|Reds' listening devices under the bed at the now Chinese-owned New York Waldorf-Astoria?|
If you're rich enough, you too can stay at the presidential suite. However, it may not deserve its name for much longer if rumors are true that Barack Obama will not be staying there for the upcoming UN general assembly:The Waldorf Towers, which bills itself as a hotel atop a hotel and has its own drive-through entrance on East 50th Street, has 26 “presidential style” suites. The presidential suite itself isn’t even the biggest or the most expensive. (It is surpassed by the Cole Porter, with five bedrooms; the royal, where the Duke and Duchess of Windsor lived; and the penthouse.)Still, it’s roomy, with a foyer, a living room with a decorative fireplace, a dining room that seats 10, a kitchen and a boudoir off the marble master bathroom. It is spacious enough, at 2,245 square feet, to accommodate 50 guests. (The suite can also be converted into a more economical one-bedroom.) Originally fitted with colonial-style furnishings, it was redecorated in a Georgian style in 1969, “to be evocative of the White House, without trying to copy it,” said Matt Zolbe, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.There’s no great original art to speak of, but the living room is graced by an upholstered rocking chair that belonged to John F. Kennedy; wall sconces donated by Richard M. Nixon; and books by Homer, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll and J. K. Rowling (she stayed there). Facing the king-size bed and Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress (with 400-thread-count sheets from Anichini) is a desk owned by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had a suite at the hotel.
Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has stayed in the presidential suite on the 35th floor of the Waldorf Astoria New York in Manhattan. The accommodations run $4,000-$6,000 per night, hotel officials say, and feature souvenirs collected from past commanders in chief and security measures like bulletproof glass windows. Current and former White House officials have long considered the hotel and its staff as the best in the world at hosting the most powerful man in the world. That may all be about to change. President Barack Obama is on track to skip the Waldorf this fall when he heads to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, several officials told Yahoo News.
Is Obama boycotting this Hilton-managed property over the antics of heiress Paris Hilton? Hell no! Reportedly, the PRC-based Anbang insurance group buying the property has resulted in [my eyes are rolling here] "security" issues. What if the presidential suite is now riddled with listening devices? At least that's the argument of those steering Obama away from the Waldorf-Astoria:
While the officials would not say so explicitly, they strongly indicated that the decision to reevaluate the historic relationship with the Waldorf was tied to the hotel’s sale to China’s Anbang Insurance Group, approved by U.S. regulators earlier this year. While Hilton will continue to operate the property for 100 years, one U.S. official linked the American decision to relocate the president to worries about Chinese espionage and to the announcement of an upcoming “major renovation” at the hotel that could provide an opportunity to install surveillance gear. The recent theft of millions of federal workers’ personal information, pinned on China, has fed the sense of alarm in Washington. China denies responsibility for the breach.
What's this, hotel protectionism? Having passed Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) scrutiny, you would think that security-related concerns have been assuaged since the American president has always stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria. I guess not.