D.C.’s Kennedy Era Madison Hotel Makes 60 Years

WASHINGTON – The Madison Hotel in Washington D.C. celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The hotel, known for hosting world leaders and celebrities, was the creation of developer and amateur historian Marshall Bentley Coyne. Coyne opened the hotel in 1963, the year President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. JFK and First Lady Jackie O. inaugurated the hotel, which was one of a set of new, modern hotels that aimed to revive downtown D.C.

The hotel was the design of the New York firm of Emery Roth & Sons, the firm responsible for the General Motors headquarters building on Fifth Avenue and the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South, as well as dozens of other modernist structures. That Coyne would hire one of the most notable hotel architects in the world was part of the positioning of the hotel. The hotel opened the same year as the firm’s Pan Am building, which it designed with Walter Gropius and Pietro Belluschi.

Notable Visitors

Because of its location at 15th and M, the hotel has hosted hundreds of presidents and notables, both in politics and society. It was even the location for Robert Redford and director Alan J. Pakula, who booked rooms at the Madison (across from The Post offices) for a month to finalize the script for All the Presidents Men.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone anniversary at The Madison,” said General Manager Hazel Hagans, in a release. “Our associates have worked hard over the years to uphold the legacy of the hotel, and we are honored to be a part of its history.”

Coyne, who died in 2000, took a personal interest in the hotel, which connected with his love of American history, and his interest in making friends with the establishment of D.C. The late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was a personal friend. He wrote after he died:

He had a collection of rare manuscripts and books. I will be very interested to see what happens to them. He had signatures he collected of almost every well-known politician, President, and Cabinet officer in the history of the United States. He obviously had a very large Lincoln collection, for he was a great admirer of Lincoln. Since I have been Chairman, when one enters the anteroom of the Senate Appropriations Committee, they will see a bust of Lincoln–it is really a reproduction of a bust of Lincoln that Mr. Coyne gave me–so people might understand the importance of Lincoln to the process we all are pursuing here; that is, equal justice for all.

Congressional Record, Volume 146 (2000)
Madison Hotel owner Marshall Coyne, in a photo from the Library of Congress by Michael Geissinger. Credit LC-DIG-ppss- 01015 (ONLINE)

After Coyne’s death, it was owned by the hotel operator Jamestown, and run by Destination Hotels & Resorts of Denver. It has had a number of affiliations, including being a part of Loews Hotels. In April 2022, after D.C. riots and COVID scares, Crescent Real Estate LLC purchased the hotel as the first investment within Crescent’s GP Invitation Fund III. It is now operated by HEI Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., as an independent Marriott hotel.

Madison Naming Tradition

The hotel carries the tradition of naming independents hotels after a notable historical figure, which was the custom in most cities in the U.S. through much of the 20th century. There are numerous Madison-named hotels across the U.S., operated by different companies and owners. One of the most interesting architecturally is the c. 1929 vintage Madison Hotel in Atlantic City, designed by Victor Gondos Jr. of the Gondos Company of Philadelphia, now underutilized as a Baymont.

Madison is also a useful name for anything involved with hospitality, as the Dolley Madison name, reflecting her role as First Lady, has been associated with cakes and ice cream. Originally, the hotel’s restaurant was named Montpelier, which was a notable fine dining location when the hotel opened, with its red leather, rosewood and crystal chandeliers.

In each redesign, the hotel has had to marry a modernist exterior with a historic interior. This architectural challenge is omnipresent in D.C., where buildings like the State Department have paneled interiors reception rooms filled with colonial and Federal antiques.

A 2012 redesign featured work by interior designer Dominick Coyne. “The challenge was to find the youth in the midst of all the tradition paying tribute to the centuries old James and Dolley Madison influences,” he said at the time.

2023 Celebrations

To mark the anniversary, guests can book a 60th anniversary package, which includes a room for $196.30 per night on weekends until Dec. 31, 2023. Booking for the 60th anniversary package is available at https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/wasmm-the-madison-hotel/overview/ using the promo code ‘ES2.’


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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