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If you stay in one of these hotels, you can drive a Tesla for free

Tesla Model S sedan garageTesla Model S sedan garage
The Tesla Model S sedan.Courtesy of Tesla Motors

Want to know what’s it’s like to drive a Tesla Model S sedan? It will only cost you $845 a night at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. to find out. The hotel is offering an “electrifying getaway” promotion between September 8 and December 15, 2015. Check in for a maximum of two nights and, among such perks as a spa treatment, European breakfast, and cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, you have the use of a Tesla Model S for the duration of your stay.

There’s only one car available, so planning a booking in advance is a must, but this isn’t the first time Tesla and hotels have been linked at the marketing hip. Upscale properties like to dangle the allure of a high-profile ride, while the auto manufacturer gets exposure to high net-worth individuals who might be a candidate for one of their vehicles.

For example, Tesla has held a test drive event at the Mandarin Oriental Miami in May. The Mandarin Oriental NY has a Tesla house car that it welcomed on Twitter as its “newest addition.” And if you’re in Atlanta and need to charge your Tesla, you can stop by that city’s Mandarin Oriental for a free plug in.

Other hotels have used the Tesla in promotions as well. The Ritz-Carlton Beijing at the end of May presented “Tesla Tea Time,” combining traditional English afternoon tea and a Model S test drive. Starting in February 2015, Virgin Hotels Chicago had a $121,000 Tesla Model S P85D — described by the hotel as the currently “hippest and highest performing electric car on the market” — for guest rides to “select areas in Chicago.”

 

The continued marketing may be good to gain more attention and buyers. Or perhaps it’s also a way to keep people who have ordered a car to hanging on until they get theirs delivered. The Tesla Model X electric SUV is supposed to ship in September — three years late — to the reported 20,000 people who already paid $5,000 each to pre-order.

Riding Tesla coattails has become so popular that even less venerable establishments have hopped onto the bandwagon. The Victoria Part Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, which boasts “cable TV, microwave, and small refrigerator” in every room and suite, also notes that it has a Tesla charging station available.

The ultimate close connection between the Tesla name and an overnight stay might have happened in January when a Phoenix, Arizona man tried renting out his Tesla on Airbnb for $85 a night. He offered an 8-inch air mattress in the back of the car with the seats folded down. But he gave up, as it “really wasn’t practical.”