The Waldorf Astoria Washington DC has officially opened in place of the Trump Hotel, but other than the sign out front and the lack of Trump cronies wandering the lobby, it’s very tough to tell the difference. The plush blue-velvet couches, the eye-catching crystal chandeliers, the tremendous American flag spanning four floors, even the gold table placards engraved with “Please see our host for a table” all remain from the Trump operation, which was up and running here just a few weeks ago.
When we arrived this morning—the third day of its new iteration—it was hard to spot changes. Which isn’t super surprising, since the Trump Hotel only shut down on May 12, offering the Waldorf Astoria less than three weeks to do any revamping.But while the decor hasn’t been much altered, the vibe has. The last time we went to check out this lobby, during the Trump era, the place didn’t exactly feel welcoming. A sign near the entrance warned, “HOTEL GUESTS & INVITEES ACCESS ONLY.” This time, we called the front desk before arriving and asked if it was okay to come despite not being a hotel guest. “Of course!” was the reply. “And I hope you bring your friends as well.”
We might just do that, but probably not on a Friday morning. When we arrived, there wasn’t much of anything going on. It’s not like anyone was likely to be swigging cocktails at the bar, but the scene was still muted, with a few pairs of customers in business attire scattered around the oversized room, enjoying cappuccinos and fruit salad. The hotel staff clearly outnumbered the patrons.
We took a seat and ordered a $9 Americano, listening to mumbles of business meetings and the soft jazz that played over the lobby speakers and somehow filled the grand space, making it feel almost cozy. We didn’t stay long; once we got our fill of the stunning space, it was a pretty dull place to hang out.
But we’re certain we’ll be back. The hotel is one of DC’s most breathtaking interiors, and now that the Trump family has packed up and departed, locals will almost certainly be exploring what the DC Waldorf has to offer. And if you do actually want to book a room for a staycation or for visitors, you can do that too: Tonight’s available rooms start at $1,175.