WASHINGTON (AP) - An exclusive hotel just yards from the White House will become a temporary home "suite" home for President-elect Barack Obama and his family when they move to the capital this weekend.
With daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, beginning classes Monday at the private Sidwell Friends School, the family needed someplace to stay. They inquired about Blair House, the government official guest residence across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, where presidents-elect sometimes stay before taking the oath of office.
But it's unavailable, booked solidly through Jan. 15, the Bush administration said.
So after Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their daughters wrap up an extended family vacation at a $9 million rental home in his native Hawaii on Thursday, they will trade their house in Chicago for a suite at the storied Hay-Adams hotel.
Opened in 1928, the hotel sits across Lafayette Square from the White House, Obama's eventual work place and home. Its name comes from two historical figures who lived on the site: John Hay, the private assistant to President Abraham Lincoln and later secretary of state, and Henry Adams, an author and descendant of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
The Hay-Adams has 145 rooms and suites, featuring marble bathrooms, intricately carved plaster ceilings and ornamental fireplaces and balconies-with views of the White House, Lafayette Square and St. John's Church-in certain rooms.
Room amenities include custom Italian bed linens and towels, goose down duvet and pillows (hypoallergenic pillows are available; Malia has allergies), plush microfiber bathrobes and slippers for adults and kids, a Bose CD music system with assorted CD's, exclusive Etro toiletries, complimentary Fiji bottled water and a nightly turndown service.
After throwing open its doors, the hotel quickly attracted prominent Washingtonians and other elites, including aviators Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart, author Sinclair Lewis and actress Ethyl Barrymore. Its restaurant is a top destination for "power dining" and is a regular meeting place for White House officials.
Obama largely has avoided stepping foot in Washington since winning the election on Nov. 4. He has spent most of his time during the transition in his Chicago hometown, and has been on holiday in Hawaii since Dec. 20.
His last appearance in Washington was Nov. 10, when he met at the White House with President George W. Bush.
The first day at a new school for Obama's daughters isn't his only Washington agenda item this wek.
Tuesday brings the swearing-in of a new Congress, one with bigger Democratic majorities that Obama hopes will help to swiftly pass the economic recovery package he wants to sign soon after taking office.