WASHINGTON -- The clock tower over the Trump hotel in Washington has quietly reopened for tours after a three-year renovation.
The tower offers an unparalleled bird's eye view of the city from 285 feet up that includes the Washington Monument, the Capitol dome, the green lawn of the National Mall and more.
Part of the Old Post Office, the landmarked 1899 building had fallen into disrepair when the Trump Organization won a bid in 2014 to turn it into a luxury hotel. The Trump International Hotel opened last fall shortly before Donald Trump was elected president.
The tower and tours are operated by the National Park Service. NPS spokesman Michael Litterst said the General Services Administration, which owns the property, wanted a "soft opening" for the Feb. 9 relaunch. For now, the tower is only open Thursday to Sunday but it's expected to resume daily tours in mid-June after additional staff is hired, Litterst said.
Despite the lack of publicity and four-day-a-week schedule, the tower hosted more than 10,000 people through the end of March. Capacity for the observation deck is limited to 24 people, so it's not unusual for visitors to wait. The clock tower currently offers the highest public vantage point for viewing Washington. The Washington Monument is taller, but its observation area is closed while that building undergoes renovations that won't be complete until 2019.
The glass elevator that takes clock tower visitors up also offers a view of the hotel's elegant lobby with its chandeliers, marble floors and glass atrium.
The tower entrance is next to a Starbucks around the block from the hotel entrance with no direct access between the tower and the lobby. But it's not unusual to see confused tourists wander into the lobby looking for the clock tower. Hotel spokeswoman Patricia Tang said clock tower visitors also often come in for a bite to eat or something to drink at the lobby bar or restaurant. "There have been a number of guests requesting information on the hotel for future stays as well," she said.