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Obamas to Stay at the Hay-Adams Hotel

By Anne E. Kornblut
When the Obamas move to Washington over the weekend they will take up residence at the Hay-Adams Hotel, the storied, luxury hotel on Lafayette Park, within walking distance of the White House.

President-elect Barack Obama, currently on vacation in Hawaii, will bring his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, to town at some point this weekend, transition officials said; Sidwell, where both girls will be attending, starts school next week.

And for a few weeks, they will live in close proximity to the White House -- first at the Hay Adams, and then, starting Jan. 15, a few steps closer, at Blair House, the presidential guest house.

The Hay-Adams, at 16th and H Sts. NW, has 145 rooms and 20 suites; its restaurant is a regular meeting spot for White House officials in any administration. And its bar is, fittingly for the no-leak Obama team, called Off the Record.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 31, 2008; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Washington Life  
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Comments

Some facts for the folks criticizing this hotel stay...

- Blair House, while also a historic landmark, is a fortified residence facility with security measures in place similar to the White House. It is also nearby to the White House. That is why presidents-elect and foreign heads of state stay there while in Washington.

- Blair House security measures are already built into the White House security budget because it is under the purview of the White House.

- The Obamas asked the Bushes in December to be able to stay at Blair House from the time period beginning this past weekend until inauguration day -- 3 weeks. They made this request so that their daughters would only have to move twice (first to Blair, then to the White House residence) instead of three times since their new school semester began on January 5th.

- The Bushes said no at the time, claiming ambiguously that Blair House was already booked but never saying who was staying there.

- Today (January 6th) we learned from the Washington Post that former Australian Prime Minister John Howard (a conservative ally of Pres. Bush) was invited to stay at Blair House *after* the Obamas had already made their request and been denied. Ex-PM Howard will be at Blair on Jan. 13th.

- Taxpayers are paying for the extra security required because the president-elect and his family are being forced to temporarily live in a hotel (however nice that hotel is) instead of moving directly to the tradition temporary residence of presidents-elect.

- The privately-funded portion of the Obama transition office is funding the family's hotel stay at the Hay-Adams. (After the election, the Obama team set up an account to cover certain costs of the transition and this is funded through private donations by citizens. Standard stuff.)

- Blair House has over 100 rooms and even dozens of bathrooms. It could have easily accommodated the Obama family for three weeks and John Howard for one night. (Again, security detailing is already in place at Blair ... unlike the Hay-Adams hotel.)

Posted by: thesill | January 7, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I applaud the White House for honoring the previously accepted visitors and reservations to the Blair House and not throwing someone out just because the Obamas decided to edge their way in to the White House early. Such effrontery to even make the request comes from their bad manners. And to use their kids as the excuse was laughable. Had they never heard of tutors or home schooling on an emergency basis???? I couldn't believe the reports that Mrs. Bush graciously showed the private quarters of the White House months before Obamas were going to occupy it, but when Michelle appeared on the doorsteps to take her mother and children in "to see their rooms" the next day or so was ludicrous. Story rang of Lyndon Johnson ousting Jackie Kennedy immediately after the President was assasinated. Unmitigated gall!
Now as a taxpayer I wonder who is footing the bill for the luxury living for the next month. What a wild expensive ride we are in for!!!!!

Posted by: np2xusaalltheway | January 5, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I applaud the White House for honoring the previously accepted visitors and reservations to the Blair House and for not throwing dignitaries out just because the Obamas decided to edge their way in to the White House early. Such effrontery to even make the request comes from their bad manners. And to use their kids as the excuse was laughable. Had they never heard of tutors or home schooling on an emergency basis???? I couldn't believe the reports that Mrs. Bush graciously showed the private quarters of the White House months before Obamas were going to occupy it, but when Michelle appeared on the doorsteps to take her mother and children in "to see their rooms" the next day or so it was ludicrous. Echoes rang out of Lyndon Johnson ousting Jackie Kennedy immediately after the President was assasinated. Unmitigated gall!

Now as a taxpayer I wonder who is footing the bill for the luxury living for the next month. What a wild expensive ride we are in for!!!!! I hope this won't be another "Madoff Fiasco" with no one checking up on details until a KABOOM.

Posted by: np2xusaalltheway | January 5, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I only posted twice about Obama's LONG FORM birth certificate, so the rest of my posts on this thread are on topic. Not sure want you mean by "variety". I don't want Obama in either the Blair House or White House. He is more than welcome to stay in my house for the next 4 years.

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Jake, you don't seem to have much variety in your posts.

But since you're so concerned, it appears that nobody is occupying the living quarters of either Blair House or the White house between today and the 20th. As you're so anxious to house the Obamas, perhaps you'd consider one of these two spots. Presumably you have some sway with the current non-occupants?

Posted by: thaimex | January 3, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

The Hay-Adams is "sold out" on Jan. 18-20.

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

This one is available: 1 BDRM LUXURY SUITE W/LAFAYETTE PARK VIEW/1,040SQFT/326 METERS W/QUEEN SOFABED/2 BTHRMS $3,200 per night.

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

mrphio:

I just assumed that "fortheclueless" was being sarcastic about his: "Bush is obviously so concerned about the cost to tax payers he declined to allow the Obama's Blair House until the 15th." I would think that another reasonable assumption is that Obama's stay at The Hay-Adams is NOT government funded (he's got plenty of spare campaign cash left over since he reneged on his earlier pledge to take public financing), apart from the security, and that he won't rent out the entire hotel.

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Where is the evidence that the government is paying for the Obamas' hotel stay? That's just jumping to conclusions.

The government pays for his security wherever he is. But I've seen no evidence that it pays for his pre-presidential housing.

I've seen enough presidential motorcades in D.C. to know that they're a minor inconvenience. Staying a few blocks here or there isn't going to make a big difference.

Commentators posting big financial calculations should offer evidence, not speculation.

Posted by: mrphlo | January 2, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

The Hay-Adams is so close to the White House that the Secret Service has to be notified before you go out onto your patio from the top floor rooms. I found this out one night when I booked the Presidential Suite as a surprise gift for my wife.

The reason the Bushes said they couldn't let the Obamas into Blair House early was that it was booked with other dignitaries. Whether that was really it, or whether it was huffiness on the Bushes' part, it's hard to say. If someone like Lady Thatcher wants to come say farewell, you can't evict her for a new guy. The Hay-Adams is definitely up to the job.

Posted by: Hawthorn | January 2, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

January 15 is not the very last moment.

Posted by: JakeD | January 1, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

So the Bushes really are banning the Obamas from Blair House until the very last possible moment. Mean-spirited, petty, and vindictive to the end--you stay classy, George and Laura!

Posted by: nicekid | January 1, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, so a few things. Bush is obviously so concerned about the cost to tax payers he declined to allow the Obama's Blair House until the 15th. No doubt he has lots of cronies to please with free stays in the nation's guest house before he leaves office. Anybody wanna bet the Saudis come over to party?

Secondly, this hotel is very near the white house. For hypotheticals, lets suppose he stayed at the JW Marriott. Can anybody imagine the cost involved with the daily planning of moving the President Elect about one of the countries most populous metropolitan areas? There would be numerous police officers required to close off roads, multiple false motorcades as well as the real one, no doubt requiring tons of the nationas, as well as the District's, financial resources. As well, for security reasons, the JW would likely need to be clear of civilians or at the very least those people would need to be checked out. JW has 738 rooms with an average of 455 a night. Per night the cost involved is 336k! By contrast the Hay Adams is 145 rooms the average room rents for 1473. Per night that costs 206k. So once you put the costs under the magnified glass the hotel is a value under these circumstances. The hotel alone is much less expensive than our Hypothetical JW and happens to be right across the street from the White House. (Where security is already pretty darn tight all the time)

To the uninitated, DC has several hotels where foreign dignitaries, the politically connected, and powerful will generally stay. They are the Hay Adams, The Willard, The Jefferson, and the Reneissance Mayflower to name a few. You name the person of power and these hotels have probably graced them. Incidently The Bush's stayed at the Jefferson for their first Inaugeration. This hotel was equally expensive and equally plush...and probably won't be entertaining the Obama's because it is under complete renovations. I don't recall anybody flaming Bush for the same sort of pre-inauguration lodging. The costs were about the same per night at the Jefferson. One more thing for the uninitiated. DC hotels, like NYC hotels, LA hotels, Miami hotels, are expensive in general. The Courtyard near Capital Hill is 277 per room. Don't believe me? See tripadvisor.com.

Finally, can anybody imagine the free PR that comes to the Hay Adams for housing the current President Elect? This particular and most popular President Elect? You don't think they will have the Obama Presidential Suite available to a long line of customers after the Obama's leave? I'm willing to bet the hotel isn't making daily rate on this venture.

As usual one has to fully evaluate the circumstances presented with complete and factual information before flying off the handle after seeing a single article and a website of a fancy hotel.

Posted by: fortheclueless | January 1, 2009 3:37 AM | Report abuse

Again who is paying for the Obama's stay in the hotel at this time of the economic crisis? Who is paying for the entourage? I bet this is not a room for the family, but a floor, and extra security etc. that has to be paid by taxpayers at this luxury hotel. Hope not my taxpayer's money, but proceeds from Barack's books are funding this stay?

Was there no family in DC offering their residence to host the first-family-to-be?

We are now losing our Obama to this top-notch luxury life in Hay-Adams, while the economy is tanking.

What difference or damage would three weeks make to the education of "the girls" if they would wait for the third week of January to start school. In any way, school calendars for year 2009, started some months ago, so the girls joining anytime of January would make no difference. What an excuse the first family makes in using the girl's education as an excuse for an expensive hotel? This thing about being early in DC is just a love of hotel life by Michelle. She thinks she is now entitled to high life. Bring back my Obama, please-ee-e-e.

Posted by: zodwa | January 1, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Staying in a hotel....this PROVES he's an elitist!

Posted by: blarsen1 | December 31, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

oneStarMan:

Since you seem to be having some difficulties, here's what I posted in response on the other thread ...

January 15 is not "until he's forced to" -- you are aware that SOME pResident-elects never stayed at Blair House prior to their Inaugurations -- 12:00 noon on January 20 would be when Bush is forced to ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"theis"?

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

JakeD (umm) Rabbit - you mean the spam where you posted theis?

Photos: http://www.hayadams.com/

Posted by: oneStarMan | December 31, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

oneStarMan:

I addressed that post in the other thread you spammed.

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

julesjames, you're correct, President-Elect Obama was a US Senator and had housing in Washington DC during that time. Most Senators & Congressmen rent or buy apartments/homes in the DC area. However, news reports during the campaign indicated his DC housing was a small rental apartment in poor condition -apparently the Secret Service detail he got as a Presidential Nominee did not approve, and he had to find a new place. I think I heard in the summer there was an issue with the ceiling caving in? Supposedly a worse place than where most of his entry-level staffers lived.

Posted by: krs11 | December 31, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

lizjohnson1231:

I vote "Bill Clinton's BJ" (because I do not accept your premise about Bush doing nothing and "screwing up" the country and the world). Happy New Year!

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

BUSH - A JACK (umm) Rabbit? till the end. All the Bull Puckey about a gracious transition; but he's kept Obama's people out of the Pentagon (for the first time in history during a transition) and won't let the first family stay at Blair house until he's forced to because he says his bunk buddy wants to stay there.

Posted by: oneStarMan | December 31, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

YOU KNOW THE BUSHES AMAZE EVERYTIME ABOUT THEIR HOSPITALITY. SO MUCH FOR SOUTHERN COMFORT.YA! ANYWAYS I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE IDIOTS TO GET OUT OF THE WHITEHOUSE THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT BRING THIS COUNTRY TO THEIR KNEES. IDK WHAT WAS WORSE BILL CLINTON GETTING A BJ BEFORE THE END OF HIS TERM IN OFFICE OR BUSH SCREWING UP THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD... ANYWAYS NEW YEAR NEW CHANGE ..YAY FOR OBAMA AND HIS FAMILY... WELCOME TO THE NATIONS CAPITAL YOUR HOME AND THE HOME OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE....HAPPY NEW YEAR...

Posted by: lizjohnson1231 | December 31, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, please, can we have the Suite number too?

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

JulesJames,

Perhaps this will help answer your question.

When Obama lived in D.C., he lived in what he considered a studio apartment. His family never lived with him. They remained in Chicago, and he commuted.

Whenever his wife visited, she never stayed there, either, according to what they said in a recent 60 minutes piece.

While he lived in the apartment, the building caught on fire. Although he went back to live there for a little while he gave up the apartment.

So, you can see why it would be impossible for him to live there now. And even so, I doubt if the President-elect with his huge security detail would have gone back to the apartment.

However, I am baffled at the reporter here for giving so much detail about where the family will be staying. The only thing missing is the Suite number. Can we have that, too.

Posted by: askpeabody@cox.net | December 31, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh Deah!

There goes the Neighborhood!

"Socialists"! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | December 31, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

You were so kind to tell us "The Hay-Adams, at 16th and H Sts. NW, has 145 rooms and 20 suites; its restaurant is a regular meeting spot for White House officials in any administration. And its bar is, fittingly for the no-leak Obama team, called Off the Record."

Why not also give us a photo of this place (like you did with the other place) so that us out of towners can connect with the story. We are all interested in all the Obama related news.

Posted by: plcoupland | December 31, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. Wasn't President-Elect Obama a US Senator with housing in Washington DC already? Where did he live then that is now considered child-incompatible? Or was the old housing security-incompatible? Interesting trivia.

Posted by: JulesJames | December 31, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

greyparrot:

Let me guess -- you never referred to 9/11 conspiracy buffs as "crazy" -- I mean, Rosie O'Donnell actually thinks that was "the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel" right? This, of course, came as news to steelworkers, welders, blacksmiths, firefighters, manufacturers of samurai swords and other fools who hadn't realized that steel is forged in magic furnaces using dragon breath and pixie dust.

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the ever vigilant birth certificate trolls never miss a chance to let us know we have plenty of crazy on tap among their ranks. Happy New Year! Hay-Adams is a good choice: all true patriots and Washington natives like me welcome the Obama family.

Posted by: greyparrot | December 31, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I suspect the WaPo would have quickly gotten to the bottom of things had it been REPUBLICAN Gov. Schwarzenegger who had won instead.

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

respost:

The WaPo has "power to get to the bottom of things" except whether Obama is a "natural born" citizen, right?

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The Bush's are in Texas. With all the Post's power to get to the bottom of things, can you tell us who is staying at the Blair House and why that party couldn't be at the Hay-Adams?

Posted by: respost | December 31, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Scott_in_Shaw:

The Obamas have rented out EVERY floor?

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Stalk much? Secret Service won't let you anywhere near the place.

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | December 31, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Mapquest or Google users:

One Lafayette Square
Washington, D.C. 20006

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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