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06/13/2013

Don't forget to pay the bill on your way out, G8 delegates told

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The Lough Erne golf resort in Northern Ireland  is the scene of next week's G8 summit. (Tanya Talaga/Toronto Star)

Everybody complains about the high cost of doing business in the United Kingdom.

Even delegates attending the G8 summit next week at the luxurious, five-star Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland got a bit of a surprise after they were told they'll need to pay up before they check out of the resort.

The cost per delegate is 1,000 pounds a day, roughly $1,600, reports Reuters. Mind you, there is a very nice spa complete with a Thai therapist team, a world-class golf course and a library dedicated as a "quiet zone for peace and tranquility" that could come in use when the summit gets rough. 

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Inside the Lough Erne, a contemplative and comfortable spot to stop for tea. (Tanya Talaga/Toronto Star)

And then there's that massive high security fence that rings around the property, aimed at keeping demonstrators far away from the area.

Some leaders, who come with at least a dozen staffers, aren't impressed with what they say is a sudden charge. U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Russian President Vladimir Putin are all on their way to the resort to participate in the high-level meeting, aimed at discussing a range of issues from free trade to tax evasion, food insecurity and Syria.

"As far as we know, this has never happened before ... It's unprecedented and hasn't been handled very well," one European delegation official told Reuters.

Apparently countries were just informed a few days ago that delegates would have to pay. The British government is picking up the tab for each head of state and one official, the news agency reported.

Lough Erne, set among the rolling, green hills of Northern Ireland, is a beautiful resort, nestled on one of the best golfing greens in the United Kingdom. Duck ponds and quaint paths snake around the resort, which consists of one grand meeting house surrounded by a village of private swank cottages.

Besides golf, it is a popular, picturesque venue for weddings.

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The view from the back terrace at Lough Erne. (Tanya Talaga/Toronto Star)

As the world economy continues to sputter along and countries look to save money, perhaps some of the delegates should have stayed in the town of Enniskillen, where hotel rooms are more along the lines of 100 pounds a night.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

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