Marzipan and chocolate elephants are stampeding through the hotel suites of Very Famous Guests -- as Washington's new and renewed luxury hotels prepare celebrations more befitting a coronation than an inaugural. Not only will they comfort their guests with apples, but also with kiwi fruits and truffles, gifts bearing inaugural seals and other lavish blandishments.
The hotels, like secret lovers, want to brag about their famous guests, but are afraid of offending. And no guest booking is considered definite, since the famous are notoriously fickle. On top of that, some bookings have been made by third parties, confusing the issue.
Two of the favored famous have each made two hotels glad. Bob Hope, said Madison Hotel owner Marshall Coyne, "of course, is staying with us, he always does. I've talked with him myself." But Bettye Bradley at the Embassy Row Hotel said, "The Republicans booked Hope in with us. We are giving him the suite that William Buckley Jr. released because his wife is ill. We were surprised because we know Hope always stays at the Madison." Charlton Heston is booked at both the Jefferson Hotel and the new Sheraton Grand. Josef Ebner, manager of the Sheraton Grand, said, "You know how these people are. They book in here. They book in there. Maybe they don't want people to know where they're really staying."
* Embassy Row Hotel is providing foot warmers for guests returning from the outdoor inaugural ceremonies, said Bradley, and four-hour laundry and cleaning by hand for the disastrous caviar drip. The guests to be offered these services include such Reagan Regulars as Jerome Zipkin, Betsy Bloomingdale, Estee Lauder, Maria Plesch, Mary Martin and the Rev. Donald D. Moomaw, who will give the invocation at the inaugural ceremonies.
* Madison Hotel's Coyne says he plans to surprise guests with gifts, though he won't say just what those gifts will be. The hotel's expected guests include: the Rev. Billy Graham and Ruth Graham, Helen Boehm (of the porcelain bird fame), lawyer Roy Cohn, Pepsi-Cola's Don Kendall, oil magnate and art collector Armand Hammer, singers Frank Sinatra and Perry Como and entertainer Dean Martin.
* Four Seasons Hotel, fully booked since June, has a waiting list that could fill its 197 rooms three times, which include 25 suites, said its new assistant executive manager Karl Heizmann. Its favored guests, most likely to include "Silver Spoons' " Ricky Schroder, will receive baskets of homemade truffles, tropical fruits, cognac, champagne, a Four Seasons Washington calendar, rental arrangements for the forgotten tuxedos and personal shoppers for those who didn't bring their inaugural ball gown.
* Watergate Hotel will dispense, according to spokeswoman Marie Stanley, a Sevres crystal vase, bars of the bee pollen called President's Lunch, Korbel champagne with a special inauguration label, Watergate's notorious truffles and cookies, all packed in a 2-by-2 foot hat-shaped basket tied with a red, white and blue ribbon.
* Bristol Hotel, which has just opened its doors, is sweetening its 240 suites (no single rooms) with red, white and blue jellybeans, Harvey's Bristol (no relation) Cream sherry, and -- perhaps the gift of the season -- free umbrellas with the hotel's logo. Manager Robert Burnett promises occasional glimpses of actresses Sally Struthers and Rita Moreno, playing in "The Odd Couple" at the National Theatre, and New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, who will be singing at the Kennedy Center.
* Vista International Hotel will dispense coffee, tea, sparkling wines and music by the Vista strings free in the lobby to guests on the afternoon of Jan. 18. The rooms, said staffer Diana Kaiser, will be decorated with seven-inch chocolate elephants, flowers, Givenchy cosmetics, cognac, cookies and American flags. Vista knows its guests -- it has arranged extra secure storage for furs and jewelry and intensified security all around.
* Regent Hotel, which opened this fall, also will have extra security, including TV's "Knight Rider," David Hasselhoff. The staff expects guests to bring so many long gowns, it has added extra-height clothing racks. The hotel will be on its toes because, among other reasons, Caroline Hunt Schoellkopf, who is planning to open the new Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown, is one of the expected guests.
* Mayflower Hotel, fresh from a $65 million renovation, wants to make it look as it did during Calvin Coolidge's Inaugural Ball in in 1925. It will remember its guests with a hand-decorated commemorative dish made especially for the hotel, with a picture of a ship (guess which) and a line marking it as the Inauguration 1985, said Marilyn Piety, hotel spokeswoman.
* Hay-Adams Hotel guests in the favored fourth- through eighth-floor suites can watch the Inaugural Parade without leaving their rooms because the hotel sits squarely at 1 Lafayette Square, across from the White House. For dull moments, hotel president Rose Narva is providing a copy of the book, "Presidential Trivia" by Jason Stern, a bottle of wine with an inaugural label, a porcelain ashtray -- made by Mottahedeh for American embassies abroad -- trimmed with red, white and blue stripes around an eagle. With such goodies, there's no mystery why Pierce Brosnan, television detective Remington Steele, is staying at the Hay-Adams as are actresses Eva Gabor and Jaclyn Smith. Jefferson Hotel's manager Paul Limbert, an Englishman, well remembers Queen Elizabeth's coronation, so he's hanging bunting from the outside of the hotel and offering up mints with the inaugural seal. Just in case the pre-inaugural events pale, he's putting up television sets all over the bar for the Super Bowl, to entertain his guests, who include Attorney General William French Smith (who has lived there with his family through his term), and Peter Jennings of ABC. One guest is so overwhelmed by it all, he's flying his mother and son in from Chile for the carryings on.
* Guest Quarters' Nancy Pavey, the general manager, is putting in wine and cheese baskets and stocking the refrigerators for staffs from the three major networks who'll be working 'round the clock.
* Capital Hilton, said Renee Subrin, director of public relations, will be full of American Legionnaires who are celebrating their Salute to Heroes banquet for the 252 living holders of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
* Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, said Rick Fowler, its spokesman, has renovated all its suites, and added 50 more staff members to take care of the Texas delegation and the Beach Boys, among others.
* Sheraton Grand, just opened before the new year, is expecting muscle man Arnold Schwarzenegger, many of the Republican Eagles (who give a minimum of $10,000 a year to the party), and officials of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
* J.W. Marriott Hotel, another new hotel on the parade route, is expecting Republican National Committee members.
And then there is the question, says inaugural committee spokesman Tucker Askew, of just where the woman is staying who called up to say she was the acting president and soon would be sworn in as "something better than that."