Valentine’s Day is finally here, and DC’s lovebirds are ready to celebrate. When a basic dinner reservation isn’t enough, some Valentines are willing to go the extra mile to spice things up. We asked hotel reps and restaurant owners around town to share some of the quirkiest Valentine’s Day requests they’ve gotten over the years. Here are our favorites:
A real-life cupid?
“A few years ago, a guest checking in to the hotel that afternoon called and asked if we could find a ‘real’ cupid to be in the room to shoot his partner with a fake arrow,” says Melrose Georgetown Hotel general manager Modi Ahmed.
“The team rallied and contacted a local acting school. We found an actor willing to do it, who just so happened to have access to angel wings. The ‘cupid’ was waiting in the room when the couple arrived and shot the fake arrow at the guest. Then the other guest got down on his knee and proposed.”
Forget flower petals, sometimes snacks are all you need
“We frequently get asked for rose petals to be placed on the bed and in the room prior to arrival,” says Meredith Goldberg of the Jefferson. “One time, we had a guest request a heart made out of Goldfish crackers instead, which of course we accommodated, although I’m sure our housekeeping team was not thrilled.”
A chocolate-y engagement
“[One Valentine’s Day] my pastry chef was freaking out because [a man] wanted the ring baked inside the dessert,” says Equinox Restaurant co-owner Ellen Kassoff. “All was well—we were a little concerned she might take a bite into it, but I think it was arranged in such a way that it would be prominent.”
The fiancée-to-be easily found the sparkling ring inside the hard candy shell’s light, creamy mousse. “And yes, she did run to the bathroom to rinse off all the chocolate that was on her hand. That was cute,” Kassoff says.
Preparations for a love letter serenade
“[The DC restaurant] Marcel’s has been running a love letter-writing contest for the last four years. One customer who submitted a love letter asked for us to print his love letter and have it on the table when they arrived for their reservation,” says Polly Wiedmaier of RW Restaurant Group. “When they arrived, he took the letter and sang it to her — that part was unexpected, but sweet.”
An oyster proposal
“I got a request last year from someone who wanted to propose on Valentine’s Day,” says Clarity Chef Jon Krinn. “They loved the oysters, so they had me open an oyster, take out the oyster, put the ring in the oyster, and then sort of glue the oyster back up. I had to open it up in front of them.”
The routine was a part of a special dish that allowed Krinn to interact with guests, opening oysters and placing them into a warm truffle and caviar broth, but this was the only one he had to open twice. “It looked like it had never been opened, and inside was the ring and he proposed. Pretty cool,” Krinn says.
A special cocktail for two
“We did have a guest that requested that we come up with a cocktail that he could have in the room and serve it one way or another,” says Duane Sylvestre, former head bartender at Bourbon Steak. “For me that was thought provoking and we came up with a drink and called it ‘Adam and Eve.’ It was essentially a stirred cocktail that could be served similarly to old fashion style, or they could add sparkling wine to it and it could become something completely different.”
The old fashioned beverage was garnished with a lemon peel, while the sparkling one was garnished with tiny heart cutouts taken from the lemon peel. (A nod to the Biblical story that says Eve was made from Adam’s rib.) “They loved it, we ended up having to put it on the menu eventually,” Sylvestre says.
A hotel honeymoon transformation
“A few years ago, we received a telephone call from a future guest,” says Greg Leinweber at Kimpton Hotel Monaco. The couple wanted to celebrate their Monte Carlo honeymoon anniversary, so during Valentine’s Day weekend, the hotel’s team recreated a scene from their honeymoon in their hotel suite, complete with grape leaves and vines above the guest bed, a French and Italian playlist, and a French picnic on the coffee table with a bottle of French champagne.