Among the celebrities who stopped by the hotel were John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Casey Kasem and Jodie Foster.
Mr. Presley's stay was documented in a 1994 book by Joyce Bova, a former staffer for the investigations subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. Miss Bova said she had an affair with the singer, much of it at the hotel, beginning in late 1969 when she was 25.
Miss Bova said she met Mr. Presley and gave him her number in Washington, backstage at one of his Las Vegas shows that summer. She took the trip to relax from overtime work on a probe of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, Miss Bova said.
She said she received a call from Mr. Presley in Washington the same day he posed for his famous picture with President Nixon. Their affair began that day in Mr. Presley's room, Suite 506, she said.
For many years, Suite 506 was preserved as it appeared during his time, said Abel Anane, a 16-year employee of the hotel.
The hotel's well-known rooftop bar and restaurant offers some of the best views of the city. It was popular with Marion Barry, the former D.C. mayor and Ward 8 council member, said Summer Belman, director of sales and marketing at the hotel.
In the 1980s, when she was a waitress in the restaurant, she served a Long Island iced tea to Mr. Barry.
"At that time, I didn't know anything about drinks. I rushed and brought him this long bottle of iced tea," she said. "When I came back, he was laughing and said, 'Thank you very much, but I need a Long Island iced tea.' I had to rush to the bartender and find out what a Long Island iced tea was."
Employees said such memories make it hard for them to leave.
After a "Last Hurrah" party on Dec. 31, the hotel will close for renovations. Starwood Hotels & Resorts wasn't able to provide details of the changes in store.
Items from the property will be sold at an auction, likely early next month, Ms. Belman said. No matter what goes, the memories will stay with the 250 Hotel Washington employees, whose average tenure is 17 years.
"It's heartbreaking, to be honest with you," Mr. Anane said. "We're dealing with it day by day. It's going to hit us at the end when we close the door. It's been a great ride."
2007/12/17 By Jen Haberkorn - washingtontimes / www.epgold.com