It took two years and $200 million but Trump’s latest business endeavor, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., is officially up and running. Housed in the historic Old Post Office building, the now five-star luxury lodgings swung its doors open on October 24, a strategic two weeks before Election Day.
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Upon entering, a grand atrium lobby, outfitted in sparkling chandeliers with Swarovski crystals, tufted blue furniture, and handwoven rugs atop marble flooring, makes a grand — borderline ostentatious — first impression. The extravagant decor shares the ground-floor space with a steakhouse and bar.
This air of luxury also spills into the bright rooms, which feature a chandelier, regal furniture, Nespresso machines, free Wi-Fi, and minibars that are fully stocked with Trump-branded wines and chocolates. Even the sleek marble bathrooms are dressed to the nines with a chandelier and separate shower and soaking tub. Some rooms even boast views of the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol building.
Wedged between the National Mall and Downtown, the 263-room property also happens to be well-positioned for sightseeing popular Smithsonian museums and other iconic landmarks. The building itself is home to a 315-foot clock tower, one of the highest points in the city. Still, while the daylight hours are bustling with tourists and nine-to-fivers, the after-work nightlife crowd is mostly non-existent.
And that’s not the only downside. The hotel’s beginnings have been as tumultuous as the 2016 presidential election. Since before its debut, the entrance was spray-painted by vandals, critics protested outside the property for months, and celebrity chefs Jose Andres and Geoffrey Zakarian both backed out of opening on-site restaurants after Trump’s anti-immigration comments on the campaign trail.
It seems like its swanky interiors, prime location, and constant promotion (Trump has continuously praised himself for completing the $200 million renovation “ahead of schedule and under budget”) still aren’t enough to lure guests. Room rates have been reduced, and prices for some units were even slashed in half. Even the 24-hour room service, fitness center, Ivanka Trump-branded spa, and other upscale amenities can’t seem to attract customers.
Some may have predicted this, though. Shortly after Trump won a 2012 bid to lease the building, rival hotel brands sent a warning to the federal government, stating that the financial plan for the property was doomed. While the outcome of that remains to be seen, those who are steering clear of the hotel solely for political reasons can take solace in the fact that the Trump family might not be running it for long.
For now, however, Trump plans on sticking around on Pennsylvania Avenue, whether he gets to the White House or not. During a recent presidential debate, the Republican candidate said, “We’re just opening up on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the White House, so if I don’t get there one way, I’m going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue another.”
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