Delegates Spread Among 90 Hotels - and 600 Buses
HOUSTON (AP) _ Houston’s 578-square-mile sprawl and the lack of a central hotel district mean many participants in the Republican National Convention will be seeing a lot of the city.
One of the biggest challenges facing organizers of the Aug. 17-20 convention will be getting delegates - as well as party officials, reporters and guests - to the Astrodome from 90 far-flung hotels up to 30 miles away.
″There’s no one central hotel district in Houston, but they’re spread throughout Houston,″ convention spokesman Joe Fleming said. The best the GOP can promise is ″there’ll be no one in Houston more than an hour or so away″ from the Astrodome, site of the convention.
To help matters, GOP organizers will use a fleet of 600 buses to ferry people between the hotels and the Astrodome.
The Alabama delegation will stay at the South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, some 30 miles southeast of the convention site as the crow flies - a lifetime in rush-hour gridlock.
Colorado will be at the Hilton Nassau Bay & Marina, about 25 miles southeast of the Astrodome, not far from South Dakota at the Holiday Inn NASA and Vermont at the Houston NASA Days Inn, both near the Johnson Space Center.
To the north, near Houston Intercontinental Airport, Louisiana and Oregon at the Doubletree will be nearly 20 miles from the convention site; Wisconsin, at the airport Holiday Inn, is even farther.
New York delegates at the downtown Hyatt Regency will be several miles north of the Astrodome, but relatively handy to the George R. Brown Convention Center, where many hospitality events will be held. The Hyatt - at 863 rooms, the city’s largest hotel - also will be convention headquarters for the Republican National Committee.
Several delegations will stay at deluxe hotels near the Galleria, Houston’s famed upscale shopping district. Illinois, for example, will be at the Doubletree at Post Oak and Indiana at the J.W. Marriott, where Vice President Quayle will bunk.
President Bush will stay at his legal residence, a rented suite at the Houstonian Hotel and Conference Center.
At least a few journalists won’t have to worry about the transportation woes. The media headquarters hotel is the Sheraton Astrodome, across the street from the convention. Media members have reserved 450 rooms, but other reporters are scattered at 52 Houston hotels, Fleming said.
The GOP’s task of allocating 16,000 hotel rooms among the Houston area’s 32,000 hasn’t been easy.
Housing coordinator Julie Perrier has likened the allocation task to ″a huge jigsaw puzzle,″ trying to accommodate requests based on price, geography and reputation.
Prices were expected to range from $40 to $250 per night for the five-night package.