Hotel prices, bookings soar for inauguration

— -- Out-of-towners hoping to be in Washington for the Jan. 20 swearing-in of Barack Obama better toss their hats into the reservations ring ASAP.

Rooms were going fast Wednesday and Thursday, said reps for D.C.-area lodgings. A list of packages (most surprisingly pricey, given the times) is on the Destination DC website, Many hotels have three- or four-night minimums and jacked-up rates, so a search for a short, budget stay may be frustrating.

The just-renovated Capitol Hill Suites, where inauguration digs start at $699 vs. the typical low of $109, is touting a $20,000 "Live Like a President" package. It includes tickets to an inaugural event, replica of an inauguration ball meal prepared by a personal chef, in-room massage and $1,000 shopping spree. There's a sanitizer (to combat germy glad-handing) and lip balm to aid in baby-kissing.

For an alternative to high-priced rooms, Obama fans can seek shelter in private homes on sites such as and