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First night at The Broadmoor

Ranger Rich



A few nights ago I crossed over. Dipped my toes into an alternative lifestyle. Experienced something I never thought I'd enjoy. I'm a switch-hitter. I played for the other team.

That's right, I spent a night at The Broadmoor.

For nearly 20 years now my relationship with The Broadmoor has been uneasy and awkward — not unlike Mayor Steve Bach's relationship with nice, honest people. It began in 1993 when, as a reporter for the local daily newspaper, the Gazelle-Telescope, I found out that The Broadmoor, responding to guests' complaints about poop on their expensive shoes, was quietly, at night, "relocating" its flock or "herd" of tame, hand-fed ducks. (Broadmoor president and CEO Steve Bartolin was so mad he spit out a mouthful of mallard feathers.)

Later I wrote about the resort's secret deal with our village to keep its golf course soaked and green by getting hundreds of thousands of gallons of water at reduced rates — during one of the worst droughts in Colorado history. (Bartolin was so upset about that story he could barely finish the salmon that had jumped into his golf cart.)

But times change. Years pass. People mellow. I sat at the resort's famous Hotel Bar a year ago and had a drink with the same Steve Bartolin. Turns out he's a terrific, regular, down-to-earth guy. We talked about baseball.

Last week my wife and I stayed a night at The Broadmoor. It was the 10th anniversary of my marriage to Susie, a lovely woman who has a bumper sticker that reads, "All Men Are Idiots And I Married Their King." I laugh out loud every time I see it, although frankly, I don't really get it.

Anyway, we arrived late in the afternoon. During check-in I commented on a portrait of Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose behind the registration desk. I was told — I am not kidding — that Penrose had a "glass eye."

"Actually," the nice woman at the desk said, "Mr. Penrose had two for the same eye. One glass eye had red veins in it. When he went on a bender he used that one the next morning so it matched his real bloodshot eye."

Footnote: Mayor Bach has adopted the same system, often coming up with a really stupid idea to match his other really stupid idea.

We were then escorted to our room by a bellman. He pointed out some features such as the closet and bathroom. (If you drink like I did that night — more on that later — it's crucial you don't get those rooms mixed up.)

We spent a few minutes settling in. I put some clothes in the closet, right next to Susie's naughty German maid outfit. It's just like her naughty French maid outfit, except with heavy black boots.

Then we headed down to the bar. I don't remember what we drank, but the tab was $65.02 so we must have had a good time.

Soon it was off to dinner at the exquisite Summit restaurant, a dining and drinking experience that I also don't remember, although we must have had an unbelievably good time because that bill was $251.36.

We were spending money, to use the cute old expression, "like U.S. Secret Service agents in a room full of Colombian whores."

After dinner it was back to the Hotel Bar for a nightcap ($29.49). I started not feeling so great. My wife, bless her heart, put her hand on my forehead and uttered these romantic words: "You're drunk and clammy."

So we shuffled off to our room, which cost $426.66 for the one night, and went to sleep. Well, Susie went to sleep. Technically, according to wildlife biologists, I was in that gray area between "restful sleep" and "hibernation."

(She said I made lurching trips to the bathroom during the night, which explained my weird dream about the after-dinner mint that tasted like soap.)

And we slept until nearly 10 a.m., in part because of our wild night but mostly because of the peaceful, serene, almost eerie quiet that has now settled over The Broadmoor's so-called duck pond.

Oh, and the naughty German maid outfit was still in the closet.


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