In the days before Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, Washington’s hotels were not only sold out but had been sold out for weeks. Rooms weren’t available at any price. On January 18, 2009, the Washington Post reported that “all but 400 or so of the District’s 29,000 hotel rooms were booked.” Finding one of those 400 rooms was a daunting challenge — and even they were gone by Inauguration Day.
Now, as Obama prepares for his second inauguration amid lessened hope and enthusiasm for his presidency, it’s easy to find a room. It will cost you, but there are plenty available. On Wednesday morning, I called up a half dozen Washington-area hotels to ask if they had a room for two people, arriving on Saturday, January 19 and departing on Tuesday, January 22. All had rooms available.
The Grand Hyatt downtown? Standard guest rooms are open for $499 a night.
The Hampton Inn near the Convention Center? Available, at $249 for Saturday and $459 for Sunday and Monday.
The JW Marriott, right on Pennsylvania Avenue? Available, at $999 for Saturday and Sunday nights and $879 for Monday night.
The Holiday Inn just across the river in Rosslyn? Available, for $395.99 each night.
The stylish Hotel Monaco downtown? Available, at $959 each night.
Finally, even the Willard Intercontinental, the luxurious, historic hotel right in the middle of inaugural everything, has rooms available, for $1,532 each night.