Friday, July 17, 2015

Fears of spying are reportedly to blame.
For decades, whenever an American president came to New York,
he would stay at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. That is about to change with
President Barack Obama. After President Obama appears at a New York City
fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at a private residence
tonight, according to his White House schedule, he'll take in the
musical "Hamilton" and then stay over at the Millennium ONE UN,
according to The New York Post. What he won't do is sleep in the
Presidential Suite of the Waldorf Astoria New York, even though it has been
the go-to choice for American presidents since Herbert Hoover. According
to an Associated Press report, that has everything to do with
the hotel's new Chinese ownership. Last fall, Hilton Worldwide
Holdings sold the hotel in October 2014 to Beijing-based Anbang Insurance
Group for $1. 95 billion. China's government and companies
have invested heavily in prime New York City real estate. According
to Hilton's press release, Hilton would continue to operate the property
under a 100-year lease and the hotel would "undergo a major renovation to
restore the property to its historic grandeur. " The planned renovation
raised eyebrows at the White House, according to AP, over fear of potential
Chinese electronic eavesdropping. The administration has suspected the
involvement of Chinese hackers in a massive data breach and, at the time of
the sale, officials said that the change in ownership could have implications
for the relationship between the White House and the hotel. Chinese hacking
has even become a element of the presidential race, with Hillary Clinton
stating that China tries to "hack into everything that doesn't
move in America. " The United States itself has been known to spy on
other countries. The National Security Agency monitored calls of 35
world leaders, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The White
House did not answer questions from Fortune before publication. Hilton,
which continues to operate the Waldorf, issued a statement: "It is always a
privilege to host representatives of the U. S. Department of State and we
hope to have the occasion to welcome them back to the Waldorf Astoria New York
when the opportunity presents itself. " Current prices for the
Presidential Suite running between $1999 and $10,000 and possibly more a
night, depending on how many bedrooms are connected to the Waldorf's
Presidential Suite, according to information provided by Hilton to Fortune.
Even though the White House pays considerably less, a stay typically
involves renting out three floors of the building. Here's hoping that the
administration at least managed to land a better deal. Or a more secure one.
This article originally appeared on fortune. com. More good reads from
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Fountain Display This Month For decades, whenever an American president
came to New York, he would stay at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. That is about
to change with President Barack Obama.

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