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Trump Hotels Still Open for Business Despite Pandemic

We called to book rooms.
March 27, 2020
Trump Hotels Still Open for Business Despite Pandemic
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: General view of the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle on January 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by RBL/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

How are the Trump Organization’s hotels responding to the CORVID- 19 pandemic? Are they shut down? Or are they temporarily being dedicated to some public purpose?

At least one billionaire hotelier—Ty Warner, owner of the Four Seasons in midtown New York, which is closed to the public—is donating rooms to healthcare workers. Surely the first family must be making some gesture to show leadership in these parlous times?

Although Politico reported this past Wednesday that, “across the country, [Trump’s] hotels and resorts have either partially or completely shut their doors,” in fact Kayak, Expedia, and other websites show that the Trump International properties in New York and Washington are open for business.

For the Trump International in New York, Kayak yesterday (March 27) showed that Priceline offered a room for a couple and child at $525, only a bit lower than normal and higher than any other five-star.

I phoned the hotel yesterday, pretended to be calling on behalf of foreign friends planning a visit starting March 30. The clerk didn’t ask where they were coming from. He quoted prices for my imaginary friends for a two-room “Executive City Suite” sleeping three at $700 a night or a junior suite with just one room at $625.

The clerk said that the spa and restaurants are closed and there is no room service. But the staff can buy food at the nearby Whole Foods and guests can prepare it themselves because all the rooms have kitchens.

In Washington, D.C., the Trump International, five blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, was charging $394 for one guest on Snap Travel. (It’s worth noting that the Four Seasons in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, owned by Strategic Hotels & Resorts, was also open and had a room at $444 on Snap Travel.)

When I called the Trump International in Washington yesterday, the fellow who answered the phone said he could help me with my reservation request. He admitted that the hotel’s occupancy was quite low but wouldn’t commit when I asked about upgrading my friends to a suite. For the same imaginary family of two parents and one small child, he quoted me $446 a night for a room with one king bed and $536 a night for a room with two queen beds. He said apologetically that the city had closed the fitness center, the lobby bar, and the hotel’s branch of BLT Prime. He added that in-room dining is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. with a reduced menu.

Sadly enough, no one to whom I’ve mentioned this is the slightest bit surprised.

Ann Marlowe

Ann Marlowe is a writer and businesswoman in New York. She tweets at @annmarlowe.