From John McCain- and Barack Obama-themed cocktails to voter registration, hotels are hopping on the election bandwagon.
This year's hotly contested presidential race has spawned what looks like a record turnout of promotions, from cocktails and straw polls in bars to election-themed menus and room deals.
One of the more serious comes from quirky W Hotels, which has partnered with Declare Yourself, a national nonpartisan campaign that encourages voter registration. Guests can access Declare Yourself's registration aids online or via concierges.
More whimsical "Declare Yourself RED" or "Declare Yourself BLUE" packages are available at select hotels in the chain. Packages start at $399 a night (part of the proceeds goes to DeclareYourself). Guests get lodging, an elephant or donkey T-shirt, Democrat or Republican tote bag and two cocktails (the "Obama Pama," made with pomegranate liqueur, or the rum-based "10 Cane McCain"). For more information or to register to vote, visit whotels.com/declareyourself.
At a host of hotels, presidential-themed drinks are making a splash.
Offerings at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C., include the Palin "Pit Bull" (Bacardi Limón rum, cranberry juice and Red Bull energy drink). The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common has the "O'Bama … Irish Enough" quaff (a mix of Irish whiskey and other liquors). Erin Go Bragh: Obama boasts Irish forebears.
Kimpton Hotels nationwide are pouring creatively. The campaign cocktail roster at the bar at the TopazHotel in Washington, D.C., includes the "Double-Down Donkey" (citrus vodka, blue Curacao, sour mix and Champagne), "All-In Elephant" (rum, Amaretto, grenadine, lime, cranberry and orange juice), "Independent Player" (vodka and aloe juice) and "The Undecided Flight" (a bit of each).
Topaz Bar manager Joseph Norton says Democratic cocktails have been the biggest sellers.
In Denver, barflies at Panzano in Kimpton's Hotel Monaco are drinking more "Blue Bama" cocktails (53 percent) than "Right Wing Johnnys" (47 percent).
Starting Nov. 2 at Kimpton's 70 Park Avenue Hotelin Manhattan, guests checking in can choose a complimentary Republican Red or Democrat Blue cocktail. Orders will be tallied and announced on election night.
Meanwhile, VEGAS.com is anteing up for the election with a poll and vacation discounts. Book a Vegas visit for this year on its Web site by Nov. 4, name your choice for president and get $20 off when you spend $200 or more. As of Thursday morning at VEGAS.com/crapshoot, Obama was leading with 45 percent of the "vote," McCain had 36 percent, followed by more obscure candidates.
KSL Resorts, whose seven U.S. lodgings have hosted past presidents, has come up with packages in which guests express political preference when making reservations. The Obama package includes two "blue martinis," a recreation discount and "Buy American" credit for resort purchases. The McCain option includes a bottle of "Red State" wine and a room-tax credit. Resorts include San Diego's Hotel del Coronado; The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.; and Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa in Colorado. Reservations must be made by Election Day; check-in must be by Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.
Edibles also are material for pre-election hotel promos.