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Final Nights at the Trump SoHo Before Trump Checks Out

Bargain hunting for hotels for her Thanksgiving trip from Cincinnati to New York City, Anita Scott came across a luxury hotel oddly cheaper than the rest. Then she saw its name.

“I texted my niece and said, ‘You’re going to vomit, but I just saw the Trump SoHo,’” said Ms. Scott from inside that hotel the night before Thanksgiving. “But it’s a deal.”

Soon Ms. Scott will not have to choose between her politics and her purse: The Trump Organization, which operates the 46-story building, announced on Tuesday that because of faltering business, it had reached a deal with the hotel’s owner, the CIM group, to excise the Trump name from the hotel. By as soon as the end of next month, the association with the president may be gone.

The building, which includes condominium apartments, has lost revenue, shuttered restaurants and slashed prices as the professional sports teams and corporate guests who were its mainstays checked out and never returned, according to hotel staff, shedding more guests with each controversy involving the White House.

On Wednesday night, Trump SoHo appeared in some ways to be still living up to the excess of its eponym. Two pocketbook-size Pomeranians pranced across the tawny marble of the lobby, towed by separate guests to check-in. One dog wore a Barbour jacket. At the concierge desk, guests could book a 90-minute-long “Ivanka’s Choice” facial for $370. Vitrines along the wall held bath products encrusted in faux diamonds and a Trump-branded terry cloth bathrobe of a kind that the president himself may or may not wear. A group of Russians milled in the lounge.

But the glitter masked a challenging reality, according to a longtime member of the staff who asked not to be named because employees had signed a nondisclosure agreement. After LeBron James publicly refused to stay at the hotel last year, the corporate clients and 20 or so sports teams that had been regular guests almost entirely disappeared, the staff member said. Porters whose base salaries were once buoyed by up to $60,000 a year in gratuities have earned half as much in tips.

Many employees, some of whom are immigrants from countries targeted by Mr. Trump’s policies, quit, the staff member said.

Yet for some visitors like Saman Gohari, 32, the association with Mr. Trump was the draw. The creation of the hotel was first announced on “The Apprentice,” Mr. Trump’s television show, and though it had been tangled in lawsuits, for Mr. Gohari it still had the burnish of success. “For me, the Trump brand is better than Versace,” he said, after posing for pictures with the golden logo on the doormat outside.

In a room on the 35th floor, things still felt opulent. Guests could be enveloped in Trump bathrobes while shod in Trump slippers, sipping a $75 bottle of Trump wine from the minibar and snacking on a $35 packet of milk chocolate nuggets shaped like gold bullion with the word TRUMP stamped in the candy — all overlooking New Jersey across the Hudson River.

For some guests, the politics was beside the point. It is just a hotel, after all, a cushy place to rest a weary traveling head. The association with the Trump brand felt burdensome, according to a German man who declined to be named because he didn’t want to be associated with the name.

“We have the feeling, that when you go somewhere and you say to a taxi driver, and they say, ‘Where are you going?’ and we say, ‘Trump hotel,’ it’s a political statement,” he said. “They believe that the people who are coming here are supporters of Trump, and the people who are not supporters of Trump are not coming here,” he said.

In fact, he is neither, he said; he has stayed in the hotel for years, well before Mr. Trump’s election, and likes the quality. “We don’t care about politics in the U.S.A.”

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misidentified the location of the Trump SoHo. It is in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo, not TriBeCa.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Final Nights in the Trump SoHo Before the Trump Name Checks Out. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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