Omni Shoreham Hotel

Omni Shoreham Hotel
Omni Shoreham Hotel

The Shoreham Hotel is a hotel in Northwest Washington, D.C., owned by Omni Hotels. It is located at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street. Built in 1930, the building was designed by Waddy Butler Wood.

The hotel has also been an entertainment venue having been the home of Mark Russell and The Capitol Steps.


Notable history

On 4 March 1933, the first inaugural ball of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was held at the hotel. The hotel was outfitted with a special ramp and elevator to accommodate the needs of the new president. Subsequently, the Shoreham has hosted inaugural balls for every subsequent president of the 20th Century.[1] President Bill Clinton played the saxophone at his inaugural ball held at the hotel on 21 January 1993.[2]

The glass-enclosed balcony of the Roosevelt Suite at the Shoreham Hotel, the 1942-44 wartime home of Manuel L. Quezon

Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon had his official residence in the Shoreham Hotel, during the period the government-in-exile of the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established in Washington, D.C. from May, 1942 until his death in August, 1944. The third-floor suite (the Franklin D. Roosevelt suite) he and his family stayed in was fully enclosed, and the glassed-in balcony can still be seen to this day. During that time, the Philippine and American flags flew outside the hotel.[3]

Dr. Chris Lambertsen demonstrated his Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit (LARU) MK II, an oxygen rebreather, to individuals who were in the process of forming a maritime unit for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in November 1942 at the Shoreham Hotel.[4]

Over the years, the Shoreham has been the Washington home of many prominent politicians, including Senator Stuart Symington from Missouri. During the late 1940s and early 1950s when he was first Secretary of the Air Force, Symington was known to host President Harry S. Truman for all-night poker games.[5]

On 10 February 1964, the Beatles booked the entire 7th floor of the hotel for one evening while they were in Washington to give a concert at the Washington Coliseum during their first American tour.[6] Later that year in December, Denny Doherty performed his first show with John Phillips and Michelle Phillips, as The New Journeymen. With the addition of Cass Elliot, they would go on to be known as The Mamas & The Papas.[7] The Conservative Political Action Conference took place at the Omni from 2006 through 2009.[8][9][10]


Built in 1930 by local construction company owner Harry Bralove and designed by Waddy Butler Wood, the hotel's owners accepted Henry L. Doherty as a minority financial partner.[11] Doherty and his family moved into an apartment (now Suite 870) in the hotel, along with their maid, Juliette Brown.[11][12] A few months after the Dohertys moved into the apartment, their maid died in the night.[11][12] A short time later, the Doherty's daughter, Helen, also died in the suite.[11][12] The Dohertys moved out, and the apartment remained unoccupied for almost 50 years.[12] The apartment was renovated into a hotel suite. But guests and hotel staff began to tell stories of faint voices, cold breezes, doors slamming shut and opening of their own accord, and televisions and lights turning on and off on their own.[11][12] Guests in adjoining suites would complain of noises coming from the closed and empty Suite 870.[11][12] Other occupants say furniture would be found out of place, and hotel staff said their housekeeping carts would move on their own.[12] Todd Scartozzi, an Omni Hotels manager, stayed in the Ghost Suite with his family and observed a walk-in closet light turning on and off and its own accord.[12] The Omni Shoreham Hotel has named the room the "Ghost Suite."[11]


  1. ^ "Overview of Shoreham Hotel". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved 15 Nov 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bill Clinton First Inaugural". Smithsonian Institution. 
  3. ^ Molina, Antonio. The Philippines: Through the centuries. Manila: University of Sto. Tomas Cooperative Press, 1961. Print.
  4. ^ Butler FK (2004). "Closed-circuit oxygen diving in the U.S. Navy". Undersea Hyperb Med 31 (1): 3–20. PMID 15233156. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  5. ^ "Shoreham Hotel History". America's Historic Hotels. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Beatles First US Concert". Washington Area Musicians Association. Retrieved 15 Nov 2011. 
  7. ^ Phillips, J., Elliot, C., Phillips, M., Doherty, D., Hall, G., Hall, M., et al. (1988). Straight shooter The story of John Phillips and the Mamas & the Papas. Santa Monica, CA: Rhino Home Video.
  8. ^ High spirits and low expectations at CPAC
  9. ^ CPAC 2007
  10. ^ CPAC 2006
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Colbert, Judy. "Omni Shoreham Hotel: A Brief History." Omni Shoreham Hotel. No date. Accessed 2009-10-14.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Nuzum, Eric. "I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost." Washingtonian. November 1, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 38°55′21″N 77°3′12.6″W / 38.9225°N 77.0535°W / 38.9225; -77.0535

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