Thanks to home-listing site Airbnb, travelers could stay in the same building as the president of the United States and his family, according to the New York Times.
The discreet listing advertised a full apartment available in the “heart of Midtown Manhattan” without specifically naming the famous building. The user dropped plenty of hints in the description, though, like boasting that it’s “the most secure and unique building,” and “it is a specific building, so please — political opinions cannot be shown.” (Plus, there were plenty of photos of the building's well-known exterior.)
“It was surreal to be honest,” Mike Lamb, a software engineer who stayed there in December, told the Times. “Certainly an interesting experience.”
Lamb, who got a peek at Vice President Mike Pence arriving at the Tower during his trip, said the loud chants of protestors are audible inside the building too.
“You can hear them shouting from high up in the building,” Lamb said. “I remember sitting in bed thinking, ‘I can hear them, I wonder if he can hear them.’”
Another user posted on the site, “The view is amazing! … The only inconvenient (if you take it as so) is that when you arrive, you have to go through a check by the Secret Service, kinda like in the airport." "But once you go through it the first time," they added, "the Secret Service is something you won’t notice anymore.”
Airbnb took down the listing when approached by the Times, the outlet reports. But the listing had been up for months with more than 500 people viewing the listing, which was available for “Instant Book” (a feature that allows users to reserve the apartment without even messaging the host first).
It’s illegal in New York to advertise and rent most apartments for fewer than 30 days when the host isn’t present — and the Times notes that, when corresponding with potential guests, the Airbnb host asked they describe themselves as visiting friends to building security, rather than paying guests. The Times also reports that it’s unclear whether or not the Secret Service knew about the listing.
The company, which said this appears to be the first time users could stay in the same building as a head of state, told the Times: “This is obviously a unique situation, so we’ve removed this listing from our platform.”