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Chicago hotels offer Obama specials

Jan. 20, 2009 at 10:13 AM

CHICAGO, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Chicago hoteliers and restaurateurs say Tuesday's inauguration of favorite son Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. president could help make up for a gloomy winter.

Several Chicagoland hotels and restaurants are offering lavish specials and packages for customers caught up in the spirit of Obama's inauguration as president of the United States.

The Chicago Tribune says fun ideas for folks reveling in "Obama-mania" range from "O Bomb" cocktails at the Moonshine tavern to hotel packages at upscale inns like the Hard Rock Hotel and the Fairmont Chicago that can cost well into five figures.

"We need to get past the Arctic snap," said Karen Barrie, who is involved with a benefit gala at the Windy City's famed Aragon Ballroom. "We believe the desire is out there."

Some analysts told the Tribune that inauguration business comes at a good time as the hospitality industry endures an economic slump while awaiting the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day uptick.

"The links of the president being from Illinois, and from Chicago in particular, certainly will help to mitigate those losses but can't help reverse those losses," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial.

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