It took 213 hotel rooms on the top of Beijing's posh St. Regis Hotel to house Vice President Joe Biden and his entourage during a December visit to China, according to newly released government documents.

The price of the stop: $384,479.19. But according to the documents, the buffet breakfast was free.

During his Dec. 4-6 visit, Biden met with Chinese officials and toured the city, even attending a traditional tea tasting, according to the White House.

The documents noted that back-up rooms at a J.W. Marriott hotel were also available.

Because U.S. officials wanted to keep the trip secret out of security concerns, only a handful of hotels the government has worked with were asked to bid. The St. Regis won because it offered prices at or just below the per diem paid by Uncle Sam.

The average price of a room, for example, was pegged at $230.26, just below the lodging per diem for Beijing, which is set at $258. The presidential suite was priced at $526 a night.

“An estimated 1345 room nights are required to support this visit. Starting on November 19 with 4 rooms and hitting a peak of 213 rooms on the days of the visit, the hotel will provide lodging rooms as well as office space for security, communications and staff as necessary,” said the State Department documents.

The documents also revealed the hotel requirements for Biden:

The proposed contractor has the following unique qualifications which meet the Department of State’s security and logistical requirements.

— Set-back (hotel is safe distance from the street).

— Location (able to secure building, travel route; distance to and from event).

— Size and number of rooms (able to house everyone in one hotel).

— Conference facilities (adequate space for meetings, press conferences).

— Communications (able to install equipment/lines, command center).

— Accommodating to security needs — hotel will allow party to occupy the entire top two floors for the visit.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at