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One-star hotels and media don’t mix

CHARLOTTE—Members of the media whining? What?! That’s got to be an all-time first.


The city of Charlotte has been taking some hard body blows from some reporters who have been shuttling to the Time Warner Cable Arena from one-star hotels and motels 40 miles or more from all the Democratic National Convention festivities.

In a piece for Gawker headlined, “I Hate the Democratic National Convention, This is Terrible,” John Cook writes:

“Our [hotel] is a [euphemism for very bad place]. A $250-a-night mildew rathole for trucks and prostitutes on a decimated strip mall. Charlotte is the armpit of the south, a glorified half-dead exurb with some tall buildings planted in the middle…

“I … am not accustomed to sleeping in a room with mottled, smoke-damaged carpets and a skimpy lock…”

Here’s John Fund, writing for the National Review Online:

“Many of the journalists I have spoken with here are appalled at the accommodations in Charlotte to which they were assigned by the DNC. ... Everyone who saw them fled immediately across state lines to an available Marriott in South Carolina…

Meanwhile, the Washington Times reported nine of the hotels suggested by the DNC have had incidents of bedbug sightings.

All together now: Yuck.

Condo-leasing for the week

What’s that? Where am I staying?

Full disclosure: I’m a diva. I’m also a firm believer in making whatever plans are necessary to ensure you can do the job you’ve been assigned to do. So when I found out my assigned hotel was about 40 miles away from the DNC, which means I’d have to rent a car, and getting back and forth would be a major hassle given all the security and all the parking restrictions, I arranged to rent a condo in a high-rise just a few blocks from the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Every time one reporter or another tells me about the horrible motel he’s staying in, I nod in empathy and say, “I hear what you’re saying,” which is technically true, because I’m hearing what they’re saying. I’m just not experiencing what they’re experiencing.

Not to sound like I’m gloating; I just don’t want to pretend to you guys that I’ve been roughing it out here.

As for the security measures: Sure, you have to show your media credentials at every checkpoint, and, of course, you have to put your bag through an X-ray machine as you enter the arena. But it’s quicker than a typical excursion through the screening system at your local airport.

The good people of Charlotte (Good Charlotte!) have been exceedingly friendly. In restaurants, at coffee shops, even walking down the street, I’ve been greeted with smiles and “How’s it going?” at every turn. Even the various security personnel, from volunteers just double-checking IDs to local cops to Homeland Security to the Secret Service, have been accommodating, professional and polite.

If you’re staying in a hotel where it appears to be 50-50 that a felony has been committed in your room in the last six months—yeah, you’re going to have a negative impression of the host city. As much as I love Chicago and I swell with pride when out-of-towners tell me how much they’re enjoying their stay, I could put them up in dozens of hotels and motels that would radically alter their view of the city.

There’s a big difference between staying in the Gold Coast and staying in one of those places where they give you a key to let yourself in, and all your dining options are in the vending machine next to the check-in desk manned by the guy with the hand-carved tattoos on his forearms.

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