The first thing I notice about the Trump Organization's Beijing 'office' is neon sneakers. I spy two pairs of them from the hallway, where I’m hesitating before knocking on the heavy double doors. I realize I have absolutely nothing to say to whomever is inside.
When That's Beijing's Oscar Holland reported that Trump Organization-owned web domains were registered to an address at the state-owned Beijing Hotel, I hardly expected the office to exist. When I set out to see for myself, I figured it would lead me to a nondescript hotel room, if anything at all.
And yet, the Beijing Hotel does contain offices – and that's where this address leads me, past marble columns and creaky wooden floors to Building D of this sprawling complex just a stone's throw away from Tiananmen Square.
And now, here I am. The office is unmarked except for a couple Chinese New Year decorations. And so with nothing else left to do, I enter.
I walk into a recreation room, and the scene before me is bizarre. Four people in all black except for their bright sneakers are sitting in the dimly lit room staring silently at their phones. Tripods and camera equipment clutter the floor. Before them is a long, shiny dining table, and what appear to be paint brushes and canvases.
All four people look up at me, confused. A woman immediately motions for me to leave. I go to show her the address I have alongside the words "Trump Organization" on my phone, and then she really motions for me to leave. I leave.
We hear that evening that other news organizations have also sent reporters to the address, which may explain why the woman told me to go away so quickly.
From our office later, we call the phone number associated with the web domain. We get a fax machine. So we call the listed fax number, and we get a phone line. It rings until the line disconnects.
Outside, tourists pose for photos with the hotel's iconic front. Beijing Hotel is famous for hosting Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. This is as Chinese as it gets, which has us wondering – why would the Trump Organization choose here? All we can guess is that someone at Trump Tower with a lack of imagination Googled "Beijing" and "hotel" and got, well, the Beijing Hotel.
There's only one thing we can say definitively: We know nothing for sure.
Chris Sadler contributed to this story.