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Looking for clues at a Trump namesake

Trump Hotels

Trump wine, Trump chocolates, and Trump mouthwash are just a few of the branded items on offer inside the Trump SoHo New York, a 46-story luxury hotel.

By David Filipov Globe Staff 

NEW YORK — You can enjoy a $25 Trump Benedict for breakfast and create your own $32 Trump SoHo burger for lunch. Wash it down with a $75 bottle of Trump Meritage if you like. The Trump Kids service will occupy your children with books, games, and a nanny, and Trump Pets will provide your dog with gourmet treats, plush toys, and a walking service.

David Filipov/Globe Staff

Among the items at Trump SoHo bearing Donald Trump’s surname: Trump chocolates.

There’s no track record on what it’s like to live in a community governed by Donald Trump. But you can stay in one of the Republican presidential front-runner’s hotels. Hotels have security, borders, and walls to keep out undesirables. Surely staying in a Trump hotel might offer some insight into how he might govern a sovereign nation.

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To find out, the Globe spent a night at Trump SoHo New York, a 46-story luxury hotel that towers over some of the city’s more desirable neighborhoods. Located at the busy corner of Spring and Varick streets, technically it’s not in SoHo, but in an undefined section bordered by SoHo, Tribeca, and the West Village. Nor does Trump actually own Trump SoHo; he owns the company, Trump Hotels, that manages it.

But that’s OK. An American president doesn’t live in any of the 50 states he governs. Nor does he own the country. He just adds his name and job title to “United States” and tries to carry out his vision.

All of this, Trump has done at Trump SoHo. He talks all the time about how rich he is, and how rich he’ll make the country. His hotel is certainly making someone rich. A one-night stay Saturday would’ve run you between $355 for a 422-square-foot room and $5,000 for the two-bedroom penthouse suite on the 44th floor, with skyline views of Manhattan and the Hudson River.

All of the 391 guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with remote-controlled curtains, custom-made Italian bedding, oversized bathrooms fitted with custom-designed fixtures, standalone rain showers, and separate soaking tubs. Marble walls, cashmere throws, and hand-tufted wool carpeting add distinctive touches, as do the Trump soap, Trump shampoo, Trump lotions, and Trump SoHo liners covering the bottom of the trash cans.

It’s all hugely classy, to borrow from Trump, and this year Trump SoHo was named a AAA Five Diamond hotel — the only one in the neighborhood, according to a statement from Trump Hotels. The property was also featured in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotels in the USA.

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Winning, winning, winning, as Trump might say.

Like a nation, Trump SoHo has an ideology, which can be found on Page 2 of the in-room dining menu: “Trump Wellness,” a commitment “to provide smart food choices and exercise options, so that you feel your best and perform at your best throughout your stay.”

The hotel also offers a benign version of Big Brother: Trump Attaché, a service that keeps track of your buying patterns, special requests, and preferences, so that everything is the way you like it each time you stay. So if you like to loll in the Turkish-style hammam at the Spa at Trump, or enjoy a Trump Signature Gemstone Spa Treatment, or prefer to have two of the $35 packages of Trump Milk & Dark Chocolate bullions in your room at all times, you won’t have to ask. Hotel staff will just know.

And like any country, Trump SoHo has friends and enemies. A number of the guests Tuesday night were visiting from Germany, and all of them seemed happy.

On that same Tuesday, outside Trump’s campaign headquarters in midtown Manhattan, about 100 Trump opponents gathered to hold up signs that spelled out “Build Kindness Not Walls.”

Nothing like that happened at Trump SoHo, although staffers say they’ve seen pedestrians flip the bird as they walk past the building.

“It’s all part of the territory,” said an employee, who requested anonymity.

“Who gives a building the finger?” marveled another. “Write an e-mail to the campaign or something.”

David Filipov/Globe Staff

A bottle of Trump wine, seen inside a room at the Trump SoHo hotel.

Trump Hotels declined to answer questions about Trump’s candidacy for president.

“While Mr. Trump is currently the front-runner in the race to become the Republican nominee for President of the United States, Trump Hotels are not involved in either politics or the campaign,” read a statement e-mailed to the Globe. “As before, our efforts remain singularly focused on operating and managing the finest luxury hotels in the world.”

But that dedication can’t prevent Trump’s campaign from looming over this namesake hotel.

Often, the TVs high on the walls at Mr. Jones, a stylish, ’60s-themed bar, play retro movies under the thump of club music. But last Tuesday, the day of primaries in Ohio, Florida, and several other states, staff members and guests were glued to campaign coverage. No one wanted to go on the record about their political views, though the cheers and jeers as Trump and Hillary Clinton racked up primary wins suggested this was more of a Bernie Sanders crowd.

To hear Trump’s victory speech without the music, this reporter elected to watch it on the bathroom TV while soaking in the tub.

The candidate kicked off with a protectionist rant that recalled a recent speech in which Trump said, “Remember we used to have Made in the USA, right? When was the last time you’ve seen it? You don’t see that anymore. You don’t see that anymore.”

You don’t see it on the Samsung flat-screen TV, this reporter mused while drying off with a towel made in Egypt, and whiffing Trump cologne made in Canada before dumping it into the German-designed toilet.

Trump the candidate this month decried how “they’ve shut Christianity down,” but the Bible — “the greatest book of all time,” he has called it — was nowhere to be found in the room at Trump SoHo.

Trump the teetotaler has railed against alcohol companies — “I’ve never understood why people don’t go after the alcohol companies like they did the tobacco companies,” he told Esquire last June. “Alcohol is a much worse problem than cigarettes.” But that didn’t stop him from offering that $75 Meritage from Trump Winery (which, according to its website, “is not owned, managed, or affiliated with Donald J. Trump.”) Trump has gone back and forth on whether we should respect or fear Vladimir Putin, but the language on the packaging of the three tea bags arranged in front of the coffee maker was Russian.

All this political analysis was getting tiring. A Classic Trump Massage would have gone down really well. Unfortunately, the lowest weekday rate for one of those is $185; this reporter settled for a $105 Express Massage.

I don’t need anybody’s money,” Trump has said about his campaign.

But I do need mine. If Trump SoHo New York were a country, it’d be one where reporters who need to relax would have to content themselves with a free nap.

On the cushion they chose from the Trump Pillow Menu.

David Filipov/Globe Staff

Donald Trump gave a victory speech on Tuesday night, viewable on the flat-screen TV in the bathroom of one of the 391 rooms in the Trump SoHo New York.


David Filipov can be reached at David.Filipov@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @davidfilipov.