Reporters were barred last night from a meeting between residents of a plush Alexandria condominium and candidates for the Alexandria City Council and mayor.

"It's a private meeting," said Dorothy Solinski, head of the Watergate at Landmark condominium owners association. "We always bar outsiders. This time it just happens that our speakers are candidates."

The 16 candidates for six city council seats and two candidates for mayor, according to Solinski, were invited several months ago to speak at the meeting.

"I'm surprised," said Republican city council candidate Carlyle C. Ring Jr. when asked about the private meeting. "What if a candidate says one thing to the condo owners, and another to people in Old Town? How will people know if it isn't reported?"

Solinski said that because of reporters she had "given instructions" to the guards at the complex "not to admit anyone who hasn't been cleared by the association." Reporters would not be cleared, she said.

Democratic incumbent city council member Donald C. Casey said, "There's an overriding public interest in anything council candidates do, but we don't have any choice in the matter. It's their show."

Also banned were press aides and the candidates' campaign staffs, Solinski said. More than 16,000 people are expected to vote in the May 1 general election. About 150 people were expected to attend last night's meeting.