DENVER — The group of out-of-town Democratic Party officials piled into the small bathroom of the Embassy Suites hotel room on Thursday and watched as Todd Taylor took a scrap of tissue paper, dropped it into the toilet and flushed.
“Pretty good,” proclaimed Mr. Taylor, the executive director of the Utah Democratic Party. “But if you’re in a room any higher than the eighth floor, the flushing can be a problem.”
Despite the chuckles from his fellow Democrats, Mr. Taylor was serious about the toilet test because it might just determine where his delegation stays during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. After all, Utah delegates have complained about feeble hotel toilets in years past.
On Thursday, Mr. Taylor, joined by representatives from 16 other delegations and a gaggle of national Democratic officials, meticulously inspected the toilets, beds and conference facilities at an assortment of Denver hotels, kicking off their search for accommodations during the convention, which will be held next August.
“Even though this is my fourth convention, you still hold your breath and try not to be overwhelmed by the magnitude,” said Cameron Moody, deputy chief executive of operations for the Democratic National Convention Committee.
Mr. Moody is charged with arranging hotel rooms for the 5,200 delegates, alternates and state committee members. It is a daunting task that involves matching the needs of 56 delegations with the 22 hotels that have set aside rooms for them during the convention.
“Some of the delegations can be a little persnickety,” said Betty McElderry, a committee member from Oklahoma. “But the D.N.C is doing a good job,” she added, referring to the Democratic National Committee.
Unlike the Republican National Committee, which typically assigns hotels after comment from state parties, the Democratic committee has a more formal process by which delegations submit their top five choices.
Denver will offer discounted rates for delegates, from $128 to $279 per night, and some delegations will opt to go cheap. In 2004, the Wyoming Democratic delegation stayed in dormitories at Boston University, Mr. Moody said.
Denver Hotels DNC 2008
Hotels Guide Democratic Convention Denver 2008
|Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street
Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center
Westin Tabor Center Denver
Embassy Suites Downtown
Marriott City Center
Crowne Plaza Denver (formerly
Holiday Inn North Coliseum
Courtyard by Marriott
Best Western Central Hotel
La Quinta Inn Denver
Ramada Inn Denver
Red Lion Hotel Denver Downtown
The Burnsley All Suite Hotel
Gregory Inn LoDo
Historic Castle Marne Inn
Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown
Ramada Inn - Lakewood
Towneplace Suites Denver Downtown
Ramada Inn Downtown
Super 8 Denver
Hampton Inn & Suites-Denver Tech Center. 5001 South Ulster Street. (303)804-9900
Hampton Inn & Suites-Denver Tech
1717 Champa Street
Adam's Mark Hotel
Grand Hyatt Denver
Warwick Denver Hotel
Comfort Inn Downtown
Comfort Inn Central
Days Inn Central
Hampton Inn & Suites Denver
La Quinta Inn North
Holiday Inn Denver Airport
AmeriSuites Denver Airport
Comfort Suites Airport
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Days Inn Denver
Country Inn and Suites
Comfort Inn and Suites Northeast
Doubletree Hotel Denver
Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast Inn
"The closer you get to theDenver 2008 Convention when rental space
isreally going to be tight, the more you can ask for."
But delegations are curious nonetheless about amenities like wireless Internet service, pools, workout rooms and shopping.
“How late does the bar stay open?” asked Caroline Valand, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, as she strolled through the Denver Marriott South.
It was one of the more popular questions.
“After coming back to the hotel around 10, people want to sit around and talk about a great speech they might have heard, and maybe have a drink,” Ms. Valand explained. “Or two.”
Each delegation wants its first choice, of course, and in the past some would submit only one hotel to make their point, Mr. Moody said.
“Things usually end up sorting themselves out,” he said.
In case they do not, a lottery that was held in May will decide which delegation gets preference if two want the same hotel and there is not enough room. American Samoa, which is bringing a delegation of 13, is positioned to score a choice hotel because it gets the third pick in the lottery. Pennsylvania, by contrast, will bring a delegation of 206 but will pick 49th. (Utah has the first pick; Alaska the last.)
Though Mr. Moody said the national party committee played no favorites, some delegations seemed already resigned to an alternate choice.
“We’re a reasonably small state, and there’s no doubt our people would like to be in the thick of things, but that seems highly unlikely,” Mr. Taylor of Utah said.
Utah’s dream of a centrally located hotel could come true this time, however. Buttressing its chances are its lottery pick and the fact that a significant portion of the 7,000 rooms reserved for the delegations and their families are within walking distance of the convention site, the Pepsi Center. The others are clustered in two outlying areas, Stapleton and the Tech Center, both less than a 30-minute ride from the convention.
“We’re able to plan this convention in a way we couldn’t do in a larger city,” Mr. Moody said.
Such was not in the case in Boston in 2004, or especially in Los Angeles in 2000, when delegates were scattered pell-mell in surrounding suburbs.
After touring the Embassy Suites in Denver, party officials moved on to a Sheraton hotel and finally, the luxurious Denver Marriott Tech Center.
“This is probably too big for us,” said Trent Lutz, executive director of the Democratic Party of Oregon, gazing around at the hotel’s expansive lobby. The party will bring a delegation of 70.
But Betty Richie, a delegation representative from Texas, which will bring 260 members, liked what she saw. “Size is so important for Texas,” she said, “and this certainly seems large enough.”
A picture caption yesterday with an
article about hotel reservations for the 2008 Democratic National
Convention misstated the affiliation of Tina Akintayo, who was shown
checking the accommodations of a hotel in
She is the housing director for the Democratic National Convention Committee, not a representative of Denver Marriott South.
2008 Democratic Convention Watch