WASHINGTON, D.C. – With construction of the viewing stage going up in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House far from the only residence preparing to wow visitors during the 2013 Inaugural festivities. Hotels in the nation’s capital are debuting refreshed event spaces, chic décor, themed amenities and exciting in-house restaurants. Inauguration is big business for Washington, DC’s hospitality community. In 2009, when a record 1.8 million people witnessed the inauguration of President Obama on the National Mall, DC hotel rooms generated more than $100 million in revenue. Visitors are again invited witness American history by booking a room in Washington, DC, January 18-22, 2013.
“Since the 2009 inauguration we’ve seen upwards of $250 million invested in refreshing hotels in Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Visitors coming for the Inauguration, whether for their first or fifteenth time, will discover a city rich in unique cultural experiences, fine dining and nightlife options, and of course accommodations to suit their needs. DC hotels have availability for the Inauguration.”
Grand dame properties experienced in rolling out the red carpet take pains to enhance the once-in-a-lifetime experience of inauguration attendees. The Willard InterContinental Washington (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; http://washington.intercontinental.com/) known as “the residence of presidents” is a popular place for power brokers. In 1860, President Lincoln held his inaugural lunch at the Willard. One hundred and fifty-three years later, guest amenities will include a silver Tiffany & Co. American flag pins and Chicago-style popcorn in Willard tins.
A significant addition to the landscape since the 2009 Inauguration, W Washington D.C. will welcome visitors excited to experience its fresh swagger and unique location: the 317-room hotel overlooks the U.S. Treasury and White House. Previously the Hotel Washington, the refurbished and reflagged property has hosted VIPs including Lady Gaga, Al Pacino and Taylor Swift since its opening in fall 2009.
Inaugural amenities offered at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. in 2013 are set include two first class domestic airline tickets; creating the official Inaugural flavor in Georgetown Cupcake’s lab; a parade-watching party at the Newseum; a presidential scent butler; twice-daily commemorative gifts delivered to the room (embroidered pillowcases, Inauguration Day “survival kits” packed with hand warmers).
Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. winks at power players with a dedicated “P.O.T.U.S.” (“Presiding Over The Ultimate Suite”) package. It includes four nights in the largest hotel suite in the District, all 3,500-square feet of it.
More than a dozen properties are expected to be refreshed in time to welcome visitors for the presidential inauguration in January, 2013:
Avenue Suites completed nine months of renovations, including its facade, lobby and patio and rebranded from the Washington Suites.
Renovated guest rooms and newly added turret suites at the Beacon Hotel & Corporate Quarters add to the independent property that suits business and family travelers.
Capital Hilton spent two years completing its $30 million in renovations, including a new spa, lobby and the Statler Lounge, its lobby bar.
Less than a mile from the White House, the Comfort Inn Downtown DC/Convention Center boasts an enviable central location, gratis breakfast bar, a small gym, on-sight laundry and in-room refrigerators for guests who prefer to self-cater.
The Courtyard by Marriott Embassy Row has refreshed its public and private spaces. The lobby features private banquets ideal for small meetings as well as a work station furnished with Apple computers. Guest rooms are spacious and decorated with charming nods to local history.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Washington, working with architects Core Group PC, finished a design of its lobby, lounge and entrance.
Embassy Suites D.C. Convention Center is in the midst of a 384-room update, as well as changes to its lobby and reception area.
The Fairmont Washington D.C. invested $2.6 million in its function space including its meeting room and ballroom.
The city’s only five-star, five-diamond hotel, The Four Seasons Hotel Washington DC invested $1 million to expand and update Seasons Restaurant, a noted power breakfast spot, this year.
The Hamilton Crowne Plaza Washington, DC was refreshed in the spring-summer of 2012 and shows off its Art Deco form to great advantage.
The transformation of the rooftop deck into an enclosed private events space atop the historic Hay-Adams Hotel was so extensive that the hotel essentially added a ninth floor and a dedicated elevator. The “Top of the Hay” boasts unprecedented views of Lafayette Park, the White House and Washington Monument beyond to the Potomac River.
Several rooms and suites at the J.W. Marriott Washington, DC overlook the inaugural parade route, but the property’s unique inaugural package: a block of 300 guest rooms, a dedicated food and drink budget of $800,000, and heated tents on the terrace to keep revelers warm as they celebrate Jan. 18-22, 2013. In 2009, a charitable organization purchased a similar plan hosting underprivileged Americans. The cost was $2.7 million.
The largest family of boutique hotels in Washington, DC, Kimpton Hotels has nine properties in the District and three more in Old Town Alexandria. New to their flag in 2013 will be Donovan House, formerly a Thompson Hotel property on the 14th Street corridor. Kimpton’s Topaz Hotel and Hotel Rouge properties both were subject to renovations in 2012. The 82-room Hotel Madera is up for grabs, Jan. 18-22, 2013, for $320,000 inclusive of amenities like a cocktail party at Firefly, the ground floor restaurant. Across the river in Old Town, Alexandria, Kimpton’s jewel box of an inn, the Morrison House is also offering itself up as a unique space for a buy-out. Named one of the “Top 50 Hotels in the World” by readers of Travel + Leisure, the property can host up to 90 guests in 45 rooms for $200,000 (Jan. 18-22, 2013). Amenities include breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at The Grille, and car service for the group throughout the stay.
The Liaison Capitol Hill, an Affinia Hotel invested $6 million in updating its guest rooms.
The Madison has completed a $22 million revamp of its entire property, including its guest rooms and adjacent restaurant, The Federalist. The hotel will celebrate its 50th birthday throughout 2013.
In September, the Mayflower Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel revealed one of the results of a major refurbishment: the reopening of the Promenade Ballroom, once Café Promenade, and the site of presidential affairs including Calvin Coolidge’s inaugural ball.
The Park Hyatt Washington completed an overhaul of the property’s lower level in 2011. The 10,000 square-foot Gallery offers flexible ballroom and meeting space, and as of 2012, a catering menu courtesy of the hotel’s award-winning American kitchen, Blue Duck Tavern.
The Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel finished up a $27 million renovation of its 804 guest rooms in late October.
The Washington Hilton, whose $150 million redo wrapped up before this year, added a coffee shop – the first Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the city – this spring.