Mar-a-Lago Hosts Foreign Leaders MeetingsTop Stories

April 06, 2017 13:37
Mar-a-Lago Hosts Foreign Leaders Meetings

Mar-a-Lago, the sumptuous setting for President Donald Trump's summit with China's Xi Jinping this week, and is not the first presidential hideaway to host the foreign leaders.

Built during the roaring 1920’s by the cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, the palm-fringed Mediterranean style compound sits on 17 acres facing Atlantic in the super-rich Palm Beach, Florida.

Even by the standards of Jazz Age, it is over the top, that may be the point which attracted Trump when he bought it for a song in the year 1985.

The U. S. entire stock of gold leaf was used to gild the cavernous living room. The main house covered 55,700 square feet when the estate first opened in the year 1927.

Mar-a-Lago has 118 rooms, including 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms, that were modeled on European palaces.

When Post died in the year 1973, she left the estate to the government for use as the presidential retreat.

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But the government balked at the annual $1 million maintenance cost and also the location is under the flight paths of planes landing at the Palm Beach International Airport.

The estate was mothballed for a decade before its return to the Post Foundation, which put the estate up for sale.

Eventhough Trump was interested, his very first offer of $28 million was turned down. But the real estate market soon tanked and Trump ultimately snapped up Mar-a-Lago and also its furnishings for a mere $10 million.

Restoring the structure of Mar-a-Lago, Trump eventually turned the estate into a private club. He also added a new beach club, tennis courts and also a ballroom on which he spent a reported $7 million for even more gold leaf before it opened in the year 1995.

November's election has elevated Mar-a-Lago to a more prominent role than even Post probably could have envisioned.

Trump has spent many weekends at the estate during his first two months of highly unorthodox presidency, courting controversy for conducting the important affairs of state there.

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Mar-a-Lago in the February, his stay was marred by news that North Korea had test-fired a missile which landed in the Sea of Japan.

Abe and Trump got word of it while in the public dining room, turning a space into an "outdoor" situation room as paying guests looked on.

The photos posted on social media by one of the diners, showing Trump and Abe huddling with the aides and taking calls, ignited the storm of criticism.

Xi will surely be hoping for the quieter reception during his two days of talks with Trump on Thursday and Friday.

Mrudula Duddempudi.

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