Disorganized travelers take comfort: Even first ladies sometimes forget to pack their shampoo.
But 14 of the women here to attend the First Ladies Conference on Drug Abuse beginning tomorrow at the White House don't need to worry. The Regent hotel will provide.
"It's a gift box with shampoo, lotions, soaps," says Regent hotel director of sales Ellen Savage, describing the present all the first ladies will find in their suites. "It's a pretty present and it includes some things people might forget sometimes. The RogeR & Gallet things are so nice and internationally known."
But caring for such guests goes beyond providing a few bars of soap. There will be refrigerators stocked with fruit juices and sodas.
"There's the red carpet, of course," said Savage. "That we put from our door to the car. The housekeeping department, or the teams for each room, line up outside each suite when they arrive in case they need assistance unpacking. The general manager greets every head of state."
And to ensure that no one is offended, there are no white flowers, carnations or mums.
White flowers, in some countries, are symbols of mourning, as are carnations and mums in certain colors, so not a one will be found in the rooms or in the halls.
Not all the participants are staying at the Regent, but those who are will fill 105 rooms and suites. To avoid the appearance of favoritism, the two "Presidential Suites" will remain empty. Give one country a "Presidential Suite," and everyone wants to have one.
Protocol, in such situations, is a delicate thing. For example, seating at official events will be determined by an alphabetical listing of the countries' names, as it is done at the United Nations.
"Obviously, when you have 18 first ladies, you have to be sure that all of them are treated the same," says Chief of Protocol Selwa Roosevelt, speaking by car phone on her way to a reception. "Each one is important to us."
Because there are so many visitors to care for, State Department officials from the different regional desks are assisting the protocol staff.
One guest will, however, probably be oblivious to all this special attention. The U.S. Military Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit bomb-hunting dog has checked into his own room at the Regent. He'll be sniffing every package and delivery.
As far as anyone knows, he will have to provide his own shampoo.