Secrets of Joe Biden's new home the White House from chocolate shop & 'doomsday' bunker to naked pool parties

WITH 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and two swimming pools, Joe Biden's new presidential home in Washington DC is nothing short of spectacular. 

But the White House, which Biden will move into today, also houses a host of secret features – from a 40-seater theatre and a bowling alley to a 'doomsday mega-bunker'.

⚠️ Read our Inauguration Day 2021 live blog for the very latest news and updates on Joe Biden's swearing-in


The sprawling building is made up of three major parts, including the West Wing – home to the US President's Oval Office – and the East Wing, where the First Lady is based.

The third part is the Executive Residence, where the Biden family will live, royals and other visitors are accommodated, and special events such as state dinners are held.

Here, as President-elect Biden, 78, prepares to take the oath of office and Donald Trump spends his final few hours as US leader, we reveal the astonishing features hidden inside the White House…


A 'chocolate shop'… and a bowling alley

Location: Residence, ground floor

If Biden wants to get some flowers for Jill, 69, or go bowling with pals, he doesn't even have to leave the White House – because its basement is essentially a shopping centre.

But unlike most centres, this one offers goods just for the White House.

The Residence boasts a flower shop and a carpenter's shop on its ground floor, alongside a so-called "chocolate shop", where chefs whip up enormous, tasty centrepieces for official functions.

It's unlikely Biden can buy a Mars bar or a Kit Kat from this room, but if he's looking for a hand-crafted, 40-pound Easter egg as large as his body, he might be in luck…



The ground floor also houses a one-lane bowling alley with plush sofas and customised bowling balls printed with an image of the White House.

The first White House bowling alley was built for 33rd president Harry Truman in the West Wing in 1947, but this was later revamped by the Nixons.

Then-president Richard Nixon and his wife Pat, both keen bowlers, moved the alley to below the entrance to the North Portico in 1969, according to the White House Museum.

In January 2017, the Trump family were filmed enthusiastically testing out the bowling lane as 500,000 people protested against the new POTUS on their doorstep.





Trump's 'tanning bed'

Location: Residence, third floor

The tan of soon-to-be former US president Trump has been the subject of much speculation since his election.

The White House administration have insisted it's the result of "good genes".

But according to Trump's former aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, it actually comes from a sunbed the 74-year-old had added to the Residence's third floor.

Newman claims in her book 'Unhinged' that Trump fought with then-Chief Usher Angella Reid over the bed's installation after requesting one be put in so he could top up his tan.

However, other aides say they haven't seen a tanning bed in the White House.


The White House in numbers

132 rooms including the Oval Office, the President's private living quarters and the Queens' Bedroom

35 bathrooms

412 doors

147 windows

140 guests can be served dinner by the White House kitchen

1,000 guests can be served hors d’oeuvres by the kitchen

28 fireplaces

Eight staircases

Three lifts

570 gallons of paint are required to cover the White House's exterior

It's not clear where Trump's 'tanning bed' allegedly resides, with the third floor home to a series of bedrooms, offices, store rooms, a sitting room and a linen room.

British TV presenter Jon Sopel refers to Newman's sunbed claim in his 2019 book, A Year At The Circus: Inside Trump's White House.

He writes that it would explain the President's "frequently tanned appearance, but with white eyes where he would have been wearing protective glasses".

First Family's own gym

Location: Residence, third floor

If the First Family want to stay in shape, they don't even have to leave their own home – because the Clintons transformed a sitting room on the Residence's third floor into a home gym.

The so-called "workout room" allows Biden and his relatives to exercise at any time of the day.

It was well-utilised by former first lady Michelle Obama, who was filmed working out inside the gym as part of her "Let's Move" campaign to tackle childhood obesity.


A room for music lovers

Location: Residence, third floor

Any member of the First Family who decides to hit the gym might be disturbed – or entertained – by the music blaring out next door.

The room sits right next to the music room – which Hillary Clinton reportedly created as a birthday present for husband Bill in the 1990s so he could play the saxophone.

This wasn't the first music room, however – the Green Room, which lies on the Residence's first  floor, was the White House music room for years in the 19th century.

Naked pool parties

Location: Next to the West Wing

Believe it or not, the White House used to play host to naked pool parties.

Former president John F Kennedy reportedly regularly went skinny-dipping with assistants Priscilla Wear and Jill Cowen, nicknamed Fiddle and Faddle, in the early 1960s.

The trio would allegedly strip off before taking a dip together in the indoor pool, built in the west gallery between the Residence and the West Wing.

And the two assistants weren't the only women to get naked in the water.

In Spring 1963, a 27-year-old German prostitute was among those attending nude parties at The White House pool, the New York Post reported.

However, after Nixon became president, the decision was made to build a press briefing room above the pool amid rising demand for TV broadcasts.

Today, the pool lies, covered, under the floor of the room.



A bedroom for the Queen

Location: Residence, second floor

When the Queen visits Washington DC, there's really only one place for her to stay – the suitably-named Queens' Bedroom, on the Residence's second floor.

The grand-sounding room, which boasts a four-poster bed, is part of a suite of rooms, also including the Queens' Sitting Room and the Queens' Bath.

Queen Elizabeth first stayed in the expansive suite when she visited President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957 – but has resided there a number of times since then.

But it's not solely for Her Majesty.

Sopel, the BBC's North America Editor, writes in A Year At The Circus that "any number of European royals have spent the night" in the room.

These reportedly include monarchs from the Netherlands, Greece and Norway.




Most Googled White House questions

AS Joe Biden prepares to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, researchers have uncovered the most Googled questions about his new home. 

The questions include "where is the White House?" and "how many rooms are in the White House?", according to the research by OnlineMortgageAdvisor.co.uk.

Here, we answer some of the most searched-for questions:

1. Where is the White House?

Average annual online searches: 134,400

Answer: Washington DC (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW).

2. When was the White House built?

Average annual online searches: 103,200

Answer: Construction began on October 13, 1792.

3. How many rooms are in the White House?

Average annual online searches: 85,200

Answer: 132 rooms (as well as 412 doors, 147 windows and 28 fireplaces).

4. Who designed the White House?

Average annual online searches: 70,800

Answer: Irish-born architect James Hoban.

5. Who was the first President to live in the White House?

Average annual online searches: 32,400

Answer: President John Adams. He moved into the residence in 1800, before it was finished.

The research was carried out using online analytics tool Ahrefs.

The suite sits near the Lincoln Bedroom – which is next door to the Treaty Room (the President's study) and the old workplace of former president Abraham Lincoln.

The room's décor is described as having "a mid-19th century, chintzy"  feel to it, with heavy furniture and a nearly eight-foot-by-six-foot bed with a giant rosewood headboard.

It can be offered as a "reward" to Biden's friends and political supporters.

"They will be entertained in the Yellow Oval Room, a grand drawing room that has been used down the ages for the visits of presidents and kings and queens," Sopel writes in his book.


Home cinema

Location: East Wing, first floor

The East Wing is known for serving as the First Lady's office space – but it's also home to a family theatre, where Biden and his loved ones can relax in front of the big screen.

Unlike members of the public, the First Family can watch whatever movie they want, whenever they want – including Hollywood hits that have yet to be released.

The theatre boasts around 40 well-upholstered seats, The Guardian reports.

However, Biden himself can lie back on a huge armchair – one of four armchairs, all kitted out with foot stools, that sit at the front of the theatre for the President and their family.

Talk about a First-class view…



A gingerbread White House



A game room and a £40k golf simulator

Location: Residence, third floor

After a stressful day in the Oval Office or Situation Room, Biden can wander over from the West Wing to the Residence and wind down with a game of pool.

The third floor boasts a game room with a huge pool table.

But this apparently wasn't enough to satisfy President Trump's love for games – he has also had a £40,000 golf simulator installed at the White House.

The virtual simulator, which allows users to play 18 holes without going outside, is said to be "room-sized" and located somewhere within Trump's personal quarters.

The golfing fan had the system set up in 2019 to replace an "older, less sophisticated" simulator installed by then-president Barack Obama, sources told the Washington Post.

Trump reportedly paid for it out of his own pocket.

But he's not the only Commander in Chief to have indulged in luxury items to enjoy in their leisure time – during his time in office, Clinton had a seven-seater hot tub installed.


Medical room where doctors have lied about presidents' health

Location: Residence, ground floor

For one person in the White House, the main job at hand will be to keep Biden healthy – and alive.

The Physician to the President – in recent years, Commander Sean Conley  – is constantly in the US leader's shadow, whether he is at home, overseas or on a campaign trial.

The doctor has a "mini urgent care centre" and examination rooms inside the White House, all based on the Residence's ground floor, just a short walk away from the Oval Office (there is another examination room at the nearby Eisenhower Executive Office Building).



Often selected personally by the President, White House physicians typically have a military background and report to their service superiors, not the Chief of Staff.

Over the years, they have been known to keep the extent of presidents' poor health a secret.

When then-president Thomas Woodrow Wilson fell ill in late 1919, his doctor released a statement saying he was suffering from "exhaustion", Sopel recalls in his book.

But in reality, Wilson had been paralysed from a serious stroke.

Similarly, Franklin D. Roosevelt's doctor assured the public that the president was in fine health after he was re-elected in 1944 – when he actually had congestive heart failure.

Roosevelt's condition deteriorated and he died the following April.

The 63-year-old had suffered from poor health during previous terms in office, too, when he would allegedly wear leg callipers (braces) to make it look like he could walk.

First Lady's own boudoir

Location: Residence, second floor

Having a private dressing room is a dream for many.

And Jill will have just that – thanks to the White House boudoir.

The dressing room, on the Residence's second floor, has been enjoyed by many First Ladies over the years, including Melania Trump, Nancy Reagan, Betty Ford, Tricia Nixon and Jackie Kennedy.

It sits next to the US President and First Lady's Master Bedroom.



We previously reported how there's a special Secret Service code if the Bidens want to get intimate in their private quarters without a White House staffer walking in on them.

Agents reportedly refer to serving Presidents as “Renegade”, and First Ladies as “Renaissance”.

The code for having sex is "discussing the Bosnian problem"- as in "Renegade can’t be disturbed right now. He and Renaissance are discussing the Bosnian problem".

The First Family can decorate their living quarters however they like – including repainting the walls, choosing their own furniture and putting up decorations.

They are provided with a $100,000 (£81,000) redecorating budget by Congress when they move into the residence, according to the New York Daily News.

Trump and Melania are reported to have splashed out a much higher $1.75 million (£1.4 million) on furniture for the White House and linked offices.

'Doomsday mega-bunker'

Location: Under the North Lawn

Many of us have heard of the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, a secure bunker that lies beneath the East Wing and can be used by Biden in the case of emergencies.

But reports claim a new, secret 'mega-bunker' has been built under the North Lawn.

The underground shelter was constructed during Obama's administration, according to former Washington Post reporter and author of The Trump White House, Ronald Kessler.

It is said to be big enough to fit the President, the First Family and the entire White House staff inside it – for as long as they need to be – in the event of a 'doomsday' scenario.

“Secret tunnels allow the President to exit lots of places in the event of an emergency such as the Treasury building,” said Kessler.


Inside the White House, there are other features to ensure Biden's safety – with the Oval Office reportedly packed with James Bond-like gadgets and sensors.

“Dotted around the Oval Office are various trinkets and ornaments bearing the presidential seal,” the American author added.

“They are in places like the coffee table and on the President’s desk. What few know is that if the President turns one over it activates an alarm which will bring the Secret Service running.”


Of course, all of the secret features and rooms in the White House come at a price, whether they're for security, entertainment or health purposes.

At the end of each month, the President receives a bill for their and their family’s personal food and expenses including dry cleaning, toothpaste, and toiletries.

But with an estimated net worth of $9million (£6.6million) and a new presidential salary of $400,000 (£292,000) per year, it's likely Biden won't bat an eyelid.

  • A Year At The Circus: Inside Trump's White House by Jon Sopel is published by BBC Books (£20)

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