Want to Stay at 1 of Donald Trump’s Hotels? Here’s What Insiders Say You Need to Know
You’ve probably wondered about what it would be like to become a member of Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Palm Beach resort. And you may have considered what you’d see (or eat) if you visited the president’s private residence at the White House. But have you ever thought about what it would be like to stay at one of the many hotels that Donald Trump owns?
Insiders say that there are plenty of things you should know before booking a stay at one of Donald Trump’s hotels.
1. You’ll see Trump-branded amenities everywhere
According to one Washington Post travel writer, you can expect to see plenty of Trump-branded amenities when you stay at one of Donald Trump’s hotels. Jason Wilson writes that at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver, “I tried on the robe embroidered with ‘TRUMP,’ along with the ‘TRUMP’-branded shower cap, in my marble-tiled bathroom.” Time notes that at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, you’ll also see Trump-branded shampoo in the shower, and Trump-emblazoned wine bottles in the minibar. And at other properties, you may also see slippers, combs, and even chocolate bars with Trump’s name on them.
Next: You’ll see plenty of these around Donald Trump’s hotels.
2. You may also spot some portraits of Trump, or plaques mentioning him
This should surprise basically nobody. But if you plan to stay at one of Donald Trump’s hotels, you’re likely to run into at least one portrait of him, or to see a plaque or two talking about his accomplishments. Wilson recounts seeing numerous framed photos of Donald Trump, including photos picturing him with celebrities. He also saw framed photos of Trump on the covers of various magazines — including magazines that were more than 10 years old. You may even see televisions flashing ads with Donald Trump’s face.
Next: You may find a copy of this on your desk.
3. Don’t forget about ‘TRUMP Magazine’
The Washington Post reports that at the Albemarle Estate in Virginia (as well as others of Donald Trump’s hotels), you may see another interesting specimen of Trump branding: the TRUMP Magazine. This “huge” and “lavishly illustrated” publication features “breathless travel features” on Trump golf courses and other Trump destinations, plus “exclusive interviews” with Donald Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump.
Next: You’ll notice this as soon as you walk in the door.
4. You’ll see Donald Trump’s signature design sensibilities on display
If you hope to see gold-trimmed furniture, glittering accents, gaudy wallpaper, and faux-classical touches when you stay at a Trump hotel, you’re definitely in luck. Politico reports that Donald Trump’s aesthetic is “bright, brassy, loud — or, depending whom you ask, gaudy and fake.” And it’s all over his hotels. Vanity Fair noted the “patented Trump aesthetic — the gilded, often gauche, always over-the-top taste” — on full display at his D.C. hotel. The publication notes the wrought-iron elevators painted in “blinding gold,” a color that also adorns all the mirrors, the faucets in the bathroom, the shower handles, the tissue boxes, the trash cans, the caps on the bath products, and the headboards.
Next: This might be different from what you expect.
5. But you may not be staying at a property that Donald Trump actually owns
When you stay at a hotel with “Trump” in its name, you probably assume that you’re staying at one of the hotels that Donald Trump himself owns. But as NPR reports, Trump doesn’t actually own many of the buildings that bear his name. Skift notes that many Trump-branded buildings were built and are owned by others. “Trump expanded his footprint by trading his brand for licensing and management fees, without having to invest in or construct the buildings.” And in the summer of 2016, The New York Times reported that of the 30 or so U.S. properties in which Trump did own an interest, about half of them had debt outstanding.
Next: You might see these people in the lobby.
6. You may see dignitaries and foreign officials
Thinking about staying at the Trump International Hotel in Washington? It’s the best of Trump’s hotels to check out if you want to see what Time characterizes as “the new town square in Donald Trump’s Washington.” The magazine reports that tourists sit in the lobby snapping smartphone photos as “international businessmen, Republican operatives, wealthy donors, foreign diplomats, former Trump campaign aides, the occasional Administration official” go in and out of the property. Guests who want to influence federal officials attend events there, and lobbyists working for foreign governments spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on rooms and catering.
Next: You could even see the president himself.
7. You might even catch a glimpse of Donald Trump
Donald Trump spends a lot of time at his own properties, which he visits to get away from Washington (and to play golf). And it’s always a possibility that you could catch a glimpse of him if you stay at one of his hotels or eat at one of the restaurants on his properties. Time reports that BLT Prime, the restaurant at Trump’s hotel in Washington, remains “the only restaurant in town where he has dined.”
Next: But you likely won’t see these people.
8. But you probably won’t run into many athletes
While you might run into members of the political elite — or at least power players in the business world — at Trump’s properties, you probably won’t run into many elite athletes at Trump hotels. Business Insider notes that “Numerous professional sports teams across the NBA, MLB, and NHL have all stopped staying at Trump properties” since Donald Trump assumed office. Though Trump calls a few athletes friends, he’s alienated many others.
Next: You could see this happening.
9. You might see some protesters
Donald Trump’s hotels remain a very visible symbol of the president, his ethics, and his policies. So you may see some protesters if you decide to spend time at one of Trump’s properties. Guests at Trump’s hotel in Washington saw an artist projecting messages onto the side of the building. And the Post’s Wilson recounts, during his time at Trump’s Vancouver hotel, a young woman leaning out of a passing SUV to scream an obscenity about Trump at the hotel.
Next: The rates might not be as high as you’d expect.
10. Hotel rates are getting cheaper
If you assume you’ll need to pay handsomely to stay at one of Donald Trump’s hotels, you’re largely correct. But as Fortune recently reported, the rates at Trump’s properties are getting cheaper. The publication reported in January 2018 that the average rate of the most expensive rooms at Trump hotels had decreased 25% since the previous January. And rates for lower-end rooms fell even more dramatically, declining by 35% over the same period of time.
Next: There may be fewer guests than you’d think.
11. In fact, the hotel may be much emptier than you expect
Paste Magazine points to a decline in demand as the most likely explanation behind the falling rates at Donald Trump’s hotels, raising the possibility that Trump’s presidency could be hurting his business. But what does that mean for you, or anybody else hoping to book a stay at one of Trump’s hotels? You’ll likely find the hotel emptier than you would expect. In his travels to various Trump properties, the Post’s travel writer saw empty bars, sparsely populated restaurants, and a dearth of customers at the ground-floor businesses at many of Trump’s hotels.
Next: You can expect to pay a lot for this.
12. But the food will cost you a lot
Time notes that at the bar of Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, you can expect to pay a lot of money even for a cocktail. A gin and tonic costs $23, while a vodka drink with raw oysters and caviar will run you $100. You can order a “seafood pyramid” for $120, or a strip steak for $59. And The Washington Post reports that at Mott 32 within Trump’s Vancouver hotel, you can order a $95 Peking duck, a $495 suckling pig, a $580 raised whole dried fish maw. And at the Trump Champagne Lounge, you can expect to pay between $150 and $1,350 for a bottle of sparkling wine.
Next: These will also cost you a lot.
13. You can also spend a lot on massages
Time noted that another easy way to rack up a huge bill at Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington (or at many other Trump properties) is to head to the Spa by Ivanka Trump. A 90-minute couples massage will set you back by $460. The Washington Post travel writer explained that at Trump’s Vancouver hotel, a massage therapist will ask you to choose your “intention” for your treatment: “Calm, restore, or energize?”
Next: The hotel will charge you if you take one of these.
14. The hotel will charge you a lot if you take a souvenir
There are some things you can safely take from a hotel room, and others that you should always leave behind. But as The Washington Post reports, at least some of Donald Trump’s hotels will charge you for taking Trump-branded amenities as souvenirs. A “Notice to Guests” left in a hotel room at the Trump MacLeod House & Lodge in Scotland warns guests that they’ll be charged if they take the lint brush, shoehorn, coasters, or other amenities.
Next: You might get this impression during your stay.
15. Your experience may be more mediocre than you’d expect
Donald Trump has a well-publicized taste for luxury (which may have its roots in his mother’s upbringing). But for a billionaire, he has remarkably mediocre taste in food. And if you stay at one of his hotels, you may find yourself surprised by what the Post characterizes as “a relentless, insistent, in-your-face mediocrity.” For all the glitz and glamor that Trump wants associated with his brand, you’ll see strange branding, scolding notices, stale cookies, and peeling paint — the kind of mediocrity that would surprise many guests expecting a truly luxurious experience.
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