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Hotel or Home? "Eloise" Goes to Court

Eloise at the Plaza
Eloise at the Plaza

It’s not exactly the newest trend, I mean, after all, "Eloise" did live at the Plaza Hotel, but more and more I’m seeing ads for “Residences” at some of the ritzier hotels around town; specifically, at the new-ish Ritz Carltons in Washington, DC. And so it was only a matter of time before there would be trouble.

I was flipping through our local free paper, the Northwest Current, last week, and I came upon a blurb about a woman who is currently residing at the Residences at the Ritz in Georgetown. She’s now suing the hotel/condo to keep a new restaurant from opening up in the building, claiming that it will cause too much noise and too much traffic.

Ok, but it’s a hotel, right? And this is some well-known DC celeb chef type who is opening some swanky new restaurant in the “boutique” hotel setting. So I have to ask, if Eloise could put up with international jewel thieves and Arabian sheiks with their shady entourages and the like, then why is this woman so appalled at the idea of a new restaurant in what is really a hotel?

The building, according to its website, has “86 oversized guest rooms” and only 28 “residences,” so it is, in fact, more hotel than home. Residents at the condos “enjoy their own private lobby and a staff that will be on hand at all hours, day and night, to assist with any need that may arise.”

I also have to add that the building already has a massive multiplex movie theater in it, so traffic is pretty high as it is. So where do you draw the line? Residence primary or residence momentary? And if luxury condos in hotels are to proliferate, as I expect they will, given the upscale urges of the baby boomer generation, then to whom must they cater first? Eloise may find out soon since, the Plaza is going mostly condo now, but as with everything else, we'll all probably find out in court.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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