early and often

And the Award for the Scariest Denver-Area Hotel Goes To…

Hint: It’s not one of these.Photo: Getty Images

At the Pepsi Center, status may be determined by what credential you wear around your neck, but when you head out in the morning or try to get home at night in this town, you quickly realize that the location of your hotel room is just as important. Bigwigs (major news anchors, celebs, or people with real political clout) are so lucky as to stay smack-dab downtown, at the Hyatt Regency, the Sheraton, or the Ritz. But everyone else? Not so much. Staffers from HuffPo comedy site 23/6 and CBSNews.com are in different cities entirely (Littleton and Golden, respectively), and our bedraggled WWD colleague Jacob Bernstein has done his thing while staying outside city limits.

But after hearing about inconvenient lodging situations all week, we’d now like to state for the record that none of them have it as bad as Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart and the gaggle of Washington Post, Newsweek, and MSNBC contributors, including Pat Buchanan, Gene Robinson, and Michelle Bernard. This crew of folks is staying at the Cherry Creek Hotel, and that’s an experience on an entirely different level.

Cherry Creek is a ten-minute drive from downtown, conveniently located near the Cherry Creek Mall and our beloved Shotgun Willie’s. But once inside the Cherry Creek Hotel, Capehart had bad vibes immediately. “You know there’s going to be trouble when you open up your closet and it’s made out of painted cinderblocks,” he said.

Things were about to get a whole lot worse. Early Sunday morning, while Capehart slept, his WashingtonPost.com colleague Ed O’Keefe was getting his car when a fleet of police officers came barreling around the side of the building, yelling at him to get out of the way. Apparently he’d stumbled upon some sort of raid, which just happened to involve an associate of some meth-heads who’d been randomly stopped heading toward Denver with a car full of drugs and weapons and, they said, an intent to shoot Barack Obama. The guy in the room next door to O’Keefe’s jumped out the sixth-floor window, broke his ankle, and was arrested.

Sound familiar? That’s right: The Cherry Creek Hotel was not just playing host to Pat Buchanan, but also a would-be Obama assassin. “I sleep with the deadbolt on,” says Capehart. “I even used that thing that you slide across the door to make sure no one can get in.” But somehow the sleeplessness has worked to his advantage. “My productivity is through the roof!” Capehart says. “In the morning I just get up and go. I just want to be anywhere other than my sketchy hotel.”

And the Award for the Scariest Denver-Area Hotel Goes To…