by Jordan Zakarin
Four years after presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain vacationed at a Hilton in Boca Raton, Florida, the luxury resort’s manager says that he will be voting for the GOP standard bearer come November.
In a wide-ranging interview, Roger Daniels says that he came to appreciate McCain over the Arizona Senator’s week long stay at the hotel that he has managed for the past six years, and has no doubts that, from what he saw, McCain would be a perfect fit to lead the free world.
“No doubt in my mind, the John McCain I got to know during those seven days, he’s a man of class and dignity,” Daniels said. “We see so many tourists every year, but sometimes, certain ones stick out, and he was definitely one that had ‘fun in the sun’ written all over him.”
“[McCain] was a quiet, stoic guest, who particularly enjoyed lounging out by one of our two Olympic sized pools or, sometimes, one of three family-themed pools,” he continued. “He didn’t really swim, but, unlike many people relaxing by the water, didn’t get too angry when kids would inevitably hit him with an errant splash here and there. It takes a big man to not allow that to interrupt or even ruin a nap — nothing seemed to ruin his nap, and that’s something that’s a big relief to waterfront staff. Inter-guest disputes are always the hardest to deal with, and in that way, he was very diplomatic.”
Daniels said that McCain also was a dream to have as a diner, as he often ordered the same meal from room service around 4:00 pm, making it easy and efficient for the kitchen and waitstaff to serve such a distinguished guest. “When you’ve got someone of such high stature, you are always stressing about getting it right,” a glowing Daniels explained. “But, God bless him, Mr. McCain was like clockwork, everyday with the asparagus, grilled cheese and pureed carrots. It really just shows what kind of man he was.”
The 18-year hospitality industry veteran also praised the GOP nominee’s easy going nature at nightly events such as family friendly acoustic guitar concerts and arts and crafts. “Now, he wasn’t too successful at the basket weaving, though no less so than his wife, who I’ll admit lodged a few complaints, mostly at the limited selection we had at our on-facility pharmacy, but he really gave it all. One time, a little girl walked up to him and gave him this beautiful door sign she made with his name on it. I think he was at first confused, but then very touched, and it’s that type of person that I think we should be looking for.”
A strong proponent of Florida tourism, Daniels said that he and McCain, long an advocate of Arizona’s desert resorts, often had friendly debates about the merits of the two locales, “but nothing that wasn’t done with total respect for one another. He really just couldn’t stand the humidity, he was much more of a dry heat guy.”
One topic of contention with Daniels were the voluminous reports of towel shortages, late housekeeping and snappy concierge, claims that he vehemently denied. “People like to say certain things to get an leg up in this cat and mouse game that’s played between guest and hotel,” he said. “They think they can earn free nights or room service by making those complaints, and it’s quite a shame.” Daniels pointed to photos of happy customers that were featured prominently on the Hilton’s corporate website, offering them as proof of the terrific conditions at the hotel.
A McCain spokesperson gave a brief comment on the interview during a press conference, saying only that, “while Senator McCain appreciates the support of each and every American who have pledged it his campaign, it is ludicrous what this hotel fellow is saying. There is no doubt that Senator McCain and his fellow vacationers have seen dirty deck chairs, lukewarm jacuzzis and far too few towels than desired. I think it’s clear that the Senator has a long record of straight talk, and so while we acknowledge and agree with the manager’s assessment of Mr. McCain’s character, we obviously have a disagreement about what constitutes luxurious.”