Is it the only hotel in Washington – maybe the world? – on whose menu was wine in tablespoons. Its huge reception was known to be the only place in the capital of the United States where one could pass customers dressed in hats and cowboy boots. As you entered, to the left of the reception was what some called ‘Rudy’s court’, where the former New York mayor and councilor of Donald Trump He used to sit at night with a drink at the table while a line of petitioners approached to ask him for favors.
This is the International Trump Hotel in Washington, which the former president has sold for $ 375 million, that is, about 330 million euros, after only five years of operations. The establishment, which is in the old Washington Congress building, 500 meters from the White House, will now become the property of the private equity CGI Merchant Group, which has reached an agreement with the hotel giant Hilton Worldwide Holdings to manage it. According to the newspaper ‘The Wall Street Journal’, which was the first to report the operation, the hotel will stop bearing the ‘Trump’ name, and will be managed under the Waldorf Astoria brand, which evokes the famous New York hotel that is actually owned by the Chinese group Dajia.
The sale was not a surprise. Although the accounts of the former president’s companies are not public, the unanimous consensus is that the establishment has never made money since it was rushed open in September 2016 to reinforce Trump’s ‘political brand’ just a month and a half away. of the elections of that gao, in which he was imposed Hillary Clinton. According to the Committee on Supervision and Reform of the House of Representatives, the hotel recorded losses for 70 million dollars (62 million euros) between 2016 and 2020, and, in fact, it has had to be ‘subsidized’ with 27 million dollars (almost 24 million euros) by other Trump companies to avoid their suspension of payments. The property had been for sale since 2019, but in 2020 any operation was blocked by the Covid-19 pandemic, which pulverized the hotel industry around the world. That year alone, the income from the Hotel International Trump sank by two-thirds, up to 13 million euros.
The ‘cash’ of the operation may come in handy for Trump, whose companies have a debt of 1.3 billion dollars (1.15 billion euros), of which the former president has to pay 730 million dollars (641 million euros) between now and 2024. It can also help take away a legal and political headache, as the House of Representatives is investigating the president’s potential conflicts of interest with his hotel in Washington. According to the estimates of the Oversight and Reform Committee, foreign governments spent $ 3.5 million on hotel stays during the Trump presidency. Although it is a minuscule figure on a property that generated a turnover of about $ 150 million, it all adds up.
And it’s not just about foreign governments. In the period in which the US antitrust authorities were analyzing the purchase of the Japanese-owned telephone company Sprint by the German group T-Mobile (owned by Deutsche Telekom), this last company was spent 195.000 dlares (170.000) at the hotel. And it is that appearances is something that the clientele of the Hotel International Trump never cared about, practically the only place in Washington where the guests are all from the same political party.
In fact, the establishment was born surrounded by controversy, when the American chef of Spanish origin Jos Andrs broke the contract with Trump to take care of the kitchen of the Hotel due to the anti-immigration attitude of the then candidate for the White House. Andrs’s decision triggered a lawsuit for 8,8 by Trump against Andrs’ company, Think Food Group, who counterattacked with his own complaint, this time for 6.9 million euros. Finally, Trump and Andrs reached an out-of-court settlement that has not been made public.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism