What's the number one wish for hotel guests? For plenty it may be a room with a view. But since Donald Trump entered politics, that request has taken a twist in some cities. In places where hotels overlook buildings emblazoned with the name of the real estate developer who will be the next president, some guests now prefer a room without a view.
Chris Skrapits, a teacher from Portland, Oregon, and his partner Adam Clayton, were none too pleased when they saw the view from their room on the 28th floor of the Venetian in Las Vegas last fall, Skrapits told NBC News. He and Clayton traveled there to get married right after the election.
“We woke up on November 9 just gutted,” he said. “We were planning to get married in July and decided, 'Let's get married this weekend. Let's be as married as we can be, as long as we can be, starting now.'” The couple opted to elope to Las Vegas.
“As soon as we opened up the drapes [we saw] the front of Trump's building and we're like 'Oh, no way,'” he said. “The letters across the top of the tower are just huge. It was a bitter irony that we were running away from him and he was right there.”
Change Rooms? Or Change Perspective?
Friends told them they should change their room, and the pair thought about it, Skrapits said. “But then we thought it would be better to look him in the face. We're going to be looking at this for the next four years so let's settle in and deal with it in a more positive way.”
In the end, he said, “We really wanted the weekend to focus on love. It just meant we had to move three inches to the left on the couch, just change our perspective.”
Kristen Gill, a Seattle-based travel writer and photographer, was similarly surprised when she and her boyfriend made a trip to her hometown of Chicago last August. Her boyfriend made the arrangements, booking them in at the LondonHouse downtown. “It's one of the great historic hotels of world,” she told NBC. “We were super excited to stay there. It's this beautiful hotel and then — boom — our view. We were like 'Ewww!' We were literally at eye level with the name Trump, directly across the river. The sign is huge. It's ridiculous.”
“I don't want to see that first thing when I wake up and last thing before I go to bed,” Gill said, so they kept their shades drawn.
Gill returned to Chicago for the holidays, staying elsewhere this time. “It was a totally different hotel with a different facing view and you could still see [the tower],” she said. “I was like 'You gotta be kidding me!'” The next time she visits, Gill said, “I'll definitely consider asking for a south facing view, or even say one that's not facing the Trump tower.”
For the most part, hotel management is aware of the issue and willing to assist. At the Club Quarters hotel on Chicago's Wacker Drive, an employee at the front desk even acknowledged that accommodating such requests happened "frequently."
For other travelers, it's the thought of sleeping inside a building with the name on it that sends them packing.
Kate A. (who asked to use an alias), a pediatrician moving cross country last summer with her husband and their cat, booked a hotel in Las Vegas using Priceline Express Deals, where the hotel is not identified until after the purchase. “After they charged our credit card, to our horror we learned we had a room reserved at the Trump Tower,” she told NBC. "I am a pro-choice, feminist woman married to a Muslim immigrant. To say that Trump was not my candidate is an understatement."
Kate feared for their safety, imagining “stereotypical, angry Trump supporters shouting at me and my Pakistani-American husband as we walked in,” she said. Though her husband assured her they would be safe, she didn't want to give their money to the then-candidate. But with the site's no refund policy and their limited travel budget, she resigned herself to the stay. They arrived, cat in tow — and learned there would be a $200 fee for their pet — twice the cost of the room. Kate had her escape route.
The moral of the story? If what you see out the window matters, plan ahead and ask your hotel for a view you can face.