Ritz Hands Out Valentine's Love

By: Carolyn Kriss

The Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown had put together an unparalleled night of pampering and luxury for Valentine's Day: The once-in-a-lifetime centerpiece of the $175,000 package (which included a $75,000 donation to the Kennedy Center) was a private dinner for two on the stage of the Kennedy Center's Opera Hall, decorated with 1,200 (!) roses, and accompanied by a violinist and a "discreet" photographer. Also included were the hotel's presidential suite for the night, in-suite professional hair and makeup styling, a designer tuxedo, Neiman Marcus gown, coordinating accessories, and a Cartier diamond ring—as well as a limo ride to the Kennedy Center and back complete with a police escort. Back in the Presidential Suite after dinner, the two pampered guests would find a rose-petal turndown, a butler-drawn bath, monogrammed pillowcases and bathrobes, personalized chocolates, and an invitation to return to The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown every Valentine’s Day for the next 25 years. Altogether, not a bad way to propose if one was inclined and also had the extra cash rolling around.

As Valentine's Day neared and the deluxe package went unsold, Ritz executives decided to offer a more reasonable version of the package to a wounded Iraq veteran. Thus tonight, Army Sergeant Dan Alderman, 24, of Hawaii, and his eight-month pregnant fiancée will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime evening of their own. Alderman is a 4 1/2-year veteran of the service, and did a tour in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 before being deployed to Iraq. Three months into his Iraq tour, he was wounded by a roadside IED outside Kirkuk. He lost his left leg below the knee and is currently undergoing intense physical therapy as an outpatient at Walter Reed. 

Tonight Alderman and fiancée Samantha Keyser will be picked up by a limo at Walter Reed, whisked to a premiere suite at the Ritz, treated to a specially prepared gourmet dinner for two prepared by Fahrenheit Chef Terence Feury, a dozen roses, and rose-petal turndown service upon returning to their suite, as well as breakfast in bed Thursday morning.

The best part of the evening though? It's free—only $175,000 less than the original luxury package.