• "Costs in line with high-level travel," US State Department
• Hotel Intercontinental had a "one-night free" discount
US Vice President Joe Biden's one night stay at a five-star hotel in Paris cost $585,000. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Source: AP
IMAGINE forking out $585,000 for one night at a hotel, albeit a luxurious city centre five-star property.
Yet that is the contract between US Vice President Joe Biden and his staff and the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand.
The costs "are in line with high-level travel across multiple administrations," an unnamed State Department official told The Weekly Standard.
"The contract costs cover the entire range of support, including accommodations for military, communications, secret service staff, and other support professionals. Security experts are also required to travel in advance of the president or vice president. Safety and security are not negotiable."
Unlike other government contracts, hotel stays for top US government officials are not subject to a competitive bidding process. "Security concerns" are the primary reason for this, according to documents cited by The Weekly Standard.Biden did not use Hotel Intercontinental's discount offer of "find a lower price elsewhere and your first night is free."
Biden's one-night stay was during a diplomatic trip to Europe in early February.
A second contract, unearthed by The Weekly Standard, shows Biden's stay at Hyatt Regency London the Churchill was a comparative bargain, costing taxpayers just $459,338.65, more than $100,000 cheaper than his night in Paris.
While news of the trip's cost garnered predictable outrage among conservatives, others had fun with it. Joked one Twitter user, "VP Joe Biden has been officially banned from using Priceline's 'Name Your Own Price' feature", Huffington Post reported.