Trump’s luxury hotel in New York, once hot, now is not

Discount property.
Discount property.
Image: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi
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First went the professional athletes. Then went the sushi restaurant. Now employees and a fixture of a five-star hotel—turndown service—are the latest to go from a five-star Trump hotel in lower Manhattan.

The 391-room Trump SoHo in lower Manhattan is laying off staff amid a slump in business and asking for less than $400 a night from previous rates of around $700, according to WNYC.

The five-star property, which gets high marks from many guests, is taking its downmarket turn just four months after Donald Trump, whose company runs the hotel, took the US presidency.

Trump opposers such as basketball star LeBron James and even entire NBA teams have refused to stay at Trump-branded properties. WNYC reported a downturn in corporate event bookings at the hotel, which had booked events for companies like Amazon and GE. Celebrities and regular diners have stayed far enough away from hotel sushi restaurant Koi that the eatery last month announced it would close. A server told Grub Street that “the Kardashians stopped coming.”

A hotel spokeswoman told Quartz that “as is common in the hotel industry, and in any business, we continually assess our offerings and services.”

It isn’t entirely clear what is the source of the hotel’s woes. Trump’s new hotel in Washington, just steps from the White House, is humming despite protests about potential conflicts of interest.

But others in Trump’s hometown have shown an aversion to his name. Residents of the Trump Place complex on Manhattan’s West Side petitioned for the president’s name to be removed from the buildings’ façades. And, of course, Trump lost all but Staten Island to Hillary Clinton in voting during the presidential campaign.

A slide in the SoHo hotel’s popularity defies lodging trends in New York City. The number of hotels in the city by the end of 2016 was 631, up nearly 30% from 2011, the year after the Trump SoHo opened, according to data from hotel-analysis firm STR. Occupancy is also up, to 86% last year from 82% in 2011, even as the popularity of home-and-room-sharing platform Airbnb has surged.

Things could get worse for Trump SoHo. In the wake of Trump’s ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries, New York’s tourist agency forecast the city’s first decline in foreign visitors since the 2008 financial crisis.