Hotel employees describe Pres. Bush's stay with them


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Tonya Papanikolas reporting While he was here, President Bush spent the night at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. Now it's recovering from President Bush's whirlwind one-night visit.

CEO Russ Olsen, said, "He came to this suite which is now the presidential suite!" The President had four bedrooms all to himself but not for luxury. "It's a barrier, the different rooms that were stationed around him. So, it was a protection," Olsen said.

Hotel employees describe Pres. Bush's stay with them

The President's suite included a bedroom, along with a kitchen, dining room, living room with flat screen TV and fireplace, and a great view! But those windows posed a problem. "They actually brought in bulletproof glass. They were on rollers. They put them up against the window here and covered all the windows here with bulletproof glass," Olsen said.

The Secret Service stayed in rooms surrounding the president's. His entourage took up 80 rooms.

The entire courtyard and lobby area were shut down while the president was there, and sharp shooters were positioned on the balcony at all times. With that, the president could rest easy, although he did make a few special requests. Olsen said, "We gave him some chips and salsa prior to arrival. They wanted that in his room. He likes chips and salsa."

Hotel employees describe Pres. Bush's stay with them

President Bush also asked for an elliptical machine in his room so he could work out. "They also asked for a massage therapist to be available in case he requested one. He didn't do that, though," Olsen said.

What he did request last night was a cheeseburger! Zane Holmquist, Executive Chef at the Stein Eriksen Lodge says it was, "a medium-well burger with crispy fries."

While the executive chef cooked the burger, two White House staffers watched. "They were very aware of what the president likes and doesn't like," Holmquist said. "He was happy I think."

Regardless of political views, hotel employees say having President Bush at their hotel was an honor.

Veronica Creech, the Stein Eriksen Group Coordinator, said, "I went up and shook his hand, and I kind of was at a loss for words. Thankfully, he took over for me."

During the height of ski season, the president's suite costs $5,000. The president received a discounted government rate.

tpapanikolas@ksl.com

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