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They'll Leave The Light On For Them

This past weekend, the Obama family made its much-anticipated move to Washington. Since the Blair House, the traditional D.C. residence of the incoming first family, was already booked, the Obamas have had to slum it at the nearby five-star Hay-Adams hotel, across from Lafayette Park. Traffic's been jammed up all around the hotel, and the security tents are imposing, all of which got us to wondering: Did Obama have to rent out the entire hotel? What does something like that cost? And what happened to the other hotel guests who were booked for these days? Have they been shipped off to, gasp, a chain hotel? We found answers:

  • The Obamas rented out a whole wing of the hotel to accommodate the future first family, Secret Service agents, and Obama aides.
  • The Obama hotel tab will be about $20,000 per night to accommodate the entire party.
  • With this nightly bill, the president-elect's two-week stay at the Hay-Adams (the Obamas move into Blair House on January 15 after former Australian Prime Minister Howard vacates) will total approximately $280,000.
  • The transition and inaugural committees will share the responsibility for paying the hotel bill. The two teams receive their funding from both taxpayer dollars and private individual donations (a maximum $5,000 and $50,000 for the transition and inauguration, respectively).
  • The Hay-Adams website is still accepting reservations for most nights during the Obamas's two-week stay; vacant rooms range from $565 ("superior queen bedroom") to $3,200 ("one bedroom luxury suite with a view of Lafayette Park") per night.
  • A representative of the public relations department at the Hay-Adams refused to comment to The New Republic on "guests who may or may not be staying at the hotel" and stressed that the hotel's restaurant, bar, and guestrooms remain open to the public. Just prepare to be frisked...