What is Mar-a-Lago? A look inside Trump’s Florida estate

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On Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, was raided by the FBI.

As reaction continues to come in about this event — What is Mar-a-Lago? Where is it, exactly? How big is it, and how long has he owned it?

Here is some detail and background.

In Donald J. Trump’s 2004 book, “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life,” he wrote, in part, “Mar-a-Lago was sitting there a long time before I saw it and decided to move on that magnificent site.”

Mar-a-Lago after the FBI raid on Aug. 8, 2022. FBI agents raided the home of former President Donald Trump looking for documents.
(Brooke Singman)

“I had the right vision for it,” Trump added, “and the timing was right for me — and ultimately, for the seller as well.”

Here’s more.

When did Trump buy Mar-a-Lago?

Trump bought Mar-a-Lago in 1985 for approximately $10 million, according to publicly available information.

Where is Mar-a-Lago, exactly?

It’s located in Palm Beach, Florida. Mar-a-Lago is a resort and national historic landmark.

Former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb.  8, 2021.

Former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb. 8, 2021.

When was it first built?

It was built between 1924 and 1927.

What is the history of Mar-a-Lago?

“The Mar-a-Lago Estate was officially opened in January 1927 after four years of construction,” notes the website of Mar-a-Lago itself.

“Marjorie Merriweather Post (then Mrs. EF Hutton) searched for several years to find a proper location between the ocean and Lake Worth. The quest for a new home had begun when it became apparent that she was to be the dowager queen of Palm Beach ,” the site also explains.

“The site on which Mar-a-Lago sits is now considered the most valuable parcel of land anywhere in Florida.”

“At the time, there was little else here but undergrowth and swampy grounds, seemingly of not much use for a building site,” the website notes.

“With her realtor, Post crawled through underbrush of jungle-type growth in search of the perfect piece of property; the consequence of that search is the main house ‘Mar-a-Lago,’ which is Spanish for ‘Sea to Lake.’ “

Is Mar-a-Lago hurricane resistant?

The structure is indeed “hurricane resistant,” the website of the mansion states.

An interior view of the living room at Mar-a-Lago owned by Donald Trump, circa 2000 in Palm Beach, Florida.

An interior view of the living room at Mar-a-Lago owned by Donald Trump, circa 2000 in Palm Beach, Florida.
(Marc Serota/Getty images)

How many acres does Mar-a-Lago have as part of its property?

“The whole of the property comprises approximately 20 acres of perfectly landscaped lawns,” according to the Mar-a-Lago website.

How valuable is Mar-a-Lago?

“The site on which Mar-a-Lago sits is now considered the most valuable parcel of land anywhere in Florida,” says the property’s website.

When did Mar-a-Lago become a National Historic Site?

“In January 1969, the Department of the Interior designated the estate as ‘the Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site,'” says the website.

The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 by an Act of Congress.

Later, after Post passed away, “the estate was willed to the federal government for use as a diplomatic/presidential retreat. Ten years later, due to maintenance and security concerns, the government conferred title to the Post Foundation.”

Then-President Donald Trump listens during a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Dec.  24, 2019.

Then-President Donald Trump listens during a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Dec. 24, 2019.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

What are more details about Trump’s purchase of it?

“In 1985, Donald J. Trump purchased the property from the Post Foundation and used the estate as a private residence until 1995.”

Then, in April 1995, “Mar-a-Lago became established as the Mar-a-Lago Club. It is the last remaining Palm Beach estate still containing its buildings and land in almost identical form as its original conception,” the website makes clear.

“With the granting of easements to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Mar-a-Lago Club carries with it a built-in constituency that ensures its stewardship into the future.”

What else is there to know about Mar-a-Lago?

Trump keeps a section of the estate private for his family’s personal use.

It is the second largest mansion in the state of Florida.

Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach is seen from a window of the plane as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (not pictured) travel to Palm Beach International Airport, Florida, on Jan.  20, 2021.

Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach is seen from a window of the plane as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (not pictured) travel to Palm Beach International Airport, Florida, on Jan. 20, 2021.
(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

What is Mar-a-Lago’s value?

In 2018, Forbes valued the Mar-a-Lago estate at $160 million — or 16 times what Trump paid for it.

When did Mar-a-Lago become the main residence of Donald and Melania Trump?

In September 2019, Mar-a-Lago became the primary residence for Donald and Melania Trump.

They had previously maintained their primary residence in New York City.

What does membership at Mar-a-Lago include?

Membership includes “the use of the formal and casual dining areas, the Mar-a-Lago Spa, the pool, the Beach Club, breathtaking guest rooms and exclusive suites, a state-of-the-art-fitness center, award-winning tennis courts, beautiful croquet lawns and an entertainment series, which hosts internationally world-renowned talent,” according to the property’s website.

What more about Mar-a-Lago can be shared?

The Mar-a-Lago Club sits on 20 acres of “manicured lawns, vibrant gardens and sweeping sea-to-lake vistas,” says the website.

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“Mar-a-Lago is the only private club world-wide to attain the prestigious 6-Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, and is considered to be one of the world’s most sought after private clubs.”

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