Yesterday I decided to check out a new hotel that has Donald Trump’s name on it the day before Election Day. I’ll admit that I was curious as to what it looked like. I’ve been to the Trump Tower building in New York City and I remember it was incredibly over the top. The lobby had this large waterfall that was cascading down a tall wall of pink marble. Plus there were these huge chandeliers and gold fixtures. I’ve always thought that it was tacky.
The new hotel is located in the historic Old Post Office Building. I used to go there a lot back in the day when the historic building was originally converted to a shopping mall and food court known as the Old Post Office Pavilion. I would go there a few times a year. I remember the stores were a bit pricey but I could usually find something affordable to eat in the food court. I remember there was a stand that had nothing but wind-up toys and there were always kids trying out those toys. I also remember a store that sold Russian matryoshka nesting dolls. Plus there were clothing stores selling expensive upscale clothes. Most of all I remember the lovely architecture and it was such a treat to take it all in while sipping a soda in the food court.
The Old Post Office Building had a tower, which was run by the National Park Service, that you could go up to the top in an elevator. I took the elevator up to the top once and I was treated to a lovely bird’s eye view of Washington, DC. Many guidebooks mention that this tower is one that tourists frequently overlook because they tend to crowd into the more popular Washington Monument in order to see the city from up high.
I remember I last went inside that building in 2001. The only reason why I remember the year is because the following year I had gone to the annual Sakura Matsuri street festival that was held outside the Old Post Office Building. It was a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I wanted to get something to drink but all of the food stands were crowded. I initially decided to go to the food court in the Old Post Office Building only to encounter this newly-erected airport-style security system where you not only had to go through metal detectors but also have to put your bags through a conveyor belt that went through an x-ray machine. I found it totally off-putting to say the least. I just wasn’t into putting up with this much security just so I could go into what had been a glorified shopping mall and getting a soda. I ended up going to the nearby CVS and buying a bottle of soda there instead.
I wasn’t the only one who never returned to the Old Post Office again. The shopping mall eventually failed and all the stores closed. The GSA decided to turn the Old Post Office into a luxury hotel and they awarded the contract to Donald Trump, a decision that has created controversy. I remember these pictures I took at the Justice For All March back in December, 2014.
A brief moment after I took that last photo, this guy jumped in front of me (and next to the Anonymous guy) wanting his picture taken. So I obliged him.
Then his friend also jumped in and I took a picture of both of them as well.
After I took that last picture, they were noticing that they were getting attention from people along with the Anonymous man. I mentioned that they were underneath that giant Trump sign. They looked up and said “Donald Trump? Fuck him too!” I got a laugh out of that.
That march took place six months before Donald Trump formally announced his presidential campaign.
Lately I’ve been hearing that not too many people have chosen to book at that hotel since it opened. I’m not surprised. In the past year-and-a-half since he announced that he was running he has insulted nearly everyone except for white Christian heterosexual men with no disabilities who have never been POWs during wartime. If I had extra money and I was in the mood to treat myself to a weekend stay at a luxury hotel in downtown DC, I could choose to stay at the Trump International Hotel while overlooking the fact that Donald Trump has denigrated women like me as people whom he feels entitled to forcibly kiss while boasting that he has to “grab them by the pussy.” Or I could choose to stay at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, located just a few blocks away from the Trump International Hotel, whose building is not only just as historic as the Old Post Office but it’s notable for the fact that Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” while staying at the hotel in 1861 and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in his hotel room at the Willard just days before the 1963 March on Washington. On top of it, the people currently running the Willard haven’t been publicly saying outrageously offensive stuff and they have pretty much focused on running the hotel.
Well, DUH! The Willard InterContinental Hotel would get my business. I’m willing to bet that other people would choose the same.
I have a feeling that the new Trump International Hotel will eventually end up going the way of the Trump Taj Mahal, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, the Trump Plaza, the Trump Castle, Trump Hollywood, Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico, Trump Tower Tampa, the Trump Shuttle airline, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, and Trump University—bankrupt. Yesterday, the day before Election Day, I decided to check out the hotel and take a few pictures for posterity.
I took the Metro to Federal Triangle (the closest stop to the Trump International Hotel). I initially went out the exit that led to the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where I took these pictures.
Next to the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building, which houses the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Post Office. As you can guess, this building is named for ex-President Bill Clinton, who is also the husband of one of the candidates running against Donald Trump. It’s also pretty ironic that the building is named for Bill Clinton when you consider that it’s located next to…the Trump International Hotel
A statue of Benjamin Franklin still stands outside the Old Post Office Building. (Among his many accomplishments, he was the first Postmaster General.) Although I seriously doubt that he would’ve wanted his statue to have any kind of connection with Donald Trump no matter how slight or tenuous.
I noticed that there’s a Starbucks at this new hotel, which is ironic because I remember when Trump called for a boycott against Starbucks last year over that idiotic hoopla that broke out over the design of Starbucks’ coffee cup for the winter holidays.
I had thought about going up the clock tower again just for old times’ sake. I was looking forward to taking pictures of the amazing vistas of the city with my smartphone. But I discovered that, unlike the old days when you can enter the Old Post Office Building then go to the tower from the inside, the clock tower can now only be accessed from a door in the back. Worse, that entrance is currently closed, which is a bummer. I have no idea if it’s a temporary thing and it will be reopened in the future or if the clock tower is no longer opened to the general public.
The only consolation is that I peeked through the windows and saw this amazing marble floor.
In the old days one could enter the Old Post Office Building using any of the doors in the front, back, and sides. After the 9/11 attacks people were allowed to enter only from the back where they had to stand in line and put up with the airport-style security. Even though the Trump name is over all of the entrances, there is only one way to enter that building and it’s definitely not through any of the side entrances.
I thought that the front entrance would be the way to get inside the hotel but no. There are signs with a map posted of the fact that one can only enter this hotel using the 11th Street entrance on the side.
Next to the front entrance is a side door leading to something called the Trump Townhouse. I rolled my eyes at that sign thinking, “God, there are no limits to that man’s ego!”
I finally made my way to the 11th Street entrance.
I’ll admit that I was bracing myself for something totally gaudy and tacky a la the Trump Tower in New York City. But when I went in I was pleasantly surprised. The lobby of the hotel was tastefully decorated.
Most of the couches and chairs are royal blue and all of them are very elegant looking.
The skylight provides a lot of natural light during the daytime.
The carpeting is nice looking and it is incredibly comfortable to walk on.
The food carts are made from wood.
This hotel has the tallest bar I’ve ever seen complete with rows of shelves full of various bottles of alcohol and four large screens that are each tuned to a different channel.
I had to use the bathroom and I saw that even the bathroom is tastefully elegant.
I saw only one store during my time there. It is called Brioni and it specializes in men’s suits.
Everything about this building had an air of being very tastefully elegant, which is a welcome contrast to the more overblown Trump Tower in New York City.
This next picture shows the skylight with a view of the now-closed clock tower.
I have to admit that this hotel is quite lovely. Yes, it’s obvious that it’s a luxury hotel but the interior design is understated yet elegant. I later read that Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, was the one who worked most closely with the DC hotel and she was in charge of the hotel’s design. It’s pretty obvious that she doesn’t share her father’s garish tastes in making everything gold (such as his penthouse at the Trump Tower in New York City).
If it weren’t for the now-poisonous Trump name, I’m sure people with deep pockets would be staying there because it is a nice looking hotel. But, thanks to The Donald’s antics, that hotel has been the target of protests and vandalism. At one point an employee asked me if there was anything he could help me with. I mentioned that I was just checking out the hotel because I used to go to the Old Post Office Building back when it still had the shopping mall there. The employee smiled and said, “Oh, yeah. That’s where they had the food court.” He let me go on my merry way. Even though he was probably expected to offer help to anyone in the hotel, I have a feeling that he was also probably told to be on the lookout for any protesters or vandals who are trying to attack the hotel from the inside while offering help to people.
I brought along my Talking Donald Trump Action Figure (which I gave to my then-husband as a gag gift a few years earlier sometime during either the first or second seasons of The Apprentice and it was among the many items he left behind when he left me) and posed him next to one of the Trump International Hotel signs.
Near the hotel is this little piece of sidewalk graffiti courtesy of Anonymous.
After my jaunt around the Trump International Hotel, I walked around a bit. I ended up at Ford’s Theatre, which is a centuries-old theater that’s still thriving despite its historical notoriety. The next photo shows its modern-day facade.
Next to the modern building is the older building. That’s the same building where Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary, decided to check out a local production at Ford’s Theatre when John Wilkes Booth assassinated the president in front of his wife.
There is a museum inside the old section but I would’ve had to purchase a ticket and I’m still dealing with money crunch issues so I really didn’t feel that I could splurge on something like this. I managed to visit the gift shop, which is loaded with all kinds of Lincoln books and other souvenir items.
After John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln, Booth managed to escape by jumping from the balcony where the Lincolns sat directly to the stage in the middle of a performance. Booth broke his leg but he managed to hobble off the stage and escape. Meanwhile people brought Lincoln’s dying body over to a townhouse located across the street from the theater. Lincoln died in that house soon afterwards. Today that townhouse, known as the House Where Lincoln Died, is also a tourist attraction. I didn’t go in because it also required a ticket that one had to get at Ford’s Theatre.
This particular area of DC has long taken a notoriously tragic event like the Lincoln assassination and used it as a tourist attraction while local businesses have also tried to hype that notoriety as well, such as this building featuring Honest Abe’s Souvenirs and the Lincoln House Restaurant. Yeah, I know it’s tacky to use a sad event to attract tourists but it could’ve been worse. I’ve been to Salem, Massachusetts—site of the notorious Salem Witch Trials—and there are literally witch motifs everywhere from the sides of police cars to the Salem Witch Museum (with its tag line “Stop by for a spell”) to local stores carrying various witch products to even seeing a witch on the logo of the YMCA.
I found this campaign sign where someone named Russell Hirshon is running for President of the United States. I’ve never heard of the guy, although I have to admit that I like his “Make America Sane Again” slogan.
I took this picture of some people setting up one of the windows at the H&M store.
This shared entrance to the Forever 21 store and the Metro Center station has this really interesting colored trim that I liked.