January 20 2009 by Chris McGinnis
As a travel writer, I've seen my share of presidential suites. I recently got a look at the $34,000/night, I.M. Pei-designed presidential suite atop the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City. Wow.
Presidential suites are almost always big, dramatic--and dramatically expensive. So expensive, in fact, that most road warriors would never even consider them an option. But since we're all thinking "presidential" this week with the inauguration in Washington, D.C., it's worth re-examining the belief that presidential suites are in fact out of touch.
Actually, there are some situations where one of the largest and most prestigious rooms in a hotel makes perfect sense: a special occasion, a board meeting or when two or more employees are traveling together and entertaining clients. (For instance, I've seen presidential suites in Hong Kong used as mini-showrooms by apparel manufacturers meeting with buyers.) But the best way to see a presidential suite is on that very rare occasion when there are no more rooms left at the property and you get upgraded!
There are plenty of presidential suites that don't cost a fortune, and many of them are at Best Western hotels around the world...and go for less than $250 per night! Some examples:
- I was inspired to write this post after visiting the Best Western Lighthouse Hotel, located about 20 minutes south of San Francisco in the seaside town of Pacifica. Dramatically perched on the edge of Rockaway Beach, many of the hotel's rooms face the roaring Pacific Ocean. Its recently-refurbished presidential suite includes a fireplace, Jacuzzi tub and one of the most spectacular views you'll find anywhere on the West Coast. (See photo) Price? About $229 per night, midweek.
- In Lancaster, Penn., the Best Western Eden Resort & Suites offers penthouse suites that are actually two-level townhouses. You get two bedrooms, two baths, a fireplace, four flat screen TVs, a full kitchen (with granite counters and stainless appliances) for $149 to $249 depending on the season.
- At the Best Western Canyonlands Inn in downtown Moab, Utah, book the presidential suite and you get: a two-room suite with a king-sized bed, a double pullout sofa, two televisions, a Jacuzzi tub, a fully stocked kitchenette and a living room with dining area. (That's in addition, of course, to the standard Best Western amenities like free high-speed Internet and free breakfast.) Price: $229 per night.