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D.C.'s Luxe Inauguration Lodgings: Empty

Last week, we found out that every D.C. resident is not going to make a bundle renting out their house for the inauguration next week.

Today, we find out the same applies to Washington luxe hotels.

Bloomberg reports that either the recession or dollar-signs-in-the-eyes over-estimation of demand is leaving many high-end, big-spender accommodations in Washington largely empty as Tuesday's inauguration approaches.

The Omni Shoreham's $440,000 package -- including the presidential suite, a private jet and personal concierge -- is still, shockingly, available. It also includes, for some reason, a later trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. The Ticker cannot understand why this package has no takers -- it includes a private performance by political satirist Mark Russell.

The Washington Hilton got no (that's zero) takers for its $44,000, four-night "Behind the Inaugural Bash" package. (Maybe if it had been priced at $4,400.)

A $2,000-per-person "Yes We Can 2009 Inauguration Cruise" was canceled for lack of passengers.

The Mandarin Oriental dreamed up a $200,000 package that would have included four nights in its 14-room presidential suite, use of a chauffeured Maserati Quattroporte, Ralph Lauren attire to wear at an inaugural ball and 24-hour butler service. ("Hello, Jeeves? Yes, I know it's 3 a.m. But I simply cannot stand this piece of lint on the sleeve of my morning jacket.")

For lack of takers for the top-end package, the Mandarin scaled back a bit and managed to book the suite for $10,000 per night sans bells and whistles.

How did these giants of hospitality guess so wrong and end up with so many empty, very expensive rooms?

Howard Davidovitz, a New York retail consultant speculated: "The person who would normally take these luxury packages is someone working for Bear Stearns -- they don't exist anymore; Lehman Brothers -- they don't exist anymore; or Merrill Lynch, which is a shadow of its former self," Davidovitz told Bloomberg.

Hotel rooms in the Washington area going for mere-mortal rates are largely sold out.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 16, 2009; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Obama, inauguration, recession  
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Hello??? These are the people who want "change," because all they have is "change" in their collective pockets.

At least if a REAL Republican Conservative was elected, the GOP would have more money flowing around DC, "spreading the wealth" by PAYING for goods and services, with their own hard-earned money, not the Taxpayers.

Do you think that all of these people are coming by DC by bus, can afford airfare, let alone a hotel room?

Democrats, generally speaking, aren't as hard working Republicans who will work two jobs to obtain SUCCESS. This means a home, family and self-reliance. We don't rely on lame Unions, which suck-off workers paychecks and are non-performing, such as the UAW or SEIU, when their union crys to the government protection of their jobs. (Note: IBEW and other unions are value-added when it comes to training and competance. Sitting around in a mall in Detroit as a Christmas prop has nothing to do with automobiles!)

No more bailouts, no more "free money," no Federal money to states because of their failed economic policies. I say, No More..., No More..., No More!!!

Jim DeMint for President in 2012.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | January 16, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, hotels overestimated demand for expensive suites. I also think predictions of the possible enormous crowds on Inauguration Day may have scared off some potential well-heeled tourists.

I notice this column was written by Frank Aherns, who used to report on local radio stations for the Style section. God help me, but whenever I see the name "Frank Aherns" the first thing I think of is "As The Aherns Turns"!

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

Posted by: femfour | January 16, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Then there are the rest of us who will be quite happy to follow the events on television where it is not too difficult to actually see them.

Posted by: dnjake | January 16, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

You and me both, Ed. Those guys scarred me for life.

Posted by: Frank Ahrens | January 16, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

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