10 High-End Hotels With Presidential History

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Photo Credit: Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

With the upcoming Presidential election right around the corner, we decided to round up important American luxury hotels with presidential history. All hail presidential hotels!

THE HERMITAGE, TENNESSEE

The HermitagePhoto Credit: Lisa Diederich Photography
The Hermitage, Nashville’s first million dollar hotel isn’t just an iconic property for women’s suffrage — it has its fair share of presidential history, too. Presidential visits brought excitement to the gilded landmark when William Howard Taft spoke at a banquet in his honor in the hotel’s ballroom back in 1911. In following years, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy Jr., Jimmy Carter, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton and George Bush each made visits. Over the decades, campaign headquarters were regularly established in the hotel, governors lived here before taking office and legislators, lobbyists, and news reporters have all congregated in the lobby. Many political discussions were held and many deals were made in the restaurant, or sometimes in a smoke-filled suites. 

THE BROADMOOR, COLORADO

The BroadmoorPhoto Credit: © Kevin Syms

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs has the distinction of hosting most of the U.S.’s  presidents in its 102-year-history, including Dwight Eisenhower, who visited the resort regularly to play golf and learn from pro Ed Dudley. It was here that George W. Bush gave up drinking after a big 40th birthday celebration at the resort’s The Golden Bee gastropub. From the Obamas to the Roosevelts, The Broadmoor has had its share of presidential stays in this uniquely Western resort, which spans 5,000 acres and is a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. And talk about history: It was here that Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write the famous lyrics to “America the Beautiful” after her trip to the peak (on the train) in 1893.

THE GREENBRIER, WEST VIRGINIA The Greenbrier Hotel & ResortPhoto Credit: The Greenbrier Hotel & Resort

The glorious Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia has an extensive history with the Commander-in-Chief as 27 United States presidents have visited the absolutely stunning resort. Five presidents stayed on the resort grounds prior to the Civil War — when it was closed to guests but occupied by both sides, who used the property as either a hospital or military headquarters — and President Woodrow Wilson and his wife spent their Easter holiday at The Greenbrier in 1914. President Dwight Eisenhower has a rich history with The Greenbrier, having visited soldiers during the Ashford General Hospital days and making many return visits later in his life. Eisenhower was in instrumental in Project Greek Island, the underground bunker built at The Greenbrier to house Congress in the event of a threat on the United States.

THE FAIRMONT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

Photo Credit: Fairmont San Francisco

Spanning the entire eighth floor of the historic Main Building of the Fairmont San Francisco, the presidentially-frequented Penthouse Suite offers much more than its 6,000 square feet of luxury: The space is rumored to have a secret passageway for sneaking in and out, which could mean anything given that J.F.K. was one of its frequent visitors. The Big Four even used the space as they prepared to draft the United Nations Charter at The Fairmont in 1945.

THE WILLARD INTERCONTINENTAL, WASHINGTON D.C.

Willard InterContinental
Jenny Lind bathroom

Photo Credit: Willard InterContinental
Since 1818m the Willard InterContinental Washington DC has been referred to as the ‘Residence of Presidents,’ welcoming every U.S. president since 11th president James Polk. It was in a suite at the storied luxury hotel that Calvin Coolidge took his second presidential oath of office, and even served as the White House itself (complete with official flag flying) during the time it took Florence Harding to move out of the actual White House following the death of Warren J. Harding in 1923. In addition to its sheer beauty, the impressive property offers birds-eye views of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.

THE WATERGATE HOTEL,

WASHINGTON D.C. 

The Watergate Hotel
Presidential suite

Photo Credit: The Watergate Hotel

It’s a rare American who isn’t familiar with the Watergate political scandal that resulted in the resignation of 37th president Richard Nixon. The scandal, which stemmed from the Nixon administration’s repeated attempts to cover up its involvement in the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Washington, D.C. Watergate Office Building, which has since been turned into the five-star Watergate hotel. The property plays up its scandalous past, having transformed the break-in room, number 214, into its ‘Scandal Room’ – even offering a package that allows guests to have a fireside chat in the lobby whiskey bar with two arresting officers from the scandal —John Barrett and Paul Leeper — a stay in the Scandal room and private drinks at The Next Whisky Bar.

THE US GRANT HOTEL, CALIFORNIA

US GrantPhoto Credit: US GrantSan Diego‘s gorgeous downtown US Grant Hotel goes one step above presidential stays — it was actually built and created by Ulysses SGrant Jr., son of 18th president Ulysses SGrant, who named the hotel after his father. The property, which opened its doors in 1910 and which cost $1.9 million to build at the time, has plenty of history as well. Its Presidential Penthouse Suite originally served as a radio station, the very first radio station, in fact, from which another president — President Franklin D. Roosevelt — broadcast his first ‘fireside chat’ outside of DC.

THE MISSION INN HOTEL & SPA, CALIFORNIA

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
Herbert Hoover Lemon Drop, the William Howard Taft Appletini and the J.F.K Cosmopolitan

Photo Credit: Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Riverside, Calif.’s  Mission Inn Hotel & Spa may have only been visited by three presidents while in office — Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft — but their visits are legendary. The portraits of these presidents are featured on the Presidential Lounge wall, copied by artist Bonnie Brown from the official White House portraits. In fact, Roosevelt was even given the hotel’s 4 bedroom suite, which soon after became known as the Presidential Suite in honor of his visit. A stained glass window with the Presidential flag dating back to 1903 was even installed to commemorate his visit. On the morning of May 8th at 7:30am, the President helped in the transplanting of one of the two parent naval orange trees in the Spanish Courtyard that would help spawn California’s thriving naval orange industry. It was here that Taft attended a banquet in his honor (and where owner Frank Miller had to commission a specially sized chair to hold all 330 pounds of Taft’s heft — a chair which offended the president terribly and which he refused to allow himself to be photographed sitting in. The chair sits in the lobby to this day). JFK was also a guest of hotel in December 1940 during the Institute of World Affairs, a program co-founded by Miller. It was here that Richard Nixon and his wife Patricia tied the knot — they were married in front of the fireplace of the Presidential Suite on June 21, 1940 at 3:30pm in a small ceremony with an intimate reception in the Spanish Art Gallery. Twelve years later, while they were staying at the hotel, he received the telegram informing him that he had been chosen as Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s running mate for the 1952 presidential election. At that time, the picture of the two of them was taken in the Alhambra Suite. It is also where Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis spent the first night of their honeymoon (in the Alhambra Suite on March 4, 1952).

SEA ISLAND, GEORGIA

Sea IslandPhoto Credit: Sea Island

The planting of live oaks — the state tree of Georgia and the southern symbol for strength — has become a meaningful way to commemorate special guests and visitors to The Cloister at Sea Island since President Calvin Coolidge visited the resort in 1928 and planted the first. An oak was planted in honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who visited the property in 1946, and for President Gerald Ford, who planted a commemorative oak while visiting as a guest of honor at a meeting and golf tournament at Sea Island after his term of office in 1979. President Jimmy Carter assembled his first cabinet at The Cloister shortly after being elected in 1976 and returned with his wife to plant an oak in 1981. President George Bush planted a commemorative oak while he and Mrs. Bush were vacationing in 1991 at The Cloister, where they had honeymooned fifty years earlier. They visited again in 1995 to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.

THE HAY-ADAMS, WASHINGTON D.C.

Hay Adams
Off The Record

Photo Credit: Hay-Adams

The Hay-Adams, located across Lafayette Square from the White House, holds a special place in Washington, D.C. This classic hotel takes its name from earlier residents of its site: John Hay, private assistant to President Abraham Lincoln and later secretary of state, and Henry Adams, an acclaimed author and descendant of U.S. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Like their impressive homes, the hotel has long been a favorite gathering place in the nation’s capital. Adams was a member of an exclusive circle, a group of friends called the “Five of Hearts” that consisted of Henry, his wife Clover, geologist and mountaineer Clarence King, John Hay and his wife Clara. They knew every president from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt and befriended Henry James, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, and a host of other important figures on both sides of the Atlantic. The Five of Hearts even had custom china and letterhead stationary. But this storied hotel has a more current history, as well. Its entire eighth floor is where Barack Obama and his family stayed for 10 days prior to his inauguration in 2009. Its Off The Record bar, locally known as downtown Washington, D.C.’s best “place to be seen and not heard,” is highlighted by caricatures of the city’s political elite both past and president.

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