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Back to 1997 Headlines

 

1/9/1997

Media members fill Boulder hotels

by Jonathan Shikes
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- Who knows where they came from.

Maybe it was Atlanta, where the FBI just finished clearing suspected Olympic Park bomber Richard Jewell.

Maybe it was Los Angeles, where O.J. Simpson was reclaiming the legal rights to his two young children.

Or maybe it was the Pacific Northwest and northern California, where torrential rains were washing away a corner of the country.

Wherever they came from, the national print and TV news media have now descended on Boulder, where the murder of JonBenet Ramsey has riveted the country.

The ensuing media coverage has been an economic boon for Boulder hotels and restaurants.

Many of the reporters, photographers, producers and other press personnel have checked into some of Boulder's better hotels, including The Regal Harvest and the Hotel Boulderado, where rates for an overnight stay usually start around $100 and go up from there.

``They occasionally stay here for sporting events, but this is by far the largest it's ever been,'' said a manager at The Regal Harvest hotel, who asked not to be identified.

Between 50 and 100 members of the national news media are staying at the Regal Harvest, including representatives of CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS, he said. ``I think it caught the country by surprise and it caught on like wildfire.''

The Regal Harvest has become an unofficial media headquarters. A Denver radio station will even air a live program there tomorrow morning.

Winter is normally a slower season for the Regal Harvest, which has almost 300 rooms, indoor tennis courts and swimming pools, a restaurant and bar, all located on 16 acres near the University of Colorado, the manager said.

But things have picked up since the national media found out about the story. ``I think they have high standards and they stay with us,'' he said.

Over at the Hotel Boulderado, another hive of reporters is buzzing around, staying in some of the hotel's 160 rooms, eating in its three restaurants and drinking at the bar.

``We have noticed quite a few of them in the restaurant,'' said Boulderado Food and Beverage Manager Chris Brown. ``They are nice people, just like you and me. There are groups of them all over the place.''

Brown did not want to speculate on which media outlets had people in the Boulderado, but reporters from the Dallas Morning News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, and TV shows Dateline, 20//20, 48 Hours and 60 Minutes have been spotted around town.

Brown said the hotel was already near capacity when the media checked in, and now they are completely booked.

``I think we're just considered one of the nicest places to stay in Boulder,'' he said. ``But they're staying everywhere.''