Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Andrew Learmonth
29 October 2021
Trump hotel cashing in on COP26 climate summit

Donald Trump at the opening of Trump Turnberry in 2016

Trump hotel cashing in on COP26 climate summit

Five years ago Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise to pull the US out of the historic deal agreed at the COP21 climate summit in Paris, saying it was “very unfair at the highest level".

But now, as Glasgow prepares to hold a summit which has been described as the last best hope to tackle climate change, the former president's family business is preparing to cash in, with the Trump Organisation's Ayrshire hotel raising its prices by more than 160 per cent. 

Holyrood’s research found that a deluxe king room booked on the Trump Turnberry website during the first week of the conference, between November 4 and 6, will cost you £449 per night.

However, the same room at the same “best unrestricted bed and breakfast rate” will cost just £274 between November 18 and 20. 

Exclusive use of an 8-bedroom villa will cost £1,568 per night between November 18 and 20 but £2,793 per night between November 4 and 6, an increase of 178 per cent.

Meanwhile, a deluxe twin room with an ocean view was going for £529 a night for bed and breakfast between November 4 and 6 and then £354 a night following the summit. While a deluxe queen room will set you back £254 towards the end of the month, £429 during COP26.

Although there were no rooms available on the website November 1 and 2, when the world leaders, including Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, will be at the summit, Holyrood found prices for the room as high as £500 on travel site

With thousands of the 30,000 delegates expected to travel to Glasgow for COP26 unable to secure accommodation in the city, many have been forced to take lodgings in the surrounding area. 

The ex-president’s controversial, loss-making five star hotel is 50 miles away from the summit’s Blue Zone, just slightly more than an hour by car. There are regular trains and buses between nearby Ayr and the city.

Earlier this week, MPs on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee were told there simply weren’t enough rooms available for delegates. Dr Kat Jones, of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, told the politicians that as many as 3,000 people did not yet have a place to stay.

“This is definitely an accommodation crisis,” she said.

And that issue of supply and demand has seen many hotels and landlords in the city and beyond hike up their prices to match. Trump Turnberry’s nightly rate is, however, slightly more reasonable than some Glasgow hotels. 

It’s cheaper than a basic double room - with a private bathroom - in the three star Smiths Hotel in Finnieston, a 15-minute walk from the venue. Rooms there are going for £550 per night between November 4 and 6, compared to £87.50 between November 18 and 20.

Other delegates have opted to travel from Edinburgh, where prices have also increased during the conference. Cruise ships have been brought in to accommodate conference staff.

Earlier this week, AirBnb banned a Glasgow landlord after he attempted to charge a visitor, who had already book a room, an extra $2,000.  

The Glasweigan - who let his room out before he realised the scale of the COP26 summit - demanded extra cash from an American delegate after being concerned that he was “missing out on a great deal of money”.

Tan Copsey - a senior director with Climate Nexus, an American firm aimed at tackling the climate crisis – shared the correspondence on social media. 

In the message exchange, the landlord said: "I have been made aware that over the course of your stay the average room price has gone up 400% in my area.

"It troubles me that I have missed out on a great deal of money due to your early booking.

"I had meant to contact you earlier but was on holiday for three weeks recently and was distracted.

"I feel an additional $70 per night would be a fair adjustment in this case. If you care to look at alternative accommodations I understand.”

During his time in the White House Trump took a number of steps to scale back measures on climate change, including relaxing a number of environmental regulations and removing the US from the Paris Accords that had committed the US and 187 other countries to keep rising global temperatures below 2C.

One of Biden’s first steps in office was to rejoin the Paris accords, but his climate envoy, John Kerry has admitted that there remains some scepticism: “I hear from country after country: How do we know we can count on America? How do we know that another President is not going to come along, someone like Trump, who does the same thing again?” he recently told The New Yorker. 

Earlier this week, Scotland's highest court heard arguments on whether Scottish Government ministers should have investigated Trump’s purchase of Turnberry.

Avaaz, a US campaign group, says ministers have a duty to use an Unexplained Wealth Order to probe the sale of the famous golf course in 2014. 

Turnberry has been loss-making for the former President and his family, with the course failing to make a profit for six years in a row. Accounts lodged with Companies House show that Trump’s losses now total nearly £45m.

The Trump Organisation has been approached for a comment.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Miners' Pardon: 'I knew I had done nothing wrong'.

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top