After breaking the rules to hold its primary in late January — fourth in the nation — Florida will have its delegates assigned to the Innisbrook Resort for the Republican National Convention, according to accommodations announced Monday. The site is around 30 miles from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the main events will be held.
But organizers say that it doesn’t matter what rooms anyone gets. “From Harbour Island to Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and all the beautiful beaches, the Tampa Bay area is one of America’s premiere vacation and business destinations,” said William Harris, the convention’s CEO, in a press release. “So wherever you’re staying, you’re going to have a great experience.”
Well, some experiences will be greater than others. Here are five winning delegations and five losing delegation out of today’s hotel assignments.
Alaska - staying at the Postcard Inn on the Beach: Ask the locals where they prefer to stay when they visit St. Pete Beach and they’ll tell you PCI, with its retro feel and contemporary party scene. It’s quite a hike from the convention site, so don’t be surprised if some of the Alaska delegates play hooky to enjoy the best beach in the country. Just remind the folks from Anchorage and Juneau to pack the sunscreen.
Florida and South Carolina - staying at Innisbrook Resort: I don’t care if RPOF Chair Lenny Curry is pissed or not, if there is one place to stay outside of the Vinoy, it’s Innisbrook. Florida delegates think they’re being punished, but this is like throwing the brer rabbit into the brair patch. Innisbrook is “a swank, sprawling property with a golf course, spa and multiple swimming pools and fine restaurants” – Florida Republicans should shut up and enjoy.
Massachusetts - staying at Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina: The Brahmins are Mitt Romney’s delegation, so, of course, they were assigned the best-located hotel.
Missouri - staying at Tampa Airport Marriott: Location, location, location. Folks from the Show Me State will be able to fly in and fly out without having to taxi to their hotels. They’ll also be able to enjoy 360 degree panoramic views from CK’s, a rooftop restaurant that actually rotates.
North Carolina - staying at Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront: The Tarheels may not be as close to the action as they might like, but they’re the only delegation staying in downtown St. Pete. While the rest of the delegates are stumbling over the pot-holed streets of South Tampa, the North Carolina delegation will be enjoying the ‘burg’s picturesque waterfront.
Arkansas - staying at Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Ybor Historic District: Leaving downtown Tampa to stay in Ybor is like leaving Baghdad to stay in Tikrit. It really doesn’t make a difference, you’re still in an armpit.
California - staying at TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach: The TradeWinds is a lot like the Golden State itself – sprawling, chaotic and full of those who think too highly of themselves.
Colorado - staying at Holiday Inn Clearwater-St. Petersburg Airport: When a hotel’s proximity to the Chick Fil A is its best selling point, you know it’s not a prime location. This Holiday Inn is not a dump, but it is right off of not-exactly-enticing Ulmerton Road. At least its a straight shot from this location to Tampa.
Louisiana – staying at Saddlebrook Resort: Yes, Bobby Jindal’s friends from Bourbon Street do get to stay at the posh Saddlebrook, but it’s in Wesley Chapel and the only two things good in Wesley Chapel are my father-in-law and Will Weatherford. Getting to and fro will be difficult for this delegation.
New York and Texas – staying at Hilton Clearwater Beach and Saddlebrook, respectively: James Davis, spokesman for the Committee on Arrangements is bragging that, “This is the first time we’ve been able to put Florida, California, Texas and New York in their single hotels without splitting them up.” yeah, but these large delegations are so far from the center of the action. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep these all-important delegations closer to the convention, even if it meant splitting them up.