“They want their name off,” lamented a diplomat, who estimates he has racked up enough points to never again have to pay for a hotel stay. It will henceforth be run by the State Department as a housing complex.
On its Web site, the Sheraton Sana’a boasts of its excellent location, a five-star rating and a friendly staff. There’s no sign that it’s now off-limits to the traveling public and guarded by U.S. Marines.
“Make time for a little relaxation as you stroll through our valley of green gardens,” the Web site urges. “Dive into our stunning indoor pool or bask in the sunshine in one of our lounge chairs.”
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, said the diplomat: “It’s a dump. It screams 1959.”
The U.S. Embassy took over the hotel last year as the demonstrations leading up to the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh turned violent. Diplomats are now shuttled from the hotel to the embassy, which is nearby, and otherwise don’t get out much unless they’re on official business.
One man’s spoils
President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager,
, who’s credited with putting together the most stunning national field operation — in both size and sophistication — ever seen, has signed on with the Harry Walker Agency speakers bureau.
Messina, who had been deputy chief of staff in the Obama White House, began working on the Hill just after college, as chief of staff for Democratic Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.) and for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.). He then worked on the Obama 2008 campaign.
Messina is now on a somewhat extended post-election tour of Italy to prepare for his temporary job as head of the inaugural parade. The speaking gig, which probably will offer him somewhere around mid-five figures for a bit of chatter, is a good start for entry into private-sector work.
The fees should be enough to allow a stop at the spectacular Don Alfonso 1890 restaurant in the hills above Sorrento or at La Gazza Ladra in Modica, Sicily.
Later on, we’ll conspire
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