1600 Pennsylvania Avenue might be home base for the POTUS, but when you’re the leader of the free world, you’re bound to spend a lot of time traveling, too. Over the course of his two-term presidency, Barack Obama jetted off to 58 different countries and embarked on plenty of firsts, including being the first sitting president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, Malaysia in almost half a century, and Kenya, Myanmar, Laos, and Ethiopia ever. And while the commander-in-chief and those before him have laid their head in many a hotel during their journeys, there are a select few properties that have earned multiple U.S. president visits (or hosted more than one POTUS). Below, we put together a list -- just in time for inauguration -- of 11 hotels that have been popular among U.S. presidents.
1. Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco
As the name suggests, this 142-year-old luxury hotel is indeed palatial. The glass-roofed indoor pool, restaurant with gold atrium ceiling, and lobby with vintage chandeliers are fit for a VIP -- or more specifically, a president. After all, the SoMa district property, which typically hosts a mix of business travelers and tourists, has also welcomed eight U.S. presidents, including both Roosevelts and Warren G. Harding. If you want even more of the commander-in-chief experience, book a stay in the Presidential Suite, which features six rooms, antique fireplaces, a baby grand piano, and a kitchen.
2. The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Hawaii
Built in 1964, this luxury hotel might be located in a posh Honolulu neighborhood, but it still manages to create a non-pretentious, family-friendly atmosphere. That’s not to say its pedigree isn’t impressive -- not only was this the place where Liz Taylor and Richard Burton hid from the paparazzi after getting married (the first time) in 1964, but famous faces like Michael Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Snoop Dogg, and every president since Lyndon B. Johnson have all rested their head here. And just in case you need reminding of the good company you’re in, make your way to the lobby, where you’ll find a Wall of Fame with framed photos of former famed guests.
3. The Fairmont San Francisco
There’s something to be said about a hotel that has hosted every U.S. president since William Taft -- and that word is wow. Truman came by in 1945, Kennedy stayed here nearly two decades later, Clinton three decades after that, followed by President Obama. It’s no wonder, then, that the Nob Hill property, which opened in 1907, is known as the White House of the West. But it’s not all about the politicos here -- movies like “Vertigo,” and “Dirty Harry” were filmed on the premises, too. And it certainly takes pride in its distinguished guests -- the hallway is outfitted in framed photos of past visitors. If its star-studded history doesn’t do it for you, come for the decor, which includes marble Corinthian walls, vaulted ceilings, and velvet chairs.
4. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Autograph Collection, Colorado
A lot has happened in this classy -- and arguably most iconic -- hotel since it swung its doors open in 1892. Namely, every president since Teddy Roosevelt (with the exception of Barack Obama and Calvin Coolidge) has visited the property, which occupies prime real estate in Denver’s business district. Perhaps even more remarkable is that the hotel has not closed a single day in its more than 100-year history. And that history is evident in every corner of the hotel -- the opulent, Old World decor includes antique chairs, red velvet love seats, antique wooden shelves containing items that are up to 100 years old, and a spa with shiny marble walls and ornately detailed woodwork. Book a stay in one of the presidential suites -- the Eisenhower and Roosevelt come with multiple rooms.
5. The Willard InterContinental, Washington, D.C.
With a history that dates back to 1816, this 335-room hotel is among the most iconic luxury hotels in Washington, D.C. -- and the United States, for that matter. Perhaps it’s the hotel’s proximity to the White House and National Mall that made it a popular choice for presidents (nearly every POTUS, including Abraham Lincoln, has crashed here). While the prime location might be a draw for you as well, other alluring aspects include a grand lobby, which is filled with marble pillars, beautifully restored coffered ceilings, and terrazzo floors, plus the French restaurant, classic bar, fitness center, and spa. Plus, the hotel continues to host presidents, diplomats, and other D.C. influencers, like Michelle Obama.
6. Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Phoenix
No matter your political leanings, there’s no doubt this Phoenix hotel, which has hosted presidents and celebrities, makes for a memorable stay. Designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students in 1929, the sprawling property features the Camelback Mountain as its stunning natural backdrop. Nancy and Ronald Reagan celebrated their honeymoon here (though this was in 1952, before his presidency), Jackie and John F. Kennedy played tennis on the courts, and every president from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush has checked in. So what’s in it for you? Guests can enjoy several dining and bar options, including a restaurant with a swim-up bar and cafe with terrace seating, plus activities like golf, tennis, and swimming in multiple pools on-site.
7. The Hay-Adams, Washington, D.C.
You may have heard of The Hay-Adams back in 2009, when the Obamas shacked up here for two weeks prior to inauguration, but the D.C. hotel has been newsworthy long before that. In 1884, John Hay (Lincoln’s private secretary and later secretary of state) and Henry Adams built their homes on the plot of land where the hotel now sits. In 1927, after Adams’ death, the houses were replaced by the current hotel. And since then, politics has always been present within the walls. In fact, the hotel’s restaurant and bar, named Off the Record, hosts power players from both sides. Come for the storied past; stay for the impeccable service, great bar and restaurant, elegant rooms -- some of which overlook its famous next-door neighbor, the White House.
8. The Waldorf Astoria, New York City
Built in 1931, the Waldorf Astoria is one of New York City’s most iconic hotels. The Midtown East accommodations might not be for everyone (there’s a dress code after 6 p.m.), but it certainly seemed to suit the U.S. presidents. In fact, every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover has stayed there (although Obama ended the tradition after the hotel was purchased by Chinese interests). Wallet-friendly it is not, but for a steep price, folks can stay in the Presidential Suite, which is decorated to resemble the White House -- and houses one of John F. Kennedy’s rocking chairs.
9. The Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles
Built by Conrad Hilton in 1955, this 560-room Beverly Hills hotel is unlike any other Hilton. Not only does it come with Hollywood cachet (the Golden Globes are held here every year and the space has welcomed stars like Marilyn Monroe and Esther Williams), but it’s also a top pick in the political world. Every president from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama have checked in. The Presidential Suite boasts rich gold and maroon furnishings, from the plush bed to the cozy armchairs. A chandelier dangling over a dining table, large living room area, and desks make it good option for any traveling POTUS. And the Olympic-size pool on the grounds doesn’t hurt either.
10. The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston
From conventioneers to college parents to Freedom Trail tourists, this 383-room hotel in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood has seen quite a wide variety of visitors walk through its doors. But perhaps the most noteworthy of its guests are the U.S. presidents (nearly every one since Taft) and celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and Tom Cruise. Whether you’re running the country or not, the pricey Presidential Suite is the way to go -- it has three rooms, a fireplace, large marble bathrooms, and a classically decorated dining room.
11. The Blackstone, A Renaissance Hotel, Chicago
Dating back to 1910, this hotel in Chicago’s South Loop has earned a reputation as the “hotel of presidents.” The 300-plus-room hotel, which sits across from Grant Park, has hosted high-profile guests that include a dozen chief executives, including Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, and more. Legend has it, when President Truman stayed at the property, he was known to head down to the lobby with a glass of bourbon to play the piano.