Friday, August 15, 2008

Denver Ready for Democratic National Convention

Just like the Olympics underway now in Beijing, the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention are held every four years. And just like the sports Olympics, the presidential marathon takes years of planning and training.

The Democrats meet in Denver on August 25-28. Here's what just one hotel -- the Ritz-Carlton -- has been doing to prepare --

The eco-friendly theme includes a fleet of hybrid taxis to help guests travel green around the city, and recycling leftover food, flowers, and bathroom amenities through donations to local hospitals and homeless centers. The hotel expects to serve more than 6,000 meals, for overnight guests and for the parties booked here. And that doesn't include its signature restaurant, ELWAY’S Downtown, named for legendary former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway. The restaurant expects to serve more than 12,000 meals and cocktails.

Here's just part of the hotel's grocery list:
  • thousands of pounds of prime Colorado beef,

  • 15 kegs of local Rocky Mountain brews

  • hundreds of pounds of organic produce

  • created special menus and even cocktail recipes inspired by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, including Barack On The Rocks

  • baked some 11,000 donkey-shaped cookies to be placed on guests' beds each night as turn-down amenities.

  • preparing desserts such as Ballot Box Brownies and a red, white and blue Campaign ’08 Trail Mix, which includes healthy yogurt-covered almonds, dried strawberries, and for added crunch, blue M & M’s.

The hotel staff is preparing beyond the kitchen and bar, too --

  • memorizing political factoids, the simplist of which is “What city is hometown for Senator Barack Obama?”

  • practicing checking in large numbers of arriving delegates

  • preparing for the nightly race to deliver more than 800 gifts reflecting the official DNC colors of red, white, blue, and eco-friendly green.

  • the bell staff has been building its biceps for the 3,000 pieces of luggage it will be handling and opening the door some 5,000 times for entering and exiting guests.

If you haven't got your room booked yet, you're too late. The Ritz-Carlton has a waiting list. But you're never too late to become a fan of the Mile High city of Denver, which I love, especially in winter, when pass through on my way to the great Colorado ski country just west of town.