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Inauguration Hotel Mania Begins to Wane

January 9, 2009 at 1:45 PM | by | ()

Less than a fortnight away from Jan. 20, inauguration frenzy is actually starting to die down a bit in Washington, D.C. After those initial surges in what can only be described as temporary insanity, we’re finally starting to sift a few facts from the rumors and speculation.

As we all know, D.C. hotels turn inauguration into a jockeying match to see who can create the most outrageous hotel package. And yes, we’re guilty of feeding the hype machine by blasting the absurdities of such perks as a free puppy (Omni Shoreham) and a post-inauguration trip to the Caribbean to recover (the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton). But as the Wall Street Journal pointed out this week: “The last—and previously the only—time the Ritz sold its package was in 1988, when financier Henry Kravitz bought it for the then-astonishing $15,000.”

According to WSJ, the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton pulled its $99,000 hotel package off the market last month “and immediately sold the room, sans Caribbean vacation, for $12,000 a night.” Apparently there was even a waiting list. The Ritz’s location on M Street, however, did sell its "more modest" $50,000 package (to an unnamed bidder).

Other notable news orbiting the world of inauguration madness: The Baltimore Examiner is reporting that Baltimore’s hotels are nearly sold out too. A spokeswoman for Baltimore’s Hyatt Regency said that’s uncommon. “We’ve never had overflow rooms. Washington usually fills up but it doesn’t usually overflow to us,” she was quoted as saying. The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association is tracking availabilities on their website.

If Baltimore seems far from the Beltway, consider that even Kenya is seeing a tourism boom, according to the Montreal Gazette, in part due to Obama-themed tours that visit the rural village where his father was born (and still home to his step-grandmother).

On the home rental front, very few D.C. residents are actually financing European jaunts on the dime of desperate folks willing to pay anything for an inaugural apartment rental. In fact, the Washington Post says many are to the point of “begging for takers.”

Soon, very soon, we promise this will all be over...

[Photo: ABC News]

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