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6 Reasons The Trump International And Line Hotels Are More Alike Than You Think

Celebrity chefs? Check. Controversial openings? Check.
Photograph of The Line (left) by James C. Jackson. Photograph of Trump hotel (right) by Brian Irwin/Alamy.

On the surface, Washington’s two buzziest new hotels couldn’t have less in common. The Line is a boutiquey establishment in quirky Adams Morgan. The Trump International is a Goliath on Pennsylvania Avenue. Look closer, though, and similarities emerge.

They’re Both Out-of-Town Imports . . .

The original Line is in LA. Trump properties are all over the country.

. . . That Are in Landmark Buildings . . .

The Line is in the 106-year-old hulk of a former neoclassical church. The Trump occupies the famous shell of the 1899 Old Post Office building.

. . . And Opened Amid Plenty of Controversy . . .

The Line’s developer was criticized for receiving a $46-million tax break from the DC government without hiring the number of city residents it had promised. Critics say that the Trump hotel—whose building is owned by the US government—is itself a conflict of interest.

. . . With a Bunch of Celeb-Chef Restaurants . . .

The Line’s three eateries are helmed by local stars such as Erik Bruner-Yang and Spike Gjerde. The Trump has David Burke’s BLT Prime and a sushi place from Manhattan name Alessandro Borgognone.

. . . And a Scene in the Lobby . . .

The Line’s restaurants spill into its common area, where visitors can also swill local spirits at A Rake’s Bar. At the Trump, you can enjoy a drink from the Benjamin Bar & Lounge on a plush lobby sofa.

. . . Even If the Crowds Aren’t Quite Who the Marketers Would Have You Believe

The Trump’s image as a center of power is undercut by the fact that a lot of folks at the bar seem to be Trump-loving tourists. And despite the Line’s self-conception as a home to Adams Morgan creative types, plenty of visitors seem to be professional-class Washingtonians enjoying a night out.

This article appeared in the July 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

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Editor

Michael Schaffer has been editor of Washingtonian since 2014. A former editor of Washington City Paper and editorial director of The New Republic, Michael is also the author of One Nation Under Dog, a 2009 book about America’s obsession with pets. A DC native, he currently lives in Chevy Chase DC with his wife and their two daughters.