Well, the VP visited Europe recently. It was a 5 night trip. He spent one night in London, and one night in Paris.
He stayed at very nice hotels – the Hyatt Regency in London, and the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand in Paris. I won’t begrudge him that; after all, he is the VP of the United States. And he did have to send an advance party, and bring security, staff, etc . . . .
But perhaps whoever booked his rooms needs to work on their negotiating skills.
Hotel cost for the VP’s London stay: $459,388.65. The sole-source contract was awarded non-competitively, and was for 136 rooms – and a total of 893 room-nights. Average cost per room was somewhat over $510 per night.
And the hotel cost for the VP’s stay in Paris? A cool $585,000.50. Not as many details are available here, so it’s unclear precisely what the nightly cost per room really was. But if the number of room-nights is the same, that works out to around $650 per night.
The above contracts appear to be for lodging only – no staff salaries, fuel, etc . . . .
Yeah, you’re reading that correctly. That’s apparently over $1,044,000 for lodging alone to support the VP staying one night in London and one night in Paris.
In case anyone’s wondering: the normal maximum authorized overseas lodging rate for US government travelers in London is $301 per night. For Paris, $379 the normal maximum authorized is per night. Exceptions exceeding this amount require special authorization.
Obviously, this is a case where an exception was authorized. And yeah, the VP doesn’t just walk in and get a room for the night; security considerations nix that.
But it seems to me that you should be able to negotiate a nightly rate at least somewhere close to the maximum authorized for Federal travelers when booking a block of 130+ rooms including the POTUS or VP – like maybe within $50 or $100 per night, anyway. Here, in each case it looks like the rate negotiated was at least $200 per night per room over that.
And 136 rooms? Really?
But hey: it’s the for the VP of the United States, so it’s cool. And it’s only money, right?
Yeah, that last bit is kinda my point. It’s the US taxpayer’s money. Over $1 million for lodging alone so the VP can spend two nights overseas just seems a bit much.
PS: it looks like the VP got around in style while he was in Paris, too. His limo bill for the stay appears to have been $321,665.
He’s got nothing on his boss, though. According to the same article, when the POTUS visited Cannes in November 2011 for the Cannes Film Festival the limo bill there was estimated to cost $731,938 – with a “not to exceed” limit of $1,400,000.
That visit to Cannes by the POTUS lasted approximately 36 hours.