President Barack Obama will break presidential tradition during his visit to New York City tonight. Instead of staying at the prestigious Waldorf Astoria, which has been the go-to housing location in NYC for presidents ever since Hoover, President Obama will be staying at the Millennium’s ONE UN New York. Why the sudden departure from the Waldorf Astoria? Reports indicate that the president feared that the hotel may be bugged by the Chinese as the hotel was recently purchased by a Chinese company.
According to Page Six, President Barack Obama will not be staying at the Waldorf Astoria. Instead, the president will be switching venues to the Millennium’s ONE UN New York instead. The Waldorf Astoria has been the temporary home of presidents visiting New York City since former president Herbert Hoover’s first visit. In fact, the hotel was so used to presidential visitors that a secret underground railroad was constructed to lead directly into the hotel’s basement.
“The hotel apparently had an underground railroad which leads from the fourth floor of the basement to Grand Central Terminal, which was used as an entrance for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”
President Obama is in New York City to attend a Broadway show and a democratic fundraising dinner. Sources say that the Millennium’s ONE UN New York will likely be President Obama’s regular hotel when he is in town since the ownership of the Waldorf Astoria has changed hands. The Waldorf is now owned by a Chinese company called Anbang Insurance Group. The change-of-hands has raised concerns that the president’s room could potentially be bugged during visits with potentially classified information falling into the hands of the Chinese.
It was noted that the White House has not responded to requests to comment on the Waldorf Astoria situation. However, it is likely the Millennium’s ONE UN is happy to house the president on his visits to the Big Apple. The hotel’s website boasts itself as the “first choice” for dignitaries and heads of state visiting the United Nations. Now it seems it can also boast itself as the president’s choice hotel.
“ONE UN New York, formerly Millennium UN Plaza Hotel has always been the first choice for dignitaries and heads of state visiting the United Nations. In addition to our luxury accommodations, guests are consistently impressed with our range and level of quality guest services and amenities offered at our NYC hotel. Aside from its stunning gaze-all-day panoramic New York skyline views, this luxury hotel near Grand Central Station also boasts having the only indoor tennis court in any New York City hotel.”
What do you think about President Obama’s change in hotel venues? Should presidents avoid staying in hotels that are owned by non-US companies for fear of bugging or surveillance concerns?
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Winn McNamee]