In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election defeat and departure from Washington, D.C., his company’s D.C. hotel, which was bustling throughout his presidency, is struggling. The hotel provided an opportunity for politically inclined interests to potentially garner favor with the then-president, because he never financially detached himself from his businesses. Thus, supporting the hotel meant supporting the then-president himself. Now, Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and a growing list of news reports, including a new piece in The Guardian, reveal that the D.C. hotel is withering.
The hotel “is reeling from a huge loss of income and prestige,” The Guardian reports, adding that on “one recent afternoon it seemed more reminiscent of the haunted hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining.” The Shining features an ominous hotel that is largely empty. Sally Quinn, a local writer in D.C., told The Guardian that she does not “know anybody who goes there or has gone there,” and there’s not any particular indication that circumstances will be changing soon.
As Kevin Chaffee, who serves as senior editor at Washington Life magazine, put it:
‘The Trump hotel has been struggling for quite a while and, without him being there, people don’t need to curry favour by staying there. Some embassies had their events there and they don’t need to do that now. 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.’
In 2020, the D.C. hotel brought in $15.1 million in revenue, which was over 60 percent lower than its total from the previous year. The COVID-19 pandemic seriously impacted the global hospitality industry, but that’s not the only issue. A report that the Chicago Tribune released in 2019 — well before the pandemic — outlined how profits plummeted by a whopping 89 percent at Trump’s Chicago property from 2015 to 2018. Besides lingering issues with the ex-president’s competence — or lack thereof — surrounding business matters, Trump’s public antics have seriously impacted the ability of his business to actually make money. His brand is faltering.
In D.C., shortly after Trump left office, The New York Times reported that, at his D.C. hotel, the lobby “was largely vacant and the waiters and staff members outnumbered the customers,” as summarized by The Guardian. Besides those seeking potential goodwill from Trump, many of his political allies also frequented the D.C. hotel while he was in power — but now he’s no longer in the city, with no particular indication of an imminent return. In 2019, Trump apparently tried to sell off the D.C. hotel, which is actually housed in the Old Post Office building, which the Trump business leases from the federal government, but those efforts were halted.