As the race for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue heats up, hotels in the nation's capital are preparing to impress visitors with welcoming spaces, chic decor, new amenities and exciting in-house restaurants. Inauguration is big business for Washington, DC's hospitality community. In 2009, when more than one million people journeyed to the inauguration of President Obama on the National Mall, DC hotel rooms generated more than $100 million in revenue. In 2013, visitors are invited to witness American history by booking a room in Washington, DC during the Inauguration weekend (Jan. 18-22).
"Since the 2009 inauguration more than $250 million has been invested to refresh hotels throughout Washington, DC," said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. "The District has more than $8 billion worth of development currently underway, so visitors coming for the 2013 inauguration will discover a city flush with unique cultural experiences, fine dining, exciting nightlife and top-rated hotel accommodations."
One new hotel is expected to open its doors in Washington, DC between November's election and 2013 Inauguration. The 49-room Capella Washington, D.C. Georgetown (1050 31st St. NW; http://www.capellahotels.com/washingtondc/georgetown/default-en.html), a $45 million property overlooking the C&O Canal is positioning itself as a luxury property with amenities not limited to a dedicated butler for each guest. The newcomer will boast an in-house restaurant and as the weather allows, a rooftop pool with cabanas.
Another significant addition to the hospitality landscape, the W Washington D.C. (515 15th St. NW; http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3279) will welcome visitors excited for 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 and Taylor Swift since its reopening in summer 2009
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, known locally as "the residence of presidents" is a popular place for power brokers. President Lincoln held his inaugural lunch at the Willard. Extravagancies offered at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. (1150 22nd St. NW; http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/WashingtonDC/Default.htm) in 2009 included parade "survival kits" (complete with flasks of hot coffee and hand warmers), twice-daily commemorative gifts delivered to the room (for example: a pashmina emblazoned with the presidential seal) and a hotel-wide Adopt-A-Guest program that asks a staffer to be personally responsible for one guest for the duration of their stay.