D.C. Hotel Lands on Infamous List

And it's not the Watergate

Welcome to the world's most infamous hotel, the one you've seen a hundred times, the one that rolls right off your tongue: the Hotel Adlon Kempinski.

"What?" you ask.

It's the one where Michael Jackson dangled one of his children over a balcony back in 2003.

Ah, yes, that one.

The German hotel tops TripAdvisor's new list of the Top 10 Infamous Hotels.

Only one D.C. hotel made that list -- and it's not the Watergate. The honor goes to the Washington Hilton instead.

TripAdvisor explained: "With arguably one of the world’s most infamous hotels, The Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C., currently closed for renovation, it has been left to these 10 hotels to lead the way."

And technically, President Nixon's CReeP"y" burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in the Watergate office complex, not the hotel next door.

So, what makes the Washington Hilton at 1919 Connecticut Ave. N.W. the 10th most infamous hotel in the universe? John Hinckley Jr.'s assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan's life, which happened just steps from the front doors of the Hilton on March 30, 1981, where the president had just wrapped up a speech before AFL-CIO leaders.

"Most hotels would prefer to be known for their quality of service or amazing facilities, but sometimes their success and reputation stems from something completely out of their hands," said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.

The Washington Hilton boasts a bar, a fitness "centre," and "nearby" golf (closest public course is a 3.49-mile cab ride to Southwest). The hotel considers itself "a contemporary urban retreat situated on several acres near Dupont Circle in the heart of the nation's capital." A video link on the hotel's site looks like a Chamber of Commerce-produced commercial, although it's missing one piece of video -- the piece that would show what the Washington Hilton actually looks like.

No matter. At least this D.C. hotel's ranking on the infamous list has history and substance on its side. The nine other dubious honorees are better known for Hollywood scandals and stars behaving badly.

You won't find the old, "George Washington slept here" claim to fame. Try: "John Lennon and Yoko Ono slept here." "O.J. Simpson got 33 years in jail after us." "John Wayne invited a cow to the penthouse here." "Russell Crowe threw a cell phone at our staff member." "Led Zeppelin rode their motorcycles through this lobby." "Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning right under our roof." And lastly, "An American president nearly died on our doorstep."

But being dubbed "infamous" is a huge coup for the crowded hospitality industry with great financial benefits. Take NYC's The Mark. Actor Johnny Depp had a row with former girlfriend Kate Moss, destroyed a $1,200 suite, and was led away in handcuffs. TripAdvisor reported that "after the event, The Mark’s owner thanked Depp’s publicist for all the free publicity."

Let's Go Around Town: Keep up with what's happening in the D.C. area anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters and find out What You're Doing Tonight with texts delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text DCTONIGHT to 622339 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.) Don't forget our iPhone app!

Contact Us