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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How Desperate Would You Have To Be To Stay At A Trump Hotel?

As you know if you're even a semi-regular reader of this blog, I travel a lot-- always have. When I was a kid I would crash wherever I could. I hitch-hiked out to San Francisco for what the media later dubbed "the Summer of Love" and wound up sleeping on a step on a staircase in an old Haight-Ashbury Victorian. Years later I spent several years living in a VW camper can as I drove from London to India. Still later I wound up as president of a large company and stayed in the major luxury class hotels like the Plaza Athénée in Paris, the Principe Di Savoia in Milan, the New Otani in Tokyo, the Prk Tower in Buenos Aires, Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton's everywhere... But never, under any circumstances, a Trump-branded hotel. Trump hotels-- like the one I wrote about in Baku last June when I visited Azerbaijan always have a reputation for being glitzy and third rate. These days, when I travel, I tend to rent apartments or houses and use them as a base to explore. The idea of walking into a Trump property-- even for a dinner-- has always been inconceivable, long before he decided to jump into politics. His properties are as phony and superficial as he is.

This week, Benjamin Freed, writing for the Washingtonian was just the latest to laugh at all the tasteless Arabs rushing to hold their gawdy, ostentatious events at Trump's new hotel in DC. A match made in heaven. Freed's review is brutal-- and not in a good way. "Before the Trump International Hotel opened," wrote Freed, "Donald Trump liked to brag that the business he and his family built inside the Old Post Office would be 'one of the great hotels of the world.'" It's worth mentioning that part of the deal when you pay Trumpanzee to use his name to brand your hotel is that he will publicly state that when the hotel opens, no matter how much of a pile of crap it is, Trump will put out a press release calling it "one of the great hotels of the world." Every hotel he's ever been associated with gets that worthless accolade for their worthless promo packet, often backed up by the same worthless pronouncements from Ivanka and one of the sons (who Trump himself referred to on camera as "retards.") Freed continued: "But according to a year-end list of new luxury hotels from a travel group that specializes in high-end accommodations, it’s one of the world’s worst. The Trump hotel rated as the world’s third-lousiest new hotel, according to the membership-only United Kingdom operation LTI-Luxury Travel Intelligence. Maybe not quite as bad as Trump Grille in NY's Trump Towers, but still really gross.
“The building itself is undoubtedly impressive, but once inside we start to ask questions,” LTI’s review begins, acknowledging the Old Post Office as a marvel of late-19th-century Romanesque Revival architecture and design. But from there, the review is brutal.

“LTI finds the décor a little garish and more quantity over quality,” it continues. Few who have been inside the hotel might argue differently. In Trumpian fashion, the hotel is a pageant of too-muchness, from the gold-colored bathroom fixtures to a $29 bowl of hummus to the crystal spoonfuls of sickly-sweet Hungarian wine that go for as much as $140.

It goes on.

“Service is poor on occasions and lacks confidence,” LTI founder Michael Crompton writes. “The whole experience seems a little forced, and therefore this place is not for the true discerning luxury traveller.”

no comment
For supporters of the president-elect or his hotel, Crompton’s suggestion that his DC hotel is not truly luxurious might be the most cutting. Throughout his business career, Trump has resembled a spoiled outer-borough brat robing himself in glitz and luxury to get in the good graces of rich Manhattan swells, and his political rise could very well be a response to DC establishment types laughing him out of the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

Only two hotels-- anywhere in the world-- fared worse in LTI’s rankings: a Four Seasons on Oahu, Hawaii, and the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

While LTI’s review does not make explicit mention of Trump’s election or the brewing mess over the Trump Organization’s lease from the General Services Administration for the Old Post Office, it does acknowledge that it is unlikely to have much impact on the hotel. “But no doubt the tourist hordes will keep the place eternally busy,” Crompton writes.

UPDATE, 5:48 PM: In an email to Washingtonian, Crompton piles on to his publication’s initial criticism, writing that the Trump hotel’s gaudiness—and that of the larger Trump brand-- runs counter to recent hotel-industry trends. “For quite a while there has been a move towards an understated elegance in new luxury properties,” he writes. “We had similar feelings towards Trump Turnberry (one of Trump’s golf courses in Scotland).”
You think there's any chance at all his presidency will be any different? I don't.