9:04 AM, Feb 11, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
In January, the State Department signed contracts for an estimated $1,690,000 million for hotels for President Obama's trip to India. Two of the contracts were for the New Delhi stay, and another two were for Agra, the location of the Taj Mahal. That latter leg of the trip was cancelled when President Obama decided to leave early to pay his respects to the recently deceased king of Saudi Arabia. The president stayed in New Delhi for two nights. He did not stay in Agra, but since his visit there was to be a day trip, the hotels reserved in that city were never intended for him in the first place.
The New Delhi hotels cost about $1.1 million: $800,000 for the ITC Maurya, and $300,000 for the Taj Palace Hotel. A maximum of 4,000 room nights were booked between the two.
The Agra hotels included the Jaypee Palace Hotel for $350,000 and the ITC Mughal for $240,000; a maximum of 2,500 room nights were booked.
Even though the Obamas departed India before the planned Taj Majal visit, Mr. Obama and his wife were only scheduled to travel to Agra on Tuesday to visit the legendary palace before departing the country for home anyway. White House guidance (via the Chicago Sun-Times) of the original itinerary reads as follows:
On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks at Siri Fort Auditorium and the First Lady will attend. In the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will travel to Agra, India to tour the Taj Mahal. Following their tour, the President and First Lady will depart India en route Washington, DC.
The hotels booked in Agra were apparently solely for the advance team and security personnel necessary to prepare for the Taj Majal visit. Local media in India reported that over 100 security personnel left Agra the day before the president arrived in India after the Agra leg was cancelled.
7:01 AM, Nov 24, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Joe Biden just returned Sunday from a three-nation trip that concluded with a 48 hour visit to Turkey.
3:16 PM, Oct 24, 2014 • By ELI LEHRER
As any visitor to New York City discovers, the Big Apple isn’t the best place to get a hotel room. Rates top $300 per night, the highest in the country, and supply is quite limited.
8:07 AM, Aug 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden's trip to Brazil in mid-June for the USA versus Ghana World Cup game and meetings the following day with the president and vice president of Brazil required rental of vehicles for Biden and his entourage costing over $900,000.
Plus a $1 million car rental tab.11:20 AM, Jun 11, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In late March of this year, President Obama stayed in Brussels, Belgium for about 24 hours on a weeklong trip through Europe. Lodging at The Hotel in Brussels cost $1.5 million, as we reported in April, including rooms for the president and his entourage, as well as for the advance team in the weeks preceding the visit.
12:02 PM, Apr 4, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In late March, President Obama took a week-long trip through Europe which included a stop of less than 24 hours in Brussels, Belgium for meetings with the European Union and NATO.
6:47 AM, Feb 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Documents recently released by the government show that the value of hotels and local transportation contracts for the U.S. delegation to Nelson Mandela's funeral in December were considerably higher than previous estimates. On December 19, we first reported the cost at about $11 million. However, rather than two hotels and one vehicle contractor, additional contracts have been disclosed bringing the total to five hotels and two vehicle contractors.
9:58 AM, Jul 17, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden spent only about 20 hours in Trinidad and Tobago on his recent six day trip through South America and the Caribbean, but the hotel bill for the vice president, his entourage and the advance team came in at about $245,000 for an estimated 1,134 room nights. As is typically the case with VIP travel, the contract was awarded without the usual "full and open competition" due to security and logistical concerns:
In Copenhagen, $430,285.70 for hotel and $200,629 for limousines.9:53 AM, Jun 29, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The Washington Times reports that the cost of Obama's Africa trip, estimated as high as $100 million, is overshadowing President Obama's agenda. If past VIP trips are any indication, lodging and local transportation would represent only a fraction of the $100 million, yet those costs would likely still dwarf those of the average citizen traveling abroad. In late March, Vice President Joe Biden's $321,000 limo bill and $585,000 Paris hotel bill for his trip to Europe earlier this year were revealed.
1:35 PM, May 1, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As the White House first announced in March, Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Mexico and Costa Rica later this week. The trip is billed as "an important opportunity to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America." And at yesterday’s White House press conference, the president stated that he is "very much looking forward to taking the trip down to Mexico" this week.
'Approximately 136 hotel rooms for 893 room nights.'9:46 AM, Mar 22, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden and his entourage spent a little time in London in early February during his first foreign trip of the second term of the Obama administration.
Reporter is feted at lavish hotel, writes about lavish experience. Does it get any better?2:05 PM, Jul 26, 2010 • By VICTORINO MATUS
Travel writing can be tough, despite what you might think. You're jotting down notes about the beautiful sunset, rather than just watching it. Coming up with the right words is a constant struggle. And still I wonder with great envy how Toni Bentley, a ballerina and author, landed the plum assignment of reviewing the Royal Mansour hotel in Marrakech, Morocco, for the Wall Street Journal, which, according to her description, sounds like the most opulent and extravagant hotel in the world.
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