An inside look at Paul Ryan's GJ stay

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- After giving about a 20-minute speech to supporters in CMU’s Brownson Arena, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan headed back to his room at the DoubleTree Hotel on Horizon Drive.

For the hotel, Ryan's stay meant special accommodations, hundreds of Secret Service and even a room dedicated to Ryan's now- famous workout routine.

Hotel staff worked long hours, prepared specific meals and set up 150 room reservations for Ryan's group, the Secret Service and national press, all to make sure his trip to Grand Junction was as safe and comfortable as possible.

Last Thursday, the staff at the DoubleTree learned they would be having a special guest from out of town.

"What we knew was coming in was just that they needed rooms-- not even that many rooms-- just that they needed rooms for a confidential group," front office and revenue manager Sarah Austin said.

For Austin, that meant constant preparation.

"Friday when we started to meet with them until we actually pulled off their functions on Monday night when he got here, I was here putting together their details for a minimum of 36 hours," said Austin.

From the outside in, security was top-notch.

"This (the back lot) was the drop-off parking lot for Mr. Ryan. This whole parking lot was blocked off during his stay, and this location here is where he was dropped off this is our back entrance, private entrance into the hotel," DoubleTree sales manager Adam Korte said.

GJPD kept surveillance for 24 hours, with canine units sweeping the hotel. Ryan even a private elevator.

"This elevator was also closed to the seventh floor to only Paul Ryan's staff and Secret Service," Korte said.

A trip to the seventh floor brought us to the end of the hall and in front of room 710.

Along with sleeping, that room is also where Ryan ate.

"Paul Ryan had yogurt, granola and berries for breakfast, because he is obviously very healthy, and we did a couple runs to Starbucks; he drinks regular coffee with three creams," Austin said.

Staff also said they believe Ryan watched running-mate Mitt Romney battle President Obama in the third and final presidential debate in his room, while his staff watched at a banquet downstairs.

And that famous P-90X workout Ryan does every morning? The hotel broke down the next room and removed the beds for him to get in the routine.

"The adjoining room is where Mr. Ryan did his P-90X workouts, as you can see, we're still piecing the room back together. Secret Service was actually beneath and underneath the room for noise purposes,” Korte said.

The hotel also set up an interview room for Ryan, as he was interviewed by NBC’s today show Tuesday morning.

The Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau said high profile visits like Ryan’s help put Grand Junction on the map, keeping the city in the national spotlight.

As for the DoubleTree staff, they said Ryan was nice, and he enjoyed his stay, even taking pictures and cracking jokes with the staff.

"I said ‘Mr. Ryan good to see you,’” DoubleTree general manager Per Nilsson said. “He said, ‘Call me Paul,’ so I said ‘Paul, pleasure to have you here in Grand Junction.' I said to Paul, ‘Paul, I would like to see you make some changes.’ He said ‘Here at the hotel?’ and I said ‘No I'll take care of the hotel, you take care of the country.’"

As for why Ryan’s room was put on the seventh floor, DoubleTree staff said it was chosen from tactical reasons, with Secret Service in the rooms directly below and above, and the entire seventh floor closed off to regular guests.

Hotel staff couldn't say how much Ryan's stay cost, but said it was paid for by campaign money.


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