- Trump’s Washington hotel has suffered a loss of income and interest, a Guardian report says.
- The hotel is bearing the brunt of the pandemic and the fallout of Trump’s election defeat.
- The former president once dubbed it “one of the great hotels of the world.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Former President Trump’s Washington DC hotel, which was once the bustling hub of the MAGA world, is now eerily empty after suffering a huge loss of income and status, according to a report by the Guardian.
The Trump International Hotel, which the former president once called “one of the greatest hotels of the world,” has been impacted heavily by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as Trump’s departure from the White House two months ago.
When the hotel, located between the White House and the US Capitol, opened its doors four years ago, it quickly became a major draw for diplomats, lobbyists, Trump loyalists, and family members. The hotel’s steak restaurant was regularly fully booked, a former executive chef told CNN last month.
But since Trump left the White House and moved his base to the Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida, the atmosphere has been eerily quiet. One week after President Biden’s inauguration, the lobby was left largely vacant and waiters and staff members outnumbered the customers, the New York Times reported.
Sally Quinn, a local journalist who has written about the hotel, told the Guardian she “can’t imagine who goes there now.”
“We don’t even have tourists yet in Washington. I can’t imagine most people staying there when they come. I don’t know anybody who goes there or has gone there,” Quinn said.
Hotel staff has also confirmed that the number of visitors has dropped visibly.
One staffer, who did not want to be named, told CNN: “Since the coronavirus, we weren’t doing so bad until I’d say probably a month ago. It really, like, slowed down.”
Washington is currently in Phase Two of its reopening plan, according to a government website. This means that indoor restaurants and bars are allowed to be open but are only limited to 25% capacity. Hotels are also open.
But there is no doubt the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have hit the hotel industry brutally.
The Trump International Hotel made just $15.1m in revenue last year, a drop of more than 60% from the year before, the Guardian reported.
Hotel staff pretend they were supporters of the former president
Trump’s election loss and the January 6 Capitol insurrection, which happened only a few blocks away from the hotel, tainted its reputation further.
Last month, the Washingtonian reported that hotel employees at the Trump International had to pretend they were supporters of the former president, even though they weren’t.
According to the Washingtonian, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic triggered layoffs for all employees last year. But once shutdown restrictions lifted, workers said a new task became making sure Trump allies visiting the hotel – who often neglected public health guidelines – would wear a mask.
Asked about the hotel’s current occupancy and revenue numbers, Eric Trump, who runs day-to-day operations of the family real estate empire, praised the hotel in a statement without providing any specific figures.”Our location is unrivaled and we are incredibly proud to have the best hotel in our nation’s capital,” he said.
Trump reportedly tried to sell the hotel in 2019 for about $500m, but those plans are now said to be on hold. A room at the Washington DC hotel typically costs around $47 to $596 (£439) per night at this time of year, according to 1100 Pennsylvania.
Kevin Chaffee, the senior editor of Washington Life magazine, told the Guardian: “The Trump hotel has been struggling for quite a while and, without him being there, people don’t need to curry favor by staying there. Some embassies had their events there and they don’t need to do that now.”
He added: “The bar was like the White House mess but those people no longer have any reason to meet and try to find out what’s happening on the scene because the man is gone. So it must be like a ghost town.”