Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump opened a luxury hotel on Monday just five blocks from the White House.
The opening came eight weeks before the November 8 election.
While staff members at the 263-room building that underwent a two-year, $212 million renovation to become Trump International Hotel planned little hoopla for the “soft opening,” about 40 protesters opposed to the New York real estate developer’s presidential run gathered outside.
“It kind of fits his personality that he finds a way to be on Pennsylvania Avenue, one way or another,” said protester Judy Byron, 70, a Washington artist.
The 1899 Old Post Office Pavilion built in the Romanesque Revival architectural style measures 315 feet (96 meters), is the third tallest buildings in Washington. Trump’s latest luxury hotel is less than a mile (km) down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
The cheapest room costs $700 a night, while the 6,500 square-foot (600 square-meter) “Trump Townhouse” suite which features a dining room that can host 24 people costs $18,750, the New York Times reported.
However, during the inauguration weekend, a reservation which requires a five-night minimum stay will cost $100,000 a night.
Trump said on Twitter he had stopped by the property “to thank all of the tremendous men & women for their hard work!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2016
The protesters criticized some of Trump’s positions, including a promise to build a wall along the Mexican border to block illegal immigrants. Protest organizer Andrew Castro of Baltimore said: “We’re out here building a wall against racism.”
Trump’s daughter Ivanka, helped negotiate the 60-year lease with the U.S. government and oversaw the building’s revamp and design of the building which was almost demolished in the 1920s and again in the 1970s.
The grand-opening ceremony is set to be held next month.
His comments describing some Mexican immigrants as criminals prompted celebrity chefs Jose Andres and Geoffrey Zakarian to pull out of the project. Trump Organization has sued them.