While Mainland Under Winter Freeze, Obama Extends Island Vacation

Hawaii Reporter Details Obama’s Million Dollar Hawaiian Vacation | Costs to Taxpayers Detailed

By Malia Zimmerman | Hawaii Reporter

Nestled in three luxury beachfront homes just outside a local favorite surf spot on the pristine turquoise waters of Kailua Bay, President Barack Obama and his family and friends are enjoying a seemingly quiet Christmas vacation.

They could have chosen a less expensive and more secure place to stay such as a beachfront home on the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station – just a two-minute drive away from the Kailuana Place property where they are now. The president visits the military base daily to workout, bowl with his kids or enjoy the more private beach there. He also could have stayed at a home 15 minutes away on the beach fronting Bellows Air Force Base as President Bill Clinton did

Instead, Obama and his friends annually pool their money to pay for the rental of three luxury beachfront homes. The so-called “Winter White House” – or Kailua home that the president rents two weeks a year – can cost an estimated $3,500 a day or $75,000 a month, according to the web site Gadling.com. The site describes the home where the President sleeps: “The 7,000 square foot home features 5 bedrooms, 5 ½ bathrooms, a media room with surround sound, a kitchen suited for a master chef, a dining room and great room, a secluded lagoon-style pool with tropical waterfalls and a lavish island spa. The ocean lanai and garden lanai showcase ornate landscaping and stunning views of Kailua Bay and Mount Olomana.”

Out of the rental fee for the three homes, owners pay for housekeeping, concierge service and other incidentals designated to them by the president’s coordinators.

Before the president and family arrive, homeowners accommodate weeks of inspections by Secret Service agents who can appear at any time. The Secret Service performs ground, sea and air surveillance of the homes and surrounding properties and background checks on the homeowners’ employees, contractors and neighbors. The telephone company spends several days adding secure phone lines underground. The Secret Service disables the homeowners’ security systems, sets up their own and erects some sort of force field that detects movement in the area.

But the preparation for the President’s arrival does not end there. Local real estate agents secure additional Kailua beachfront homes in strategic places for Secret Service, Navy Seals and U.S. Coast Guard personnel. Secret Service agents who guard the president and the president’s family have their own room at a cost of no more than $250 a day per person. Last year, the Secret Service and Navy Seals rented a total of 6 beachfront homes for the duration of the President’s stay for anywhere between $1,000 and $1,250 per day, local realtors say.

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