Inauguration Vacation: The Rush Begins

The Willard started receiving reservation requests at 11:10 p.m. on election night, according to public relations assistant Anna Croll. Classy themed decor, themed food and shuttles to the finest parties are included in the price. As of Tuesday, the Willard had only a few rooms left.

It's a similar scene at the Ritz Carlton's two locations in the district, both of which have sold out of standard rooms. Room rates start at $1,500 per night for a five-night minimum during inauguration week -- nearly five times the rate for a stay on Jan. 10.

And there's one lavish option left at each Ritz hotel: A $50,000 or a $99,000 inauguration package that includes a four-night suite stay with a laundry list of perks.

The $50,000 package at the Foggy Bottom Ritz includes a gold, diamond, ruby and sapphire pendant; an on-call chauffeur; a stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue who will outfit guests in a designer dress or tuxedo; two tickets to the parade; two tickets to an inaugural ball; and a private dinner. A portion of the price will go to a charity of the guests' choice.

At the Georgetown Ritz, the $99,000 package includes round-trip first class airfare; an on-call chauffeur; Gucci luggage; two parade tickets; two hard-to-come-by tickets to an inaugural ball; and a private dinner. After the stay in Washington, guests will jet off to the Ritz-Grand Cayman, airfare and hotel stay also included. The package is targeted to the eco-conscious traveler with environmentally-friendly spa products, carbon offsets for the flight and eco-adventures awaiting in the islands.

Pawlowski suggested the over-the-top offerings could be just what the city needs, saying that pumping dollars into D.C. businesses will be "a good economic boost in a time when we really need one, frankly."

Meantime, for travelers with shallower pockets, Washington is also gearing up for a series of celebrations aside from the main inaugural events, including several exhibits and tours dedicated to the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth.

Pawlowski, who started her job just before the first inauguration of President George Bush in 2001, told that this time around, "It's definitely a different vibe than the last inauguration."

"Based on the level of phone calls and the number of inquires we've received, it's gonna be big," she said.

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