The Ritz Tells Gym Crowd to Go Take a Power Walk

The Ritz-Carlton has banned members of L.A. Sports Club from riding the lobby elevator to get to the gym.
The Ritz-Carlton has banned members of L.A. Sports Club from riding the lobby elevator to get to the gym. (Tetona Dunlap - The Washington Post)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

That groan coming from L.A. Sports Club? It's the sound of members at the exclusive gym who've been kicked to the curb by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The Ritz has banned club members from using hotel elevators to ride one floor from the lobby to the club on the second story. Why? Apparently, hotel management doesn't like sweaty jocks in workout gear mingling with paying guests at the swanky establishment. And they take the free apples from the lobby!

The rule, which went into effect yesterday, requires any gymgoers who park in the underground garage to walk outside from the lobby and use the club's separate entrance on 22nd Street. That means Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Rep. Jim Moran, Jenna Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, former mayor Tony Williams and other VIPs spotted exercising there will have to expose themselves (in workout gear, no less) to rain, snow and paparazzi.

The hotel tried similar bans when it opened in 2000 and within the past year, although members -- who pay $150 or so a month -- raised such a fuss the rules were never implemented. Last week, signs appeared directing club traffic to the sidewalk yet again, causing near revolt from everyone who sweated through the club's renovation.

Both hotel and gym are owned by Millennium Partners, although the operating agreement lets the Ritz decide who goes up and down the elevators. Hotel General Manager Adriaan Radder did not return calls, and a spokeswoman for L.A. Sports Club said she had no comment.

A Birthday Bash With Over 100 of His Closest Friends

When everyone else left town for Labor Day weekend, Clinton Portis and company took over. Festivities for his 26th birthday kicked off Friday with a little dinner for 75 in a private room at Zola, where the Redskins running back's pals enjoyed roast chicken breast with truffled spaetzle and wax beans, cake, champagne, roasts and toasts and "parlor games," we're told. (Charades? Twenty Questions? Kids these days . . . ) Our blogging colleague Dan Steinberg reports the price tag ran in the high teens of thousands -- but then, dinner was just the beginning, as the crowd moved on to Posh nightclub.

And then, on Saturday (his actual b-day), it was on to the Kennedy Center's Roof Terrace Restaurant with 100 guests (including Santana Moss, Ladell Betts and Ray Lewis) and the hip-hop/classical genre-bending duo Black Violin, after which a more intimate crowd of 60 retired to a private room at Lotus. Ever flamboyant, Portis showed off his birthday suit -- oh, stop it, you know what we mean! -- the navy blue suit he had tailor-made for the night.

Love, Etc.

Expecting: Oscar-winner Halle Berry, 41, and her model boyfriend, Gabriel Aubry, who is early 30ish. The first-time mom (who was close to ex-husband Eric Benet's young daughter) told "Access Hollywood" yesterday that she's three months pregnant.

Wed: Tobey Maguire, 32, and longtime girlfriend/baby mama Jennifer Meyer, 30, in a small Labor Day ceremony in Hawaii, People magazine reports. The "Spider-Man" star and the studio chieftain's daughter welcomed baby Ruby last fall.

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

Chuck Norris at the Marine Barracks on Friday watching the final Evening Parade of the summer, at which Sen. Jim Webb was guest of honor. The dress code was business attire, but the action star showed up in lumberjack plaid; then again, if your business is kicking butts and taking names . . . .


"Just as a bank won't lend you money unless you are too rich to need it, exercise is a pastime only for those who are already slender and physically fit. It just isn't so much fun when you have a marked tendency to wheeze and throw up, and a cannonball of a belly sloshing around inside the baggy garments."

-- Christopher Hitchens in the October Vanity Fair, on his new program of self-improvement (spa treatments, yoga, dentistry, etc.). The scotch/nicotine enthusiast declares walking "overrated: I mastered the art of doing it when I was quite small."

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