Whatever you think of the outcome of the presidential election, we can all agree on one thing: It’s over. Now it’s time to see whether the new administration lives up to its promises. But first, we party. Washington may have a reputation for being buttoned-up and stoic, but every four years, the District throws a bash like no other. We’re talking a parade, balls, galas and, of course, Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20.
Needless to say, the inaugural is a big deal — made even bigger by the fact that an unfiltered billionaire real estate tycoon/reality TV star who defied everyone’s political expectations (and who happens to own a hotel right down the road from the White House where he’ll take up residence) is assuming office.
Officially welcoming the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a huge boon to tourism here. President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural broke attendance records when more than 1.8 million people came to watch him take the oath of office. By comparison, about 300,000 attended George W. Bush’s first inauguration in 2001.
It remains to be seen what kind of numbers Trump will draw. Either way, Washington, D.C., has plenty of hotels to accommodate the influx, and many offer inauguration packages that range from simple commemorative souvenirs to insider access to D.C. sites and restaurants. Several hotels are honoring the incoming 45th president with price tags incorporating that number. We break down some of what’s available in descending price order, though we start with the property everyone’s been talking about.
Trump International Hotel
1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Trump’s recently opened hotel along Pennsylvania Avenue is not offering any special inaugural packages — nor does it need to. According to Patricia Tang, the sales and marketing director, the hotel is 100 percent sold out. Many of the rooms were sold as five-night minimums and priced at five times the already-pricey normal rates, according to a Nov. 18 article in the Washington Post.
That’s not surprising given the namesake that now graces the Old Post Office Pavilion, though it marks a dramatic change of fortune for the plush 263-room hotel, which debuted in September to mixed reviews.
Trump’s $200 million renovation meticulously preserved the building’s historic charm, which had fallen into disrepair, while adding five-star touches, including the billionaire’s penchant for flashy gold and marble accents. The hotel boasts the city’s largest luxury ballroom, a signature spa by Ivanka Trump and chef David Burke’s BLT Prime restaurant.
But shortly after Trump International’s soft opening, many questioned the astronomical room rates (a standard room went for over $800). Prices were slashed after just a few weeks and bookings were down. Experts predicted the hotel might have problems attracting large convention business, with organizations wary of associating their brand with such a controversial candidate. Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric against Mexicans and immigrants on the campaign trail led one prominent chef, José Andrés, to pull his restaurant out of the project. The prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency also made the hotel kryptonite to many politicos and diplomats.
But in Washington, power talks — and Trump’s surprising presidential victory has made his hotel the place to be. The Post’s Jonathan O’Connell and Mary Jordan wrote that, “About 100 foreign diplomats, from Brazil to Turkey, gathered at the Trump International Hotel [in November] to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect’s newest hotel.”
Diplomats told the reporters that foreign delegations and national day receptions are sure to migrate to the hotel as “an easy, friendly gesture to the new president.”
That has led to criticism that diplomats will use Trump’s varied business interests to curry favor with the new administration. Some have privately expressed concerns about spending money at competing properties, for fear of angering the thin-skinned real estate mogul.
Despite the debate over Trump’s conflicts of interests, the hotel is poised to profit from his presidency. But that doesn’t mean other area hotels won’t be capitalizing on the biggest presidential party in town.
JW Marriott Washington, DC
1331 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Situated along the parade route, this 777-room hotel is offering the “JW Marriott Presidential Ovation” package. For $2.5 million, guests can create their own four- or five-night inauguration fête for 300 of their colleagues, family members or friends. This includes access to the hotel’s four presidential suites; 325 guest rooms; a $400,000 food and beverage minimum; a craft bourbon barrel tasting reception; customized inauguration menus specially prepared by executive chef Adam Salyer; and a private viewing party on the hotel’s 12th-floor, 7,300-square-foot terrace overlooking the inaugural parade route.
W Washington D.C.
515 15th St., NW
The closest hotel to the White House, the W has a $500,000 inaugural package that includes roundtrip airfare from anywhere in the continental United States to Reagan National Airport, three nights in the 1,176-square-foot E-Wow Suite, a curated chef’s tasting at Pinea restaurant, a private historian-led tour of inaugural-based locations and spa treatments at Bliss. Additionally, the hotel will host a private inaugural ball on its POV rooftop, including a sit-down dinner and drinks for 250 guests.
The Willard InterContinental Washington D.C.
1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
A stay at the nearly 200-year-old hotel is a walk through history. It has hosted every sitting president since John Tyler in the early 1840s, and authors Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain have put pen to paper here. Additionally, Martin Luther King Jr. finished his “I Have a Dream” speech at the hotel.
In celebration of its storied past, the Willard is offering the “Stay Like a President” package for $450,000 that includes roundtrip transportation for two from anywhere in the continental United States to Washington Dulles Airport on a private jet; private on-call limo service; a four-night stay from Jan. 17 to 21 in a presidential suite overlooking the parade route between the U.S. Capitol and White House; lunch at Café du Parc with journalist Larry King, who has interviewed every president since Ronald Reagan; a five-course in-suite dinner for eight by executive chef Peter Laufer; daily in-suite breakfast for two; and special access to behind-the-scenes tours of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center led by William F. Readdy, a former Navy test pilot and three-time NASA astronaut who commanded the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Mandarin Oriental Washington DC
1330 Maryland Ave., SW
A minimum four-night stay starts at $275,000 and includes accommodations in the 3,512-square-foot presidential suite, 45 rooms for your guests, a private cocktail reception on Jan. 19, a private breakfast on Inauguration Day and a toast before that night’s galas.
Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square
806 15th St., NW
Guests who want to pamper themselves should consider the Sofitel’s “Fit for a President” package, which costs $201,700 for four nights and includes his and hers Cartier watches from local jeweler Tiny Jewel Box; a pair of gifts from Hermès; a personal makeup and hair stylist; in-room massage; French butler service; a French champagne and caviar cocktail party for up to 20 guests; a meal and wine for two at iCi Urban Bistro; and VIP access to French high-end stores at CityCenterDC such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hermès. King rooms are also available during the inauguration starting at $995 per night between Jan. 17 to 21 with a four-night minimum.
The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown
3100 South St., NW
The $175,000, self-described “over-the-top” inauguration package covers four nights in a luxury suite and two deluxe rooms; six roundtrip, first-class tickets from anywhere in the United States; a $20,000 shopping spree to prepare for inaugural balls; the ability to host your own event for up to 50 guests that includes a cocktail reception and five-course meal with drinks, live entertainment and a photographer; an eight-course tasting menu in-suite for up to eight people; a private five-course tasting dinner for six to eight guests by renowned chef Fabio Trabocchi; and two VIP tickets to the Newseum’s sold-out 2017 Presidential Inauguration Celebration Experience. That celebration will happen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 20 and includes a complimentary breakfast and lunch with drinks by Wolfgang Puck Catering, programming with journalists and museum staff, music, activities and a front-row seat to the parade route. The hotel will donate 5 percent of the package to the Georgetown Ministry Center, which offers services to homeless men and women. This is available for four nights starting Jan. 17.
The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.
1150 22nd St., NW
The $150,000 “Discover the District in Luxury” package at the Ritz-Carlton puts extra sparkle in the celebration with a 3-carat round blue Ceylon sapphire necklace in a handmade platinum-and-diamond micropavé frame designed by locally based Shah & Shah Distinctive Jewelers in honor of the 45th president (the traditional 45th anniversary gift is a sapphire). Other package perks include a private dinner at chef Eric Ziebold’s Métier for six or eight guests; a private cocktail reception at Guarisco Art Gallery for up to eight guests; two VIP access tickets to the Newseum Inauguration Day event; a designer tuxedo and gown with a personalized hair and makeup session; and a private customized tour of D.C. with behind-the-scenes access to some sites. The package covers four nights starting Jan. 17.
The St. Regis Washington, D.C.
923 16th St., NW
The opulent property is offering a “taste of presidential privilege” for $85,000 that includes four nights in the newly renovated presidential suite; butler service; personalized White House stationary; dinner for four with a custom menu; a private class on how to saber a champagne bottle along with a bottle of Dom Perignon; afternoon tea for four; and airport transportation in a Mercedes S550.
Four Seasons Hotel Washington DC
2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
The only five-star, five-diamond hotel in the city will pull out all the stops to welcome POTUS 45. The Royal Suite is available for four nights during the inauguration for $80,000. The 4,000-square-foot space is enclosed with bullet-proof glass and can be enlarged to more than 5,200 square feet or almost 9,000, depending on your needs. During inauguration week, Royal Suite guests will receive a Presidential Stationery Book Box and a limited-edition print in a handmade leather folio from Book Arts, a local bookbinder that counts President Obama and the pope among its clients. Both items are made of Florentine calfskin and feature 23-karat gold and hand-tooled motifs that are inspired by previous White House and heads of state gifts.
Other rooms require a four-night stay between Jan. 18 and 23 and cost $1,475 to $20,000. Each guest will get a commemorative room key card featuring Trump’s image and complimentary inauguration-themed gifts every night. Additionally, a pop-up Jimmy Choo shoe shop, free Giorgio Armani makeup appointments and men’s and women’s accessories will be provided by Saks Fifth Avenue. Check out the hotel’s “Art of Inauguration” website for more details.
The Jefferson, Washington DC
1200 16th St., NW
The upscale 95-room property is pairing its “2017 Jefferson Experience” inauguration package with a yearlong celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s personal hobbies. For $80,000, guests can learn more about the Founding Father who authored the Declaration of Independence with four distinct seasonal experiences throughout the calendar year. The Jan. 18-22 stay includes four nights in the presidential suite, cocktail party for 10 in the Book Room, private dinner for 10 in the Thomas Jefferson suite and four nightly amenities, including a three-angle Smartphone camera lens to capture your inaugural moments and a gift card to Framebridge, a local framer. The spring, summer and fall stays feature highlights such as tasting menu and wine pairing for two at Plume, a spa party and a zip-line adventure at Salamander Resort & Spa.
Marriott Marquis Washington, DC
901 Massachusetts Ave., NW
This hotel, which opened in 2014, will turn its presidential suite into a tribute to the White House Rose Garden, decked out from bedroom to dining room with roses, including a living red-and-white rose wall. Priced at $75,000, the package includes a dining preview of chef Mike Isabella’s Arroz, opening at the hotel early this year, and a 24-hour champagne butler.
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th St., NW
The $60,000 “Renaissance Posh Presidential” package buys you the chance to host an inauguration party with a deejay for 50 guests in the hotel lobby. The next day, get two spa treatments at the hotel’s Aura Spa. The package also includes transportation to the hotel from the airport and a four-night stay in the presidential suite with a fully stocked premium bar and late-night snacks.
The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Ave., NW
At this 581-room hotel, the “Inauguration Celebration” package will set you back $45,000, but the hotel will donate the full amount to Children’s National Health System, which has been serving the area’s children since 1870. Available from Jan. 18 to 22, the package includes a four-night stay in the newly renovated presidential suite and two tickets to the inauguration. The hotel’s other luxury suite is also available that weekend for $15,000 per night with a two-night minimum.
Park Hyatt Washington
1201 24th St., NW
The “New American Classic” package ($45,000) includes a four-night stay in the 2,006-square-foot presidential suite; a VIP tour of Mount Vernon, the home of America’s first president, George Washington; and a chef’s table dinner for 12 at the Michelin-starred Blue Duck Tavern. The tour includes access to areas of Mount Vernon typically off-limits to guests. The package also includes souvenirs such as a wool flag blanket, a copy of “Dining with the Washingtons” recipe book and a limited-edition bottle of George Washington’s Straight Rye Whiskey, made according to the former president’s recipe.
Washington Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road, NW
The hotel honors its history with the $25,000 “Legacy of Hosting” package, including four nights in the Wardman Tower presidential suite. Longtime Wardman Tower resident Perle Mesta made Washington dinner parties into the power events they are known for today. Her guests included Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Gerald Ford. The package includes a champagne reception for 30, personalized invitations for the reception, black car service and a private four-course custom dinner for eight, designed by executive chef Abdellah Aguenaou.
The Watergate Hotel
2650 Virginia Ave., NW
The sleek, newly reopened Watergate Hotel is offering an “Unapologetically Presidential Package” starting at $20,000 per night that includes half-day spa treatments, custom monogrammed robes with a special Watergate inaugural logo, two whiskey glasses from Christolfe, a personal photographer, whiskey and cigar turndown service and other goodies.
The 10 D.C.-area Kimpton locations offer the “Inauguration’s a Ball” package for only $45 more than the regular price in honor of the 45th president, with rates starting at $520 per night. It includes a guest room, inauguration welcome gift, commemorative sunglasses, a welcome bottle of bubbly, dining credit and late check-out on Jan. 21, 22 and 23. Individual hotels also offer their own specials. Here’s what’s available:
The new Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel (1430 Rhode Island Ave., NW; masonandrookhotel.com) is offering a Shinola watch butler service, allowing guests to borrow timepieces for balls and events, and a Jos. A. Magnus & Co. commemorative bourbon delivered by Bar Cart Service. The “Presidential Treatment” package ($5,000 per night) also includes accommodations in a Premier Spa Suite, two in-room spa treatments, hair and makeup prep for galas, $100 dining credit and a VIP nighttime tour of D.C.
At Kimpton’s The George Hotel (15 E St., NW; hotelgeorge.com), situated on Capitol Hill, the $10,000 presidential suite inauguration package buys a five-night stay between Jan. 18 and 23, $1,000 dining credit per stay, private car service, on-demand tailoring, a framed copy of Washington’s inaugural address from 1789 and a private tour of Mount Vernon.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC (700 F St., NW; monaco-dc.com) has a presidential suite inauguration package starting at $15,000 that includes accommodations in the newly redesigned 810-square-foot presidential suite, a welcome amenity including a keepsake jewelry box, private dining for four in the hotel’s new restaurant, an evening in-suite reception for four and a post-inauguration outdoor fire pit for eight with hot cocktails and a late-night chef’s tasting menu.
The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City
1250 South Hayes St., Arlington, Va.
You don’t have to stay within the District’s borders to partake in the fun. Situated in Arlington, this hotel is a stone’s throw from the action. Guests who opt for the “Presidential Inauguration Celebration” package, which starts at $1,799 per night from Jan. 17 to 23 with a minimum three-night stay, get suite accommodations with Club Lounge access, a GoPro camera, a themed amenity on check-in, two free Metro passes and two VIP passes to the Newseum’s inauguration event.
Rosewood Washington, D.C.
1050 31st St., NW
This Georgetown hotel on the C&O Canal is offering a five-night package that includes in-room champagne and nightly gifts curated through partnerships with Smythson of Bond Street, Bespoke & Co. and Keith Lipert Gallery, as well as SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier. Saks Fifth Avenue will have a pop-up boutique with gowns and menswear, too. The cost per night is $1,395.
800 16th St., NW
Directly overlooking the White House and across from St. John’s Church, where the president-elect traditionally attends a morning worship service prior to being sworn into office at the Capitol, the Hay-Adams offers an inaugural package that includes a signed caricature of the incoming president, created exclusively for the hotel by Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher, an editorial cartoonist for the Economist and the Baltimore Sun. Other amenities include an inauguration-themed treat each night from the hotel’s pastry chef and access to an on-site fashion boutique, including a makeup artist. The package starts at $1,199 per night for a Superior Room, while the Federal Suite, which offers panoramic White House views, costs $8,999 per night.
About the Author
Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.