy staggered up. He had no idea that Egypt's President was staying at the hotel but he, too, had a room on the 6th floor. The ground floor agents snickered behind the drunk's back. When we arrived on the 6th floor, the drunk saw two Secret Service Agents just outside the elevator. He obviously thought they were hotel employees and appealed to one to help him to his room. Without batting an eye, a Secret Service Agent grabbed his arm and escorted him to his room. Pretty funny stuff.
During this visit the old RKO gang got a private audience with then President Ronald Reagan at the Old Executive Office Building at the White House compound. He was pretty much a stick in the mud. All of his top men welcomed usincluding Attorney General Edwin Meese. He was so funny he could have done stand-up comedy! Larry Speaks, Reagan's White House spokesman, was also there and explained that Reagan was just having "one of those days" and that he wasn't very outgoing. I expected him to say to us in his classic voice: "Well boys, I'm glad to see that you're from RKO. That was a fine motion picture company in its day."
The Madison is now a Lowes Hotel and, surprisingly, gets only 4 stars. And this after a renovation in 2005. Am I missing something here? Great location, great facility, great people. Great hotel! Stay there! And for Washington, it's surprisingly affordable--depending on which group is in town that day.