US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump opened the latest outpost in his real estate empire on Monday, a luxury hotel in a historic building five blocks from the White House that underwent a two-year, $200 million renovation.
While staff members at the 263-room Trump International Hotel planned little hoopla for what they described as a "soft opening," about 40 protesters opposed to the New York real estate developer's presidential run gathered outside. The opening came eight weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
"This building almost got demolished three or for times. It would have been a shame, because when you look at the architecture, you look at the build, you just don't do building like this anymore. And we're so happy just to bring back what it used to be in 1899," said Mickael Damelincourt, Managing Director for Trump International Hotel.
The hotel, which includes a $20,000-a-night suite, is less than a kilometer down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. The hotel is housed in Washington's third-tallest building, the 1899 Old Post Office, built in the Romanesque Revival architectural style.
Trump said on Twitter he had stopped by the property "to thank all of the tremendous men & women for their hard work!"
The protesters criticized some of Trump's positions, including a promise to build a wall along the Mexican border to block illegal immigrants.