Before the Inauguration: Obama’s Favorite Hotels

by Kristina Fazzalaro on January 18, 2013

In honor of President Obama’s inauguration on Monday, we’re taking a look back at his travels over his last four years in office — and on the campaign trail. The Commander-In-Chief has laid his head in some of our favorite hotels around the globe and, thanks to his refined taste and seriously swanky style (although we’d argue we really have Michelle to thank for that), we’re always eager to see where he’ll travel to next (and, more importantly, where he’ll stay!). Congratulations, Mr. President! May the next four years be full of prosperous times — and plenty of unique hotel stays!

The Hay-Adams, Washington, DC

This decadent junior suite at The Hay-Adams offers White House views.

Four years ago, President Obama moved his family into the Presidential Suite at this historic hotel with White House views after former President George W. Bush rejected his request to stay in Blair House, the White House’s guest residence. President Obama wanted to move to Washington three weeks before his inauguration so that his daughters could start at Sidwell Friends School without missing the beginning of the term, but he was informed that Blair House was already booked (for former prime minister of Australia John Howard and several receptions, as it later turned out). Lucky for him, The Hay-Adams is one of DC’s most luxurious stays.


Esperanza Resort, Los Cabos

The infinity pool at the Esperanza is absolutely breathtaking -- no matter your political affiliations.

President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton chose this luxurious 57-room resort in Los Cabos as the official host for the entire U.S. delegation during the G-20 Mexico Summit in June 2012. The delegation crew met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the proceedings, which likely left little time for taking a dip in the resort’s gorgeous infinity pool. But hopefully the picturesque setting helped this dynamic duo brainstorm ways to improve US-Russian relations. Unfortunately, if they did at the time, things are looking strained again after Putin imposed an adoption ban last month.


The Waldorf Astoria, New York City

This New York City icon has hosted every president since Herbert Hoover.

Every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover has stayed at this New York City icon, and Obama is no exception. He appropriately stayed in the four-bedroom Presidential Suite, which costs $8,500 a night (which, believe it or not, isn’t all that much compared to the cost of these exorbitant presidential suites). Built in 1931, the Waldorf retains its stunning art deco grandeur and strict dress code (no jeans, T-shirts, tank tops, or baseball hats recommended in the public areas after 6 p.m.). There even used to be a secret train platform underneath the hotel at 49th Street for high-profile guests.


Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin

Pop culture icons have long called this luxurious hotel home during their travels to Berlin.

While still on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama swung through Germany and announced that “America has no better partner than Europe.” And apparently Berlin has no better hotel than the grand, old-world Hotel Adlon Kempinski, as that’s where POTUS chose to stay. Everyone from Albert Einstein to Queen Elizabeth II has slept at this classically elegant hotel centrally located near the Brandenburg Gate.


Element Las Vegas Summerlin

This eco-friendly hotel off of The Strip got quite the surprise when POTUS came to visit.

When President Obama visited Las Vegas in January 2012, he broke away from the mega-resorts of The Strip (POTUS had previously stayed at Caesars Palace, Aria, and the home of Palms chairman George Maloof) and surprisingly chose to stay at this modest 123-room hotel in Summerlin. But what the hotel is lacking in size — the room Obama stayed in was just 600 square feet — it makes up for in purpose: A green hotel, Element strives to be as eco-friendly as possible. Obama also wanted to help out smaller, local businesses during his stay, even ordering in from Dom Demarco’s Pizza one night — 12 pizzas and 20 cannolis made their way the second floor, which had been booked by the President — and meeting with the owner of both establishments.


The Merrion, Dublin

Drawing Rooms at The Merrion rival the White House's style and opulence.

Upon first glance, one might not guess that this unassuming row of four Georgian townhouses is home to Dublin‘s most luxurious hotel. And because the block The Merrion sits on is dominated by the Edwardian Government Buildings, where Ireland’s prime minister has his office, it’s even more understandable that the hotel might get overlooked. But this only enhances The Merrion’s appeal: The hotel is quietly exclusive and utterly discreet. Though it is now public knowledge that Barack and Michelle Obama made The Merrion their home base when they visited Dublin in 2011, the Dublin media didn’t even know the Obamas had been to the hotel until after they departed.


The Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills

The poolside cabanas at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel are well worth the campaign donation.

We know that Obama’s team slept at the Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles while on the campaign trail back in 2008, so we think it’s a safe bet that the President himself slept here too (after all, it is one of the best luxury hotels in Los Angeles). The campaign was in town for a $2,500-per-person fundraiser held at the hotel, at which Barbra Streisand performed in support of the candidate. Earlier in the night, the team held a $28,500-per-plate dinner at the Greystone Mansion — it must have been tasty!


The Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park 

President Obama found out he won the 2012 election at the Fairmont Chicago.

This luxe Fairmont property in Chicago served as Obama’s headquarters on Election Day 2012. POTUS held several press conferences at the Fairmont during the day, before picking up a quick basketball game in the afternoon at a nearby athletic facility. The President then returned to the hotel to view the election results, along with First Lady Michelle Obama and the Biden family.


The InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa, Phoenix

Breaking tradition is okay with us if POTUS picks such luxe replacement hotels for his travels.

Obama’s decision to stay at this then brand-new InterContinental became quite the controversy in 2009: Every president since Herbert Hoover had stayed at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa when visiting Phoenix. Although there was no word as to why the new president chose the Montelucia, it could be the Biltmore’s strong connection to John McCain: He announced his concession to Obama from the Biltmore’s lawn; he was married there in 1980; and he had planned a fundraiser there for a week after Obama’s visit to Phoenix. Or maybe it was just because the $325 million Montelucia is a gorgeous getaway at the foot of beautiful Camelback Mountain.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Hotel System January 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Thanks for your nice post. Kristina I hope you keep writing more blogs like this one. Nice work Kristina.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: