Skift Take

No, the Trump International Hotel in Washington isn’t worth $400 million. But there are a lot of investors waiting on the sidelines to park capital in just about any available asset — a classic example of the laws of supply and demand.

Series: Early Check-In

Early Check-In

Editor’s Note: Skift Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill brings readers exclusive reporting and insights into hotel deals and development, and how those trends are making an impact across the travel industry.

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A massive price cut isn’t enough to sway critics on the worth of Washington’s most infamous hotel. The Trump Organization is nearing a sale for its Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., following a reported $100 million price cut, Axios reported this month. D.C. real estate circles thought the property was overpriced when it was first marketed for $500 million in 2019, and the same criticism holds two years later after a new brokerage firm began marketing the hotel for $400 million. “Every time this asset has been put on the market, off market or on market, it's always had a number that was unrealistic,” said Thomas Penny, president of Donohoe Hospitality, a firm that owns several hotels in the D.C. area. “If it's come down $100 million, it's just a level of sobriety being introduced by the Trump International folks.” The property, criticized for the way lobbyists and even foreign governments booked rooms to curry favor with the Trump White House, tanked in performance from the pandemic as well as reputationally following the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection spurred on by Trump supporters. The $500 million list price put the hotel at just shy of $2 million per room, close to the all-time record high for a U.S. hotel sale using that metric. Even at $400 million, the Trump International sale would equate to $1.5 million per room — besting the all-time record in D.C., currently held by a Rosewood property that traded for $1.3 million per key in 2016.

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While real estate circles still think the price is inflated, the hotel investment world is flush with cash waiting to deploy on opportunities that haven’t really emerged during the pandemic. A trophy asset like the Trump International, despite its poor image, is