01/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hotel Offering Obama-Themed 'City Of Hope' Package

A luxury hotel might seem like a bad business to be running during an economic downturn, but Patrick Hatton, general manager of The James in downtown Chicago, is feeling bullish.

Mr Hatton believes he has hit upon a promotion that perfectly suits the zeitgeist. From Monday, for $219, (€170, £142) guests at his hotel can purchase a "City of Hope" package that includes a private tour of Barack Obama's southside neighbourhood, reservations at one of the president-elect's favourite Chicago restaurants and a copy of The Audacity of Hope, his book.

In the weeks since Mr Obama's election, Chicago - a city used to proclaiming its global status while often measuring up short next to New York and Los Angeles - has been basking in the international spotlight. The president-elect's victory celebration in Grant Park showcased its handsome skyline, parkland and lakefront to millions all round the world. His transition team is based in the city, attracting a global media circus. Many of his appointments have come from Chicago's political elite.

The media's need to feed the hunger for news about Mr Obama has made minicelebrities of scores of Chicagoans with any kind of connection to the next president, from his barber to the chefs at his favourite pizza joint and the woman who drives a Dodge Neon he once owned.

If Chicago has a spring in its step, it may be because for the first time many residents feel it is getting the recognition it deserves.

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