Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"A Room With a View" (with video)

Peter Baker (The Caucus-New York Times):
At least he’ll have a good view of the White House. When President-elect Barack Obama moves to town this weekend, he will be staying in the famed Hay Adams Hotel just across Lafayette Park from his new digs.
Mr. Obama is bringing his family to Washington a couple weeks before his inauguration so his daughters can start school on Monday, but since Blair House, the government’s official guest residence, is booked until Jan. 15, the Obamas will be staying for a while in the presidential suite at the Hay Adams.

The transition office confirmed Tuesday that the Obamas were moving this weekend but declined to identify the hotel. But the Secret Service has begun notifying neighbors of the hotel that it will be tightening security around the building through the 15th because of its prominent new guests.

“We have just been advised that the Hay Adams hotel will be hosting a very high level delegation from Saturday, January 3 through Thursday, January 15,” Shannon DiBari, the senior vice president for administration at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, located next to the hotel, told staff members in an e-mail Wednesday morning. “As a result, there will be a significant Secret Service presence in the area surrounding the hotel and our building.”

Other sources familiar with the planning confirmed that the “very high level delegation” referred to Mr. Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha. Mr. Obama’s transition office declined to comment Wednesday. Hans Bruland, the general manager of the Hay Adams, said he could not discuss guests because of confidentiality policies.

The Hay Adams is one of Washington’s premier addresses. It was built on the site where John Hay, who was Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary and Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary of state, and Henry Adams, who was a prominent author and the grandson and great grandson of presidents, once lived. The Italian Renaissance-style hotel opened in 1928 and is a favorite destination for visiting dignitaries, Saudi princes and famous celebrities.

The presidential suite in the penthouse normally goes for $2,500 to $5,000 a night and has a virtually unparalleled view of the White House and Lafayette Park from the master bedroom. With one-and-a-half bathrooms and a gas-lit corner fireplace in the living room, it is large enough for a family of four to stay for 12 days until the Obamas move into Blair House on Pennsylvania Avenue just across from the White House.
Howie P.S.: Imagine "The West Wing" tv show with President Barack Obama, video (00:46). H/t to Mr. Smith.

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