D.C. Hotels Less Busy For Obama’s Second Inauguration

December 26, 2012 6:02 pm  

(AP) — Visitors coming to the nation’s capital for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration can’t stay in the one place President Ronald Reagan’s family once called an eight-star hotel. That spot is the White House, and it’s booked for the next four years. Still, inauguration-goers have a range of lodging options — from crashing on a friend’s couch to rooms that cost thousands of dollars a night.

With second inaugurations tending to draw fewer spectators, finding a place to stay in Washington won’t be nearly as difficult as in 2009.

City officials are expecting 600,000 to 800,000 visitors for the Jan. 21 inauguration, far less than the 1.8 million people who flooded the National Mall four years ago to witness the inauguration of America’s first black president. Back then, some hotels sold out months in advance and city residents rented out their homes for hundreds of dollars a night. This time, hotels say they’re filling up more slowly, with rooms still available and prices at or slightly below where they were four years ago.

“Very few hotels are actually sold out at this point, so there’s a lot of availability,” said Elliott Ferguson, CEO of the tourism bureau Destination DC, who added that he expected demand to pick up after Christmas.

In 2009, hotel occupancy in the city for the night before the inauguration was 98 percent, and visitors paid an average daily rate of more than $600 that night, according to STR, a company that tracks hotel data.  This time, some hotels still have half their rooms available. As a result, some establishments have relaxed minimum stays from four nights to three and could drop prices closer to the inauguration if demand does not increase.

Despite the muted enthusiasm, many of the city’s posh hotels are still offering pricy packages. Visitors with an unlimited budget can check in to accommodations almost as grand and historic as the White House.

At The Willard hotel, about a block from the White House, rooms were still available starting at more than $1,100 a night with a four-night minimum. That means every guest will pay more than President Abraham Lincoln did when he checked out after his 1861 inauguration and paid $773.75 for a stay of more than a week.

At the Park Hyatt hotel in northwest Washington, where rooms start at $849 a night with a four-night minimum stay, the presidential suite is still available. For the 57th presidential inauguration next month, the hotel is charging $57,000 for a four-night package in the suite that includes butler service. And no one has yet booked $100,000 packages at the Fairmont hotel or the Ritz-Carlton.

A number of the city’s luxury hotels plan special treats for guests, some of whom will be paying two to five times as much to stay during the inauguration compared with staying in the same room a week before. At the Ritz-Carlton, for example, where rooms start at about $1,100 per day, guests will get to bring home commemorative pillowcases embroidered with the official inauguration seal and their initials.

There are options for visitors looking to spend less, too, though some wallet-friendly choices have filled quickly.

Rooms at HI-DC, a hostel in downtown Washington, were sold out the day after the Nov. 6 election, with a bed in a dorm room going for $50 a night and private rooms for $150. With all the rooms sold, the hostel is finalizing plans for an election trivia night for guests.

Aunt Bea’s Little White House, a six-room bed and breakfast in northeast Washington, still had two rooms available the week before Christmas, with rates starting at $225 a night. Innkeeper Gerald Duval said that included a bottle of champagne and a commemorative coin. There’ll also be red-and-white bunting on the home’s porch along with cutouts of the president and first lady.

Farther from downtown, the Best Western Plus hotel in Rockville, Md., was about 80 percent full with rooms at about $180 a night, down from a $209 starting rate. Director of Sales Ron Wallach said the hotel targeted some groups before the election, including students, journalists and the Secret Service, in order to fill its rooms.

Other travelers looking for budget-friendly prices may have success with websites like Craigslist or Airbnb, where homeowners offer their places for a price. More than 200 Craigslist housing posts in the area included the word “inauguration.” Airbnb said it expected approximately 2,000 people to stay in Washington during the inauguration using its site.

Other travelers have told friends and family living in the area to plan on having guests. Lauren Hines and her husband had three people stay at their small Capitol Hill apartment during the 2009 inauguration, so many that one slept in a hallway. She and her husband now live in nearby Alexandria, Va., and planned to host her father-in-law, and maybe mother-in-law, from Ohio. Hines said they didn’t even consider a hotel.

“They know that they’ve always got a place with us,” she said.


Report: GOP senators won’t confirm Kerry until Clinton testifies on Benghazi

Top Stories

Obama to Visit UCC Shooting Victims’ Families in Roseburg, ... (AP) - The latest on the deadly shooting at a community college in Oregon (all times local): 4:10 p.m. President Barack Obama will travel to Ore...
U.N. Releases Draft Agreement on Climate Change Proposal sets long-term goals for 195 countries (CBS News) - The United Nations on Monday released a first draft of the negotiating text for the m...
Imagine If the Bush Administration Bombed a Hospital in Afghanist... (Rush Limbaugh) - BEGIN TRANSCRIPT RUSH: As I mentioned earlier and as you may have heard, 19 people were injured, three killed, three children, w...
Obama Is Willing to Put Our National Security at Risk With a Veto (Daily Signal) - The Russians are bombing CIA-backed rebels in Syria and continuing to hold parts of Ukraine. ISIS continues to spread in the Middle E...
Huckabee: Americans ‘Punched in the Gut’ by ObamaR... (Breitbart) - Gov. Mike Huckabee slammed President Barack Obama’s new campaign to win Hill approval for a Pacific-wide free-trade treaty with 11 oth...
WHITE HOUSE: Obama Prepping Executive Action on Guns (Breitbart) - The White House confirmed that President Obama was preparing a series of executive actions on gun control to match his recent passion on...


Please help us stay spam-free. Mouse over a spam post and click the X to report spam.