For most ordinary people, a night at a swanky hotel means chocolate on the pillow, a bar stocked with those little bottles of booze, and a television that gets more than basic cable. But when the leader of the free world comes to town, he gets presidential-sized perks.
In preparation for President George W. Bush's Thursday-night stay, The Peabody's VIP division met to decide how to decorate his room -- appropriately named the Presidential Suite -- and what food to serve. Before the division meets, they research each VIP's likes and wants.
"In the president's case, we knew that he was from Texas, so we placed fresh bluebonnets around the room," says Peabody general manager Doug Brown. "We knew the president likes fresh fruit, so we put strawberries, blueberries, and those kinds of things in the kitchenette area."
The president also requested exercise equipment for his one-night stay. The VIP team also placed newspapers from Washington in the room so W could stay posted on events in the capital.
Did he have any special requests, like a bowl full of red M&Ms?
"He didn't request anything out of the ordinary or difficult," says Brown.
The Presidential Suite is on a locked floor for extra security, and Brown says most celebrities and political figures request it. Previous guests have included Janet Jackson, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Francis Ford Coppola, and fellow presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter. Most recently, the Prince of Monaco called the suite home for a night. At $1,675 per night, it costs about two months' rent for a two-bedroom house.
The presidential party requested 100 rooms, but The Peabody could only give them 54. Brown says the Secret Service arrived at the hotel about 15 days prior to Bush's arrival "to take all the necessary security and communication measures." Only the 11th and 12th floors were reserved for the Bushies, so the hotel wasn't closed off to other guests.
And unlike other high-profile guests and their high jinks, the room didn't suffer any shock or awe.
"The president," says Brown, "was an excellent guest."