Tucked away on the outskirts of the capital, the luxurious Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club is no stranger to exclusive guests, but this week the clientele has a completely more presidential feel.
Joe Biden landed from Air Force One at Edinburgh Airport on Monday morning after recovering from the G20 talks in Rome ahead of the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
While most of the action will take place on the other side of the M8, the leader of the White House will be based on the outskirts of the capital throughout his time at the conference.
Built in the 18th century for George Dalrymple, the spectacular mansion was later occupied by the Douglas family.
According to their website, the Baronial Hotel offers “luxury rooms full of character” along with two 18-hole golf courses – one of which is a former host of the Solheim Cup.
The hotel remains open to all guests, but those booked for a stay would have had a hard time missing out on the great security presence that arrived with more than a few changes to their standard service.
An insider told Edinburgh live how the wine cellar, which usually holds hundreds of top bottles, has been temporarily transformed into a makeshift nerve center that allows agents to monitor activity on the grounds and surrounding areas.
Those who were out for a morning round on the golf course also had another danger to keep in mind, with a number of snipers from secret services located in strategic locations around the hotel.
Guests also noted that the president’s limousine – nicknamed ‘The Beast’ – has been parked outside in recent days ready to transport the White House ‘leader from the capital along the M8 as part of a procession of up to 45 vehicles.
The specifications of the massive car sound like those of a rugged military vehicle, with a report claiming “there may not be a more armored vehicle on the planet” thanks to eight-inch-thick cladding that encloses the interior and doors that weigh as much as them on a Boeing passenger plane.
However, the various measures taken by the hotel are far from purely functional, and the managers also make sure that there were plenty of homely details to make the President’s stay enjoyable.
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Hundreds of white hydrangeas, First Lady Jill’s favorite flower, were sent in to spruce up the interior before it was announced that she was withdrawing from the trip shortly after Queen Elizabeth II was advised to skip the conference for health reasons.
The president returns to the hotel, which boasts a lavish selection of rooms and suites, on Monday night after a special reception at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery, hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
According to the official schedule for the White House, it should start around 6:45 p.m.
Biden is expected to leave the hotel again between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Tuesday morning for the second session of the 12-day conference.