- The Washington Times - Monday, June 7, 2004

District hotels report a rush for last-minute reservations by politicos, dignitaries and reporters coming to Washington to pay their respects to former President Ronald Reagan.

About 100,000 people are expected to come to view Mr. Reagan’s body, which will be lying in state in the Rotunda beneath the Capitol dome, and for the funeral at the National Cathedral on Friday.

Space was already tight at area hotels this week with business travelers, an 8,000-person convention in town and foreign embassy officials passing through Washington on their way to the Group of Eight Summit in Sea Island, Ga. Many foreign dignitaries are expected to return to Washington from the G-8 gathering, which ends Thursday.

The Marriott and Renaissance hotels in the city have picked up business from news and embassy officials who have extended their stay, said spokeswoman Lisa Colburn Stewart.

The Four Seasons Hotel in the District is fully booked this week. The luxury hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Georgetown was booked as of last week, but some groups have canceled their business meetings, while other delegations and dignitaries have picked up rooms.

“An event like this affects a lot of people,” said Four Seasons spokeswoman Tricia Messerschmitt.

The Ritz-Carlton on 22nd and M streets in Northwest, which took many requests over the weekend, is sold out. This week the hotel is hosting a companywide meeting of Ritz-Carlton officials and has participants doubling up in rooms to make space for new guests, said Paul Westbrook, vice president and area general manager.

The 300-room hotel is also honoring Mr. Reagan with a red, white and blue flower arrangement in the lobby. The turndown service in the rooms tomorrow and Thursday nights will include red, white and blue jelly beans and a note in memory of Mr. Reagan.

In addition, the hotel will have a leatherbound book at the front desk so guests can record their memories of Mr. Reagan and his administration. The book will be donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

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