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Convention visitors give Charlotte hotels thumbs up

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Hotel accommodations in and around Charlotte are getting high marks from convention visitors.

On Sunday, Massachusetts delegate and first-time Charlotte visitor Paul Yorkis and his wife found their room at the Omni Charlotte “exactly what we ordered.”

“We wanted a king size bed and the room was comfortably appointed,” said Yorkis, 67, who owns a small real estate company in Medway, Mass. “It’s wonderful.”

Even a problem in getting to the hotel turned into something that made him feel good about Charlotte.

For some reason, Yorkis said the bus couldn’t get close to the hotel for drop-off. He and his wife had to walk more than four blocks while wheeling their baggage – and the bags were heavier than usual because of convention materials including buttons and a state flag.

As Yorkis and his wife made their way along Tryon Street, he said a couple from Charlotte came up and helped them carry the bags to the hotel.

“They were just very kind,” he said. “It was a great deed, and we really appreciated it. Everyone has been incredibly gracious. We’re proud to be here.”

Carol Scott Dooling, whose husband, Bill, is a Massachusetts delegate, described their room at the Omni as “excellent.”

“We’ve traveled worldwide,” said Dooling, 67, of Boston. “This is probably more than I expected. I wasn’t expecting much.”

Before the visit, Dooling said her research on Charlotte turned up a statement that “it wasn’t great for tourists.”

“But I’m finding the opposite is true,” she said. “I’m really delighted so far.”

David Montgomery, director of sales and marketing for the Westin Charlotte, said 50 to 70 percent of the DNC guests arrived at the hotel on Sunday with the rest coming in Monday. The 700 rooms are booked solid through Friday.

Things were running smoothly, he said, adding that the DNC is “an opportunity for us to be on a bigger stage than we’ve ever been before… And I think we’re up to the challenge.”

Alexis Waksmunski, 19, a volunteer with Voice of America, is staying at the Blake Hotel and described it as “one of the best I’ve ever been in.”

A resident of Northern Cambria, Pa., she’s stayed in hotels in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and New York City – and thinks the Blake compares favorably to those places.

“It’s comfortable and friendly,” said Waksmunski, who is visiting Charlotte for the first time. “And the people there are very willing to help.”

Her only criticism: “The elevator’s a little slow.”

Thomas Cappo, president of the National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians Local 11, said media employees working the DNC were pleased with their accommodations.

“These are some pretty hard core road guys,” said Cappo, a 30-year employee of NBC. “They’ve seen bad.”

Washington state delegates Lorrie DeKay, 60, and Tanisha Harris, 36, – visiting Charlotte for the first time – were pleased with their rooms at the Hilton Charlotte Executive Park.

“Awesome,” said DeKay of White Salmon, Wash. “We slept way too long this morning, the beds were so comfortable. The hotel is right up there with the best ones I’ve stayed in.”

After a good night’s rest, the women caught the light rail near their hotel and rode uptown “for our first venture out exploring,” said DeKay.

“It’s beautiful,” she said of the city. “I had no idea.”

DePriest: 704-868-7745
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