The Presidential, Please

By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Want to attend the big inauguration?

No matter who wins the presidential election, it will be historic and stirring, so get ready to speed-dial your favorite Washington hotel, or maybe the old college roommates.

Call your member of Congress, who, eventually, will have the tickets to distribute. Those tickets will be free.

Coming to town for the Jan. 20 inauguration of the next president could cost some people a mint.

Those interested in the Royal Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel will pay $15,000 a night, with a five-night minimum.

If they spring for the Ritz-Carlton Washington, it's $50,000 for the four-night package.

Also available at the Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue is a $1 million extravaganza -- you get 300 rooms!

Sure, the event is three months away, and many details are "outcome dependent," as the military's inauguration planners say. But the buzz is on, tickets have been printed and workers are already nailing together the giant inaugural platform at the Capitol.

For some things, it's actually late in the game.

The 80-year-old Hay-Adams Hotel, for example, with its primo pedigree and location across Lafayette Square from the White House, already has sold out its inauguration packages. "Because of our location, we tend to get booked pretty quickly," a spokeswoman said, declining to go into detail "because of the clientele."

The Creative Coalition, an arts advocacy group, has lined up movie types including Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon and Barry Levinson for its ball, no matter who wins. Location to be determined, but the price is set. For $100,000 you get 50 tickets, for $50,000 you get 16.

And in the Ritz-Carlton's lounges you can order an Obama Pama -- pomegranate liqueur, vodka and triple sec -- or Palin's Pit Bull, with rum, cranberry juice and Red Bull. (The chefs wanted to do something with moose meat, in honor of Gov. Sarah Palin's Alaska connection, but apparently it's illegal to sell the meat of a moose, spokeswoman Colleen M. Evans said. A type of elk burger will have to do.)

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