The Mayflower Hotel's Spies, Secrets, and Scandals Experience

4 hr

Instant Confirmation

Private Tour

Hear tales of the ways the world's most powerful capital drips with scandals and is embroiled in the underbelly of global clandestine efforts.
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Itinerary Details

Let us bring to life the unique role of the Mayflower Hotel in the capital's history with this crafted experience with your own expert local guide, a complimentary cocktail in the Edgar Bar. For those who book an afternoon tour, your tour kicks off with a glass of complimentary champagne. 

Hear tales of the ways the world's most powerful capital drips with scandals and is embroiled in the underbelly of global clandestine efforts.

  • Your guide will meet you in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel.
  • Start your walking tour in the Mayflower Hotel where 6 decades of presidential inaugural balls took place.
  • Hear how the hotel has been in the headlines in its nearly century of history - from World War II spies through Jeff Sessions and the Russians (We promise no "fake news" on this tour!).
  • Take a turn down the dark alleys of double-agents and KGB agents in...
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Let us bring to life the unique role of the Mayflower Hotel in the capital's history with this crafted experience with your own expert local guide, a complimentary cocktail in the Edgar Bar. For those who book an afternoon tour, your tour kicks off with a glass of complimentary champagne. 

Hear tales of the ways the world's most powerful capital drips with scandals and is embroiled in the underbelly of global clandestine efforts.

  • Your guide will meet you in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel.
  • Start your walking tour in the Mayflower Hotel where 6 decades of presidential inaugural balls took place.
  • Hear how the hotel has been in the headlines in its nearly century of history - from World War II spies through Jeff Sessions and the Russians (We promise no "fake news" on this tour!).
  • Take a turn down the dark alleys of double-agents and KGB agents in the nation's capital.
  • Hear tales of duels, slavery, secret messaging, and ghosts at the Decatur House.
  • Find yourself in the midst of two, two-timers - a story that ends in murder - at the Sickle Home.
  • Dive into the life and reign of J Edgar Hoover over a cocktail at Edgar Bar.

Your tour begins with the headlines which have made the Mayflower Hotel one of the most famous places in the city since its opening in the 1920’s, when the press announced the hotel had “more gold leaf in its adornments than any other building in Washington after the Library of Congress.” Wander the storied halls and hear tales of the names who have splashed the pages of the media from news made at the hotel—from Roosevelt’s penning “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” in one of its rooms to the place where Nixon gave his farewell speech before resigning office. 

Other rooms in the hotel have their own claims to fame: one was where Monica Lewinsky’s testimony was recorded, another where Governor Spitzer’s infamous affair with a prostitute in a high-end prostitution ring took place, and a third where a Nazi defector turned himself over. Aldrich Ames—a man whose CIA career was a bit murkier—met his Russian handlers at the hotel, Stewart Nozette attempted to sell the Mossad secrets from its quiet hallways, and only meters away is the spot where J Edgar Hoover dined daily. 

A block from the Mayflower Hotel, walk by the Pullman House, which has been owned by Russia for more than a century, serving first as its embassy and now its ambassador residence. Hear tales of decades of clandestine stories and salacious secrets of double-agents, all tied to this address. 

In Farragut Square, learn how Admiral Farragut’s grandson saved Thomas Jefferson from being hanged. In Lafayette Square, within yards of the White House, discover the clever spy craft of a Confederate agent who bedeviled Abraham Lincoln, and seduced his vice president, before meeting a horrific end. The stories in this square and the area around it abound with scandals of murder and misdeed, and your expert guide will let you in on several of their favorites tales.

As you wander back to the Mayflower, you will hear more tales of Washington’s secrets and unfolding scandals of today. Then, enjoy a cocktail and a few small plates with your guide at Edgar Bar while you learn about Hoover’s life and how the fearsome FBI head became synonymous with the hotel. 


Tour duration
4 hours

Type of tour
Walking tour – no transport costs are included. Your guide will help you get around on the day.

Tickets included
delicious cocktail at Edgar Bar at the end of your tour

Other inclusions
Children under 5 are free, though please get in touch if a child under 5 is in your party. 

Suitable for
Family, Intellectually Curious, History Buffs, Couples

Attractions along this route:

The Mayflower Hotel
Described by President Truman as "Washington's second best address", the hotel boasts nearly a century's worth of glittery and clandestine history.

Pullman House
Once the Soviet Embassy, the Pullman House has been the Russian ambassador's embassy for several years and was one of the places Julius and Ethel Rosenberg met with their handler.

Farragut Square
Civil War Admiral Farragut was famed for for seizing a key Confederate seaport and declared of the mines blocking his fleet’s advance: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

Lafayette Square Park
Given its proximity to the White House, the square is notable for innumerable scandals, most famously for Confederate spy “Rebel Rose.”

Decatur House
The second-largest mansion in the Square area after the White House was the home of Commodore Stephen Decatur, a hero of the early-1800s Barbary Pirate Wars.

Presidential Conspiracies
From W.H. Harrison through JFK, every 20 years a president died in office. Reagan 'broke the curse' with an assassination attempt that almost killed him outside a DC Hilton.

Edgar Bar and Restaurant
Located inside the Mayflower Hotel, EDGAR pays homage to its most famous patron - J Edgar Hoover - who dined daily at the hotel for over 20 years. Read Less

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel for a full refund up to 48 hours before the start of your experience. If you do not show up for the experience or fail to cancel at least 48 hours in advance, you will not receive a refund.