Trump and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach: How big is it? Is it open to the public and security breaches?

What's it like at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's private club? Here are things to know about the club dubbed the Southern White House during his presidency.

August 2022:Former President Trump says FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach

After the raid, Trump loyalists descend on Mar-a-Lago as news breaks of FBI search

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History of Mar-a-Lago

Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post was Mrs. Edward F. Hutton when she commissioned Marion Sims Wyeth to build her a 58-bedroom Spanish-Moorish-Portuguese-Venetian palace on 17 acres of jungle between the ocean and the Intracoastal. By the time it was finished in 1927, Joseph Urban, a Viennese architect and theater designer, had provided much of the ornamentation.

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Photos:Celebrities at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's private beach club, over the years

How long did it take to build Mar-a-Lago?

Six hundred workers labored for more than three years to build Mar-a-Lago, using boatloads of Italian stone and about 36,000 antique Spanish and Portuguese tiles, as well as old marble floors and roof tiles from Cuba. The estate’s 75-foot tower is a South Florida landmark — and a navigational aid to boaters.

When she died in 1973, Post gave Mar-a-Lago to the U.S. government for a presidential retreat, but the government balked at its million-dollar-a-year maintenance cost and its location under the Palm Beach International Airport’s flight path.

There's no sidewalk. How can people "see" Mar-a-Lago?

The main entrance is on South Ocean Boulevard. To see Mar-a-Lago, you have to do a drive-by. People can park and walk by, though you'll be in the roadway. It's not uncommon for people to pull over their cars to catch a view. It is, however, very dangerous because there is no sidewalk, and there's no shoulder on the side of the road.

Is Mar-a-Lago open to the public?

It's a private club so generally Mar-a-Lago is not open to the public. Mar-a-Lago closes on Mother's Day after the traditional final brunch of the social season and reopens on Halloween.

How big is Mar-a-Lago?

Mar-a-Lago is 17 acres. It sounds like a lot for an estate, but there's a lot going on there. The private club has 500 members. Amenities include tennis, the Beach Club, croquet court and a spa.

We don't know the exact size of the living quarters of Mar-a-Lago — but it is speculated to be somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet.  

What does 'Mar-a-Lago' mean?

Mar-a-Lago, which means “Sea to Lake” in Spanish, sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

When did Trump buy Mar-a-Lago?

In 1985, Donald Trump paid $10 million for the estate, which featured 33 bathrooms, three bomb shelters and a nine-hole golf course. Ten years later, he converted it to a private club with a spa, tennis and croquet courts, a new ballroom and beach club.

Pics:Ivana Trump, the first Mrs. Trump, at Mar-a-Lago and in Palm Beach over the years

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How much is Mar-a-Lago worth?

In 2018, Forbes estimated the value of the Mar-a-Lago estate at about $160 million.

What was Mar-a-Lago like when Trump was president?

When Trump was president, he would host events and would drop in to events and galas unexpectedly. He was often seen on the dining patio. Many of the people there were among his biggest supporters.

Where is Mar-a-Lago located?

The luxury estate, which spans 17 acres of prime waterfront real estate, is located in Palm Beach. When Trump was president, his motorcade usually took Southern Boulevard for his trips between the Palm Beach International Airport and Mar-a-Lago. 

After FBI search, supporters with signs, loud music cruise past Mar-A-Lago

What are some interesting Mar-a-Lago facts?

These quick hits were from the Palm Beach Post archives. Subscribe to the Palm Beach Post to read more fascinating stories about Mar-a-Lago, Trump and other Palm Beach coverage.

• In 1928, a deadly hurricane came ashore that year near West Palm Beach. Mar-a-Lago was left relatively unscathed. 

• The owner’s bedroom is still decorated as it was then in a Louis XV style.

• Several rooms have themes and names such as the Adam and American room.

• The fireplace in the nursery has a Sleeping Beauty theme.

Security at Mar-a-Lago

There were a number of security breaches during Trump's presidency, with some occurring when he was not in town.

• In January 2020, an opera singer made it through the security checkpoints. There was a high-speed chase through all of the barricades all the way down past Mar-a-Lago. Her car was shot at multiple times. She survived, but her car was destroyed. The woman, who has a history of mental illness, entered an insanity defense.

Woman who drove past Secret Service barricades at Mar-a-Lago found not guilty by reason of insanity

• Two Chinese women tried to enter Mar-a-Lago. One woman was carrying four cell

phones and a USB infected with malware.

• A University of Wisconsin student was intercepted when he was in the tunnel, which

connects the club to the beach.

• Other people have hidden in the bushes — and been caught.

Contributing: Christine Stapleton, Antonio Fins, Palm Beach Post