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Trip Report, Mining Exchange Hotel Grand Opening 2012

This is an amazing story - I hope I get most of it right.

Do you ever watch those shows like Pawn Stars or those Restoration shows?
Those are fun because they often take a piece of crap that was due for the junk heap
and then turn it into a sparkly diamond often risking hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

This is a story like that, but many millions of dollars were gambled.

Mrs. Bart and I went to school with one Perry Sanders Junior, back in Fayetteville.
If I'd known he was going to be such a success, I would've let him beat me at pool more often :)

Perry worked several jobs to put himself thru college, and then law school.
He had a lot of success and eventually got the reputation as a legal miracle worker.
He took the cases other lawyers wouldn't take and he won.

In one case he got a judge to rule that CBS (maybe) had to not only turn over footage they ran
on TV of a police sting in Louisiana, but the judge also ordered CBS to turn over their outtakes.

This, apparently, had never happened before so John Gotti's lawyer, Bruce Cutler,
called Perry to ask him, "How did you do that?"

Perry took on the hopeless case of a Black artist (can't remember) who'd been swindled out of his
royalties by record company weasels and Perry got those royalties restored or reversed or whatever.

I believe this got the attention of Voletta Wallace, mother of Notorius B.I.G.   That murder case
involved crooked LA cops who helped murder her son. Christopher, and no lawyer would touch it.

Perry took the case and I believe it's still open and a settlement is perhaps forthcoming
but the Los Angeles cops keep perjuring themselves and stalling for time, etc.

I believe that case got the attention of Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael.   She hired Perry
to be her personal lawyer last year, to negotiate with the lawyers who control Michael's estate.

If you can believe what you read in the papers, Perry's first act for Mrs Jackson was to get
Michael's children an increase in allowance from $19,000 a month to about $80,000 a month.

When you hire the right lawyer, good things can happen.

During all this, Perry had purchased a 110-year old block of granite in downtown Colorado Springs.
He had partners, and there was talk of turning this old building into condos, maybe some apartments,
but they kept running into problems and setbacks and eventually the other partners wanted out.

Perry (and his lovely wife, Lorn) decided they wanted to be hoteliers.

Thru a series of big-time financial maneuvers (I was witness to one such $6M phone call) Perry took
this 110-year old block of granite with 101 problems and turned it into a Five Star, flagship hotel for
the Wyndham Hotel chain.

Before they opened the hotel, Perry started Springs Orleans, a fine Cajun food restaurant.

After six long years of fires, floods and a survey crew that discovered the building
wasn't exactly setting on the foundation correctly, it finally opened on July 21, 2012. 

That entire building is solid granite...

- with brass stairs, brass railings and some brass walls.

So we got there about 4 PM and Perry was eager to show us around.

He started with his fabulous Springs Orleans.  Their Menu

Do you remember those Vegas stories where I told you how Perry would take over a fine Vegas restaurant?
Within minutes, the restaurant manager would be at our table, along with the chef offering samples and the
wine expert was suggesting different vintages of fine wine and champagne, etc.

Well, you should see him work when he owns the place.
We were at his hotel bar when Perry said, "You have to try the Shrimp Cobb Salad."

It was great and I don't even like Shrimp.

I think this is funny - Perry added a hamburger to his fancy Cajun food just for me :)
He also added Mrs Bart's Beringer's White Zinfandel to his fancy wine list.

So while we were eating that, Perry was making phone calls and overseeing his hotel - which opened the next day.
Plus, he told his staff to keep up happy so the drinks were flowing.

I was hitting the Black Russians and Perry called for shots of  De La Familia, Cuervo's top shelf hooch.

Then Perry ordered us some Filet Mignon - I even agreed to try it medium rare.

It was soaking in some Creole Citrus Butter - Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Then Perry said we needed to try his Black truffle, organic trotolle pasta and cheese.


Mrs. Bart said it was the finest food she'd ever tasted.

Perry suggested we try the Cheesecake.

Here's the deal:

This is Perry's restaurant.
Every dish has been personally approved by him.
He's tasted everything on the menu, then told the chef, "Needs more of this and less of that."

Perry is fortunate to have no partners, no stockholders, no bankers, no lien-holders and no Board of Directors to answer to.
This is HIS hotel and HIS restaurant and nobody's going to tell him, "You need to do it this way."

We were being wined and dined by a food expert and his personal kitchen staff.
I only wish I had the palate to really enjoy the subtleties of this really fine Cajun food.

There's a cool story behind this giant wall piece of Italian marble.
Wish I had an IQ greater than 64 so I could tell you about it.

This is one of the eleven mega-safes the building has.
Remember, a hundred years ago prospectors would beat the gold and silver out of the Rocky Mountains,
then ride into town to have it weighed and graded and sold at The Mining Exchange.


The lobby has lots of cozy, well-appointed little corners where you can talk and entertain friends.

Here's Perry on the phone Saturday afternoon, no doubt putting out fires for some client.
(More on that later)

The Mining Exchange - back in the day...

They have a nice antique piano in the lobby...

Then we were shown to our room personally by Lorn, Perry's wife.

These are fine hotel rooms - I assume they'll get FIVE Stars when the ratings come out.

Read Bart's review at Trip

This is very luxurious.

There was granite everywhere and it smelled like fresh wood and leather.

The HD TVs were actually  on their correct channels.
Don't you hate it when the TV says "HBO" but you're watching Douche Blitzer?

The stone showers have twin shower heads so you should bring the wife.

They also provide terry cloth robes for your comfort.

Perry told me his hotel philosophy:
A FIVE Star hotel with a THREE Star price and you can dress ONE Star if you like.

It's so laid back, dogs under 50 pounds are welcome.
We saw lots of doggies when we were there - it's a very friendly place.

Then it was Saturday - day of the Grand Opening.

We knew Perry had a thousand things to do before everyone showed up,
so we grabbed the car and went for a drive - to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

We'd never been to Cripple Creek before and the ride in was spectacular.

We've never been to Tuscany, but this looks like what I imagine Tuscany looks like.

Cripple Creek has the spectacular views, plus casinos, plus a narrow gauge railroad.
How did we miss this place?  We've been coming to Colorado since 1983.

By now it's 11 AM and we had a 1 PM Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to get to.

In a first class restaurant, Perry is often heard to say, "More champagne!"
That's what we saw that Saturday - more champagne - the party was open to the public.

Here's Perry on the left, standing under the "E" in Exchange, talking to the troops at his ribbon cutting.

The mayor of Colorado Springs thanked Perry for investing in downtown and for hiring 70 Springsoans.

I can't get over how impressive those raw granite walls are.

Here's some fancy kabob things the staff was serving.

The food reminded me of an expensive Las Vegas Buffet (compliment).
Food was everywhere, and remember, this was open to the public.

Not pictured: There were chefs cutting roast beef, chefs cutting ham and several other "stations" where
things above my pay grade were being served. There were cakes and pies ...and more champagne.

The place was packed and there was free food, free champagne and free wine for all.

It was a tremendous successs and I'm glad we got to be a part of it.

The next day we got up early and checked out Springs Orleans.
We'd eaten their food, but hadn't been in the restaurant itself.

Mrs. Bart loved the corrugated tin under the bar.

Perry had tin on the ceiling, too.
Mrs. Bart and I debated - what was new or 110 years old?    We forgot to ask.

I spotted a bottle of Chinaco Anejo behind the bar and asked for a shot.
Those shots were priced at $10, an excellent value.

We ate at Springs Orleans three times, once from the bar, the second time I got the burger he put on
the menu for me, the third time we had a great ham and waffle breakfast that included beignets.

Then, Perry called to say he wanted to meet us in our room.
Check it out - we had a sitting area with leather chairs and granite tables - and original art in every room.

Perry was busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger.
On perhaps the biggest day of his professional career, he gets a phone call saying his
Number One client, Katherine Jackson, had been "kidnapped" and he was on the case.

He eventually negotiated Katherine's release.

It had been a whirlwind 48 hours for us.
Staying in a FIVE star hotel where the staff knows the boss likes you is a lot of fun :)

Perry also said he still wants to put together some kind of Bartcop TV project.
When I laughed, he said, "Only one of us thinks I'm kidding," so who knows...

One thing's for sure:
You don't want to tell Perry Sanders, "You can't do that."

He turned a 110-year old chunk of granite into a FIVE Star hotel.

I can't wait to go back.



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