News & Politics

Take a Look Inside the Trumps’ Planned DC Hotel

"It will be magnificent at the highest level," Donald Trump said in his typical superlative fashion.

Donald Trump talks up his hotel plans. Photograph by Benjamin Freed.

Having finalized their agreement with the General Services Administration to convert the Old Post Office into a high-end hotel, Donald Trump and his three oldest children showed off renderings of how a Trumpified Washington landmark will appear.

The Trumps—The Donald himself, joined by daughter Ivanka and sons Donald Jr. and Eric—introduced the designs at a press conference today at the historic Pennsylvania Avenue building, promising in their superlative-heavy style that when the hotel opens in late 2015 or early 2016, it will be a super-luxe but historically sensitive renovation of a valued plot of downtown DC.

“It will be magnificent at the highest level,” Donald Trump said.

The Old Post Office has been the subject of several attempted renovations going back to the 1980s—that’s what resulted in the crumbling glass rear annex. But DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton credited the Trumps with finally concluding a project she said has consumed her entire career in Congress.

“They have put to rest the saga of the Old Post Office,” she said.

Work on the $200 million project is already starting in very preliminary phases, Trump said. While it will take a while to clear out the Old Post Office’s current tenants, Trump said his company is already working on restoring some of the windows, a fact he used as a segue to another moment of self-aggrandizement. “What I do best is build,” he said. “Better than The Apprentice, better than politics.”

He also said the price tag was nothing to worry about. “Cost is no object, because if it was I wouldn’t do it,” Trump said.

As for how some of that expected $200 million will be spent, DC Mayor Vince Gray said the Trumps’ hotel project will result in the creation of 700 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs once the place opens, along with $100 million in tax revenue over the first decade.

The Trumps kept harping about how luxurious their hotel will be when its finished. The views, Trump said, will be “amazing.” The 16-foot wide hallways between hotel rooms will be “incredible.”

The hallways are in fact of particular note. Hotel corridors would ordinarily never be that wide, but the Trumps are keeping intact much of the Old Post Office’s existing interior structure, including wide hallways and vaulted ceilings throughout the building. The Trumps estimate the finished hotel will have about 270 rooms averaging 600 square feet, along with ballrooms, meeting spaces, a spa, restaurants, and ground-floor luxury retail.

There will also be two presidential suites converted from the space that once served as the office suite of the US postmaster general, Ivanka Trump said. Renderings of those top-floor spaces were not provided, but the plan for now is to outfit them with in-suite gyms and bulletproof glass windows, among other amenities.

The Trumps also plan to re-install the ground-level floor to create a nine-story atrium with a new glass ceiling replacing the current one. (The building’s current atrium extends to a depressing, subterranean food court.) Technically, the atrium, as a kind of indoor courtyard, will be a cortile, said Betsy Hughes, an interior designer with Hirsch Bedner Associates who is consulting on the project. Hughes said that when the hotel is open, the atrium will be the “most dramatic, beautiful, and chic place in DC,” echoing her clients’ knack for flashy adjectives.

Also being restored is a vehicular entrance along 11th St., NW, undoubtedly so that vehicles can pull up under a Trump-branded awning. Ivanka Trump also said that the artwork decorating the hotel rooms will focus the building’s history as the Old Post Office.

Indeed, Donald Trump talked up his historic preservation game multiple times during the event, mentioning his work on New York’s Grand Central Terminal and his private restoration of the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “I’ve had many landmarking awards,” Trump said while offering Tic-Tacs to a group of reporters.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.