CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- California's delegation to the Democratic National Convention is housed much closer to the action than their Republican counterparts were for the GOP convention in Tampa last week, but that doesn't mean they're happy with their accommodations.
The delegation is staying at The Blake Hotel, a luxury spot in uptown Charlotte that touts itself as the "new standard in Charlotte Accommodations." At just eight blocks from the Time Warner Cable Arena, delegates here have a much quicker commute to convention activities than the 25-mile haul GOP delegates staying in St. Pete Beach faced.
But loose ends and unfinished business from an apparent recent renovation and staff overhaul have caused some hiccups during the delegation's stay in the hotel, where rooms run more than $300 a night.
Wind damage caused stucco to be removed from one side of the structure, affecting some rooms but not those occupied by the delegation. Gripes from delegates include the the quality of food at the on-site restaurant, a stalled elevator and damaged or unfinished rooms. One longtime Democratic consultant said the plaster on her room ceiling was still wet when she arrived.
"I was just expecting a little more," said Horfa Aguilera, a delegate from Roseville.
Rick Gunther, a delegate and president of the Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley, had to ask to be moved to a different room twice. His first room was flooded. The second was missing a shower head.
"I lost my view, but I'm still happy," he said of the room change. "I took pictures before I left the other one."
Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, went through five rooms in two days. Issues included scalding water that almost burned his child, cockroaches, a broken lock and a "funny smell," according to his tweets.
Rachel Binah, who doesn't carry a cell phone, has been trying for days to get the voicemail in her room set up. She called the site a "pretend hotel."
"It's like they just made this into a hotel 15 minutes before we got here," she said. "This (hotel) was invented for this week."
But the Mendocino Democrat, like many of the delegates airing complaints, was quick to add that the staff "couldn't be nicer."
The hotel manager sent word through the front desk staff that he would not comment on the issues, which have become the butt of jokes.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton made light of the complaints at a Monday morning breakfast for delegates, saying it was the Democratic National Convention organizers, not the state party, that selected the delegation digs.
"You travel so far to stay at Hotel California," Attorney General Kamala Harris cracked at today's delegation breakfast.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect that the manager declined to comment. Updated at 3:50 p.m., Sept. 4, 2012.