Donald Trump opens latest hotel near White House

  • 13/09/2016
Donald Trump (Reuters)
Donald Trump (Reuters)

Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump was set to open 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, US$200 million (NZ$272 million) renovation.

While staff at the 263-room Trump International Hotel planned little hoopla for what they described as a "soft opening," about a dozen protesters opposed to the New York real estate developer's presidential run gathered outside.

"It kind of fits his personality that he finds a way to be on Pennsylvania Avenue, one way or another," said protester Judy Byron, 70, a Washington artist.

The hotel is at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the White House address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The hotel is housed in Washington's third-tallest building, the 1899 Old Post Office, built in the Romanesque Revival architectural style.

The protesters criticised some of Mr Trump's positions, including a promise to build a wall along the Mexican border to block illegal immigrants.

"We're out here building a wall against racism," said protest organiser Andrew Castro, of Baltimore.

Mr Trump said on Twitter on Monday that he had made a brief stop at the property "to thank all of the tremendous men & women for their hard work!"

Mr Trump attended the July 2014 ground-breaking for the renovations alongside local Democratic officials before launching his presidential campaign last year.

Mr Trump's company holds a 60-year lease from the US government for the property. It is paying US$3 million a year in rent for the building, which fronts the parade route for presidential inaugurations.