Hotel Preferences: For The President, ESPN & A Gym

When the President travels, finding a place to stay is an ordeal. Yahoo! presents an interesting behind-the-curtain look at what it takes to find a hotel for him and his security entourage. First off, like President Bush before him, Obama’s two criteria are a) ESPN in the room, and b) an onsite gym. Unlike Bush, though, Obama has some other things he looks for:

One big difference between Bush and Obama: The Democrat’s team tries to stay at hotels serviced by labor unions “whenever possible,” an aide said. “That’s definitely a priority.” And while a building’s environmental and energy standards aren’t generally at the top of the presidential list when it comes to hotels, sometimes a presidential stay can double as a green endorsement.

There are other considerations. Obama is unlikely to book himself into a property owned by GOP super-donor Sheldon Adelson. Mitt Romney stayed in Marriott hotels whenever possible during his presidential runs; he was on the chain’s board and is named after hotelier Willard Marriott, who was friends with his father, George Romney.

If I knew more about which hotels used unionized labor, and which were owned by Adelson, I too would take that into consideration! That’s a problem we can fix. 

Adelson’s properties mostly seem located in Las Vegas and Macau, which are places I do not often go. That problem more or less solves itself. And the Union Hotel Guide allows you to check labor conditions at a site before you elect to stay there:

UNITE HERE is a labor union that represents 270,000 working people across North America. Our members in the U.S. and Canada work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries.

Our membership is diverse. We are predominantly women and people of color, and we hail from all corners of the planet. Together, we are building a movement to enable people of all backgrounds to achieve greater equality and opportunity.

The site also provides a boycott list that you can consult. Lots of Hiltons and Hyatts on the list, and the Trump Taj Mahal. No Marriotts, though, interestingly. If your preferences run along the same lines as Romney’s, you seem to be safe.

What I generally do is look for a small inn, B&B, or AirB&B first, because I appreciate character (and characters); then someplace well-rated on a site like TripAdvisor but still affordable and well-located, and then hope for free wifi and breakfast. Cable is a plus, too, since at home we don’t have TV. Most recently, when I was in Palm Springs for a wedding, I stayed at an $88/night Best Western and I was so happy it was like I was on three different kinds of club drugs.

According to the Yahoo! piece, Obama has stayed in luxurious InterContinentals as well as Holiday Inns, though there he gets upgraded to the Presidential Suite. (Who knew a Holiday Inn had a Presidential Suite?) He probably can’t ever stay in quaint little places, because there isn’t enough space. And regardless of the quality of the accommodations, for security reasons, he is never allowed a room with a view.



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