Ever since Barack Obama‘s final term in office, the former president has displayed a real appreciation for jet-setting. After Donald Trump’s inauguration, he and former First Lady Michelle Obama made a quick trip to Palm Springs, where they stayed with the White House decorator Michael Smith in his 11,000-square-foot home, only to be spotted a few weeks later kitesurfing and yachting at Sir Richard Branson’s Caribbean retreat.
From there, the Obamas headed to French Polynesia, journeying from Tahiti to Marlon Brando’s private resort at the Tetiaroa atoll, where the couple reportedly made plans to stay for a month. Indeed, a month later, the couple was spotted elsewhere in the islands’ waters aboard billionaire David Geffen‘s yacht, keeping company with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and Bruce Springsteen.
Alas, it’s now been a year since that star-studded vacation, and these days, the Obamas seem to be spending much of their time at their 8,200-square-foot home in Washington, D.C., which they first rented in 2016 and purchased for $8.1 million last year. Despite that hefty price tag, the home hasn’t exactly been living up to their standards: Earlier this year, Michelle told Ellen DeGeneres that Barack “doesn’t have enough closet space,” and also got stuck with the house’s smallest room for his office. In contrast, 16-year-old Sasha Obama, who’s still finishing up high school, has a two-room suite that her mom reports is “all decked out,” complete with a living room. (Barack, in fact, designed it all, which is why Michelle said “he’s really hating on her.”)
But! Things seem like they’re about to perk up for the Obamas quite soon, now that TMZ says it’s obtained building permits revealing that he and Michelle have been planning to construct an in-ground swimming pool, which will “also feature a terrace of sorts,” since January. (They’ve obtained the permits, but have spent the last few months undergoing reviews of their plumbing and fixing up their electricity.)
Since things are now several months along, the pool might even be finished by this summer, just in time for Malia Obama‘s break from her freshman year at Harvard, which will more likely than not once again see her blithe spirit unleashed. For her sake, we’re hoping so, since Michelle also told DeGeneres that Malia’s room is “up in the attic somewhere,” which is definitely more than enough reason to host some pool parties that already seem destined to be legendary.
Michelle has previously insisted that her parenting strategy is to not cherish her children to death, seemingly suggesting that the pool is more for Barack and herself than the kids. After all, what better place for her to write her upcoming memoir, and for them to brainstorm for their potential Netflix specials than poolside—or to simply casually reprise their vacation Oprah?
How to Jet Set Like Barack Obama
For one of his most high-profile, post White House appearances, the former president went kitesurfing in the Caribbean with Sir Richard Branson. Sure beats watching a James Comey hearing.
Obama is reportedly staying at Marlon Brando‘s private resort at the Tetiaroa atoll in French Polynesia. Brando fell in love with Tahiti while filming his 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty and then bought the resort. The 35-villa resort is known for its celebrity clientele, breathtaking white sand beaches, and its commitment to sustainability. Not a bad spot to work on those memoirs.
Villas at The Brando resort, where Obama is reportedly staying, start at around $2,000 a night. Each villa has its own private beach area and plunge pool, making it perfect for couples, like the former president and the stylish former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Right after President Trump’s inauguration (and a quick trip to Palm Springs), the Obamas flew off to Sir Richard Branson’s private Caribbean retreat, Necker Island. They went kitesurfing and yachting with Branson, and enjoyed some well-deserved vacation time here. Typically, you need to book out the whole island (up to 34 people for $80,000 per night) to stay here, but, you know, he’s the former leader of the free world. Check the website to find one of the individual rooms that occasionally become available.
Between the water sports (sailing, paddleboarding, stand up paddle polo), spa treatments, and daytime excursions, Necker Island is a lifetime removed from Washington D.C.
Doesn’t Obama look happy? Doesn’t he look ecstatic to no longer have to hear the phrases filibustering or congressional hearing on a regular basis? What’s that noise? Sorry, it’s hard to hear all the way up here as you’re kitesurfing above the Caribbean, which just happens to be one of the must-do activities on Necker Island.
Obama played a round of golf at Mid-Pacific Country Club in Kailua, Hawaii recently. Though his trip was brief, he was spotted dining at Noi Thai Cuisine with his sister and one of his other go-to favorite spots, Buzz’s Steakhouse in Kailua. He has a vacation home in Kailua, which is just over the Ko’olau Mountains toward the Windward side of Oahu. He typically likes to dine at local restaurants and play golf while he’s on island, and that’s exactly what he did this time around. This side trip to his home state was a stopover on his way to French Polynesia.
Obama knows Hawaii well, having been born in Honolulu, and throughout his presidency the 50th state offered a comfortable refuge far removed from the Washington scrum. Here, Obama enjoys a traditional “shave ice” from the popular Island Snow at Kailua Beach Center in Kailua, Hawaii.
In January, the Obamas retreated to the Palm Springs home of Michael S. Smith, who redecorated the White House when the Obamas lived there, and James Costos, ambassador to Spain and Angora during Obama’s presidency. The 11,000-square-foot home, designed by architect Howard Lapham, overlooks Sunnylands, which was once owned by Walter and Leonore Annenberg and played host to many past presidents. The kept a relatively low profile during their trip to Palm Springs, but we’re guessing Obama played a few rounds of golf while he was there (hopefully with his hat backwards). You can’t rent out this specific Thunderbird Heights home, but you can find other sprawling estates for rent nearby on Airbnb.
According to the latest reports, Barack and Michelle Obama, along with close personal friends like Bruce Springsteen, Oprah, and Tom Hanks, are all hanging out together and sailing around French Polynesia on the yacht of billionaire entrepreneur Larry Ellison.
In early April, they all met up and ventured to Vanilla Island for lunch, making their way to Taha’a (pictured here) later in the day.
And if they stick to their current trajectory, they’ll make landfall in Bora Bora before returning to The Brando, where the former president will likely resume work on his memoirs while staying as far away from the White House as possible.