The Road to the White House: The Candidates' Campaign Hotels

Before they can even think about taking up residence at the White House (or, in Barack's case, renewing any magazine subscriptions), presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have to earn the comfy D.C. digs. Election season is heating up and the two have been on the campaign trail for months, spending night after night on the road in hotels across the country. And though their campaign accommodations may pale in comparison to one of the most famous addresses in the world, neither contender is losing any sleep at these luxe hotels that line the road to the White House.

The White House is up for grabs, and Romney and Obama are on on the road to Pennsylvania Avenue.
The White House is up for grabs, and Romney and Obama are on on the road to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Pre-Presidential Comfort

The Obamas chose the Hay-Adams Hotel for its White House views in 2008.
The Obamas chose the Hay-Adams Hotel for its White House views in 2008.

Obama: Before the Obamas took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Barry and Co. stayed at the neighboring Hays-Adams Hotel during the pre-Inauguration period. The luxe accommodations include full business and fitness centers, the popular Off the Record bar, and, of course, the only hotel with views of the White House in Washington, D.C., just in case the impending First Family were too eager to wait for their new address.

Romney: Back during the Republican Primaries in March , the former Massachusetts governor visited the Westin Copley Place in Boston to watch the voter returns with the rest of Team Romney. In addition to some millionaire-worthy amenities that include an on-site spa and Westin’s signature Heavenly Beds, the Bay State hotel boasts a great location: The Westin is connected to Boston's Hynes Convention Center, making it a choice option for business-minded travels, and, consequently, business-minded presidential candidates.

Accommodating Contributors

Romney is a Marriott-man, while Obama is all Hyatt.
Romney is a Marriott-man, while Obama is all Hyatt.

Obama: Though he’s known to draw more Hollywood types, Obama has his share of A-list business supporters, as well. Fellow Chicagoan and Hyatt hotel exec Penny Priztker was a major donor for Obama in the 2008 election, and is now the chairwoman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Earlier this year, Pritzker held a $500 per ticket event for the incumbent candidate at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, which came just after the Obamas' 17th wedding anniversary dinner at the Blue Duck Tavern in the Park Hyatt Washington D.C.

Romney: Obama may have the Hyatt empire funneling money into his campaign, but Romney has a few hotelier friends himself. Prior to accepting the Republican nomination, Romney twice sat on the board for Marriott International, and was even named after the hotel chain’s founder and fellow Mormon Willard J. Marriott (his given name being Willard Mitt Romney).

Tied by their religious roots, the Romneys have spent nearly $1.1 million of their $8 million travel expenses at Marriott hotels this election season. While out on the circuit, the Romneys have made stops at Renaissance Hotel Downtown Washington D.C., the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel, and Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, just to name a few. Romney can also be thanked for Marriott’s decision to discontinue adult pay-per-view movies at all of their hotels, which was done in effort to appeal more to his conservative base.

First Choice for the First Ladies

Michelle likes to stay active, while Ann enjoys free perks on vacation.
Michelle likes to stay active, while Ann enjoys free perks on vacation.

Obama: In true “Let’s Move!” fashion, First Lady Michelle likes to take her young daughters on some pretty active vacations. The First Family checked into the Presidential Suite at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas after a demanding 2008 election, which boasts every water sport from windsurfing to scuba diving. Michelle and the girls then jetted off solo to the Sebastian Hotel for a ski weekend in Vail this past Presidents Day while Barack stayed in D.C. So whether they’re hitting the slopes in Colorado or catching some waves in the Caribbean, the Obama girls know how to keep busy during their downtime.

Romney: Though her husband may have an outspoken loyalty to his political beliefs the Marriott brand, his wife Ann has voiced her support for Hilton. The reason? Ann has stated that she prefers hotels with free Wi-Fi, specifically naming the Hilton-owned Hampton Inn chains. Though we have yet to see any evidence of the potential-First Lady actually checking into a budget-friendly Hampton Inn, she can always take up at the Hampton Inn Washington D.C. if she doesn’t quite make it to the White House. The Capital City hotel not only has free Wi-Fi, but also offers free continental breakfasts. (Ed note: Nationwide, Marriott Wi-Fi fees average about $10.95 per night.)

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