NY Magazine - [Donald Trump's] 263-room five-star hotel in the historic Old Post Office building opened last month. But even with a prime location near the White House, swanky interiors, and aggressive promotion by the candidate himself, empty rooms have forced the hotel to reduce rates during a peak season. At the same time, the hotel has lost two planned restaurants, Hispanic employees are making claims of discrimination, and protesters are gearing up to do whatever they can to cause trouble for the hotel.
Some of the issues even predate Trump’s presidential campaign: When the government inked a 60-year, $200 million lease with Trump in 2012, rival hoteliers took the unusual step of warning Uncle Sam that the deal could turn into yet another Trump business failure.
Those warnings look increasingly prophetic. While the break-even rate on the hotel rooms is more than $750 a night, by some estimates last weekend rooms could be had for under $500 per night — at a time when rival hotels were sold out weeks ahead of time. In his bid to win the lease, Trump promised to offer luxurious suites to lure business execs and diplomats, but many of the international elite appear to be avoiding it.
Last weekend bankers and dignitaries from around the world descended on Washington for the annual World Bank–IMF meetings. But just a few days before the conference, rooms were not only still available at Trump International, they were heavily discounted. On October 2, a deluxe room, with a rack rate of $805, could be had for as low $445 a night on Hotels.com. All other five-star D.C. downtown hotels were sold out. By Wednesday, October 5, weekend stays in the deluxe rooms were marked down to $404 per night on Trump International’s own website. The more luxurious 500-square-foot executive rooms, with a city view and marble bath, were only $484. By comparison, at the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown, the only available rooms were $1,139 per night, according to Hotels.com.