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Xi-Trump meeting: A trip to Mar-a-Lago

Aerial view of Mar-a-Lago Photo: Getty Images

US President Donald Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

It will be the first summit between the two leaders, and Xi will be the second head of state to be hosted by Trump after he assumed office in January.

The Mar-a-Lago resort, described by the media as "luxurious" and "covert", stands out among many other resorts and clubs in Palm Peach, Florida. There is a light pink-painted, red brown-roofed villa in the resort, where Trump and his family members live during the weekends. From the top of the villa, visitors can have a panoramic view of Palm Peach and the beautiful coastline.

Trump bought the Mar-a-Lago estate from the Post heirs for $9 million in 1985 when he was in his late 30s. The wedding reception of Trump and his third wife Melania Trump was held there.

In 1995, Trump started to rebuild part of the Mar-a-Lago resort into a private club named the Mar-a-Lago Club, which is opened to the public, mostly rich people.

According to a local taxi driver, Trump and his family members always fly to the Mar-a-Lago resort during weekends by Air Force One, which is parked in the West Palm Beach Airport that is four miles away from the resort.

Tightened security

The taxi driver said that the security of the Mar-a-Lago resort was obviously tightened after Trump was nominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party last summer. When Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February at his Mar-a-Lago home, policemen could be seen everywhere and people were prohibited to access areas close to the resort, the taxi driver recalled.

The notable members of the Mar-a-Lago Club are allowed to enter the resort even when Trump and his family members are in the resort, a local policeman said.

Symbol of power and wealth

The members of the Mar-a-Lago Club are mostly powerful and wealthy, local people said. The membership fee has increased to $200,000 from $100,000 since Trump was elected as the president.

A receptionist at a local Hilton hotel situated opposite the Mar-a-Lago resort said that the Mar-a-Lago Club offers the best services for spa, accommodation, wedding and charity party, compared with other clubs in Palm Beach.

Another staff at the tourism division of the Hilton hotel said that the Mar-a-Lago Club does not provide services to ordinary consumers and the only way to get into the resort is to become the club's members. In addition, one should pass a strict background check before he or she could become a member, the staff noted.

A worker in Palm Beach revealed that many of her customers who are bankers and tycoons are the members of the Mar-a-Lago Club.

(The article is translated and edited by Ding Yi.)

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