Teresa Grasmick wishes that her friends would stop calling her the Mile High Madam.
The 53-year-old property manager and real estate agent isn't a sex worker. She’s not pimping anybody. And Mile High Club Chalet, her string of two-hour-plus rentals for people looking to hook up, complies with the law. “It’s for people who want privacy and seclusion,” she explains. “We’re not providing services, because that’s illegal and dangerous.”
What she is, Grasmick insists, is a fixer.
On a tour of her units in sleepy residential neighborhoods circling the metro area, she’s interrupted every few minutes by a ringtone from a popular meme, a cartoon duck singing in an old bluesman’s voice: “I’m about to whip somebody’s ass.”
Her SUV swerves between lanes as she answers and solves whatever crisis has been called in. She makes sure one whiny tenant’s toilet is plunged. She helps a crying woman find a sanctuary for horses abandoned on her property. She pledges to file paperwork with the bank by the end of the day. She has a lot of projects besides Mile High Club Chalet, a business she founded almost accidentally.
In early 2019, Grasmick explains, a friend who was having an affair needed a place to hook up, so the realtor opened up one of her Airbnb properties for daytime trysts. The short-term rental unit soon became an even shorter-term hookup unit. Grasmick had found a problem to fix: People having affairs needed places to meet besides overpriced hotels and their own, problematic homes. Her solution was Mile High Club Chalet.
In June she started offering up spaces on the Airbnb website. She soon ran into trouble with Airbnb, though, which accused her of violating the terms of her agreement. So she started her own website to promote and operate Mile High Club Chalet, where she could advertise her rentals as erotic hotspots without any prudish oversight.
She began doing research — and promoting her business — at some of the area's sex clubs, from the Scarlet Ranch in Littleton, where everyday suburbanites cavort, to Mon Chalet on East Colfax Avenue in Aurora, a classic sex motel where couples and singles alike meet each other for a “walk on the wild side.” She hasn’t yet stopped by the Denver Swim Club or the Midtowne Spa, unsure of how she’d be received at the gay sex clubs — but she wants to find some way to reach gay men.
In its first year, her business has proven tough to market. She wanted to place ads on Ashley Madison, a website where married heterosexuals go to cheat, but the site doesn’t take advertisers. So she created a profile on various online dating apps, using them to market her club to young men between 25 and 40. (She's targeting that age group after being skeezed out by “geezers” who have insisted on things like scrotum stepping — which apparently involved a man lying under a cornhole box, sticking his sac through the hole and letting a woman stomp on it.) And she’s hired a PR person to promote her club, hoping journalists take notice and write flattering stories.
With several suites for rent in Denver, Aurora, Centennial and near City Park, she’s got plenty of slots to fill multiple times a day. Most of the units are nondescript on the outside. Neighbors walk their dogs, chat with their mail carriers and watch their children play, not realizing that just next door, spouses cheat, couples mingle and flames burn.
Grasmick's units are tastefully — if somewhat generically — decorated. They’re clean and come with condoms, a riding crop, a decanter of mouthwash, loads of towels and, on request, even a sex sling and dishwasher-safe dildos. She has a small army of cleaners that she dispatches after clients check out; it takes around fifteen minutes to change the sheets, wipe down the surfaces and restock the towels.
Mile High Club Chalet does have a few rules: no kids, no eating or drinking in the beds (food and beverages, that is). Modifying the house furniture is a no-no; so is using illegal drugs.
Grasmick's adult son, a computer wiz, has helped her with the website and is working with her to set up a place online where club members can meet and possibly find new hookups, then book their time at Mile High Club Chalet. Because no matter how nicely clients ask, no, she doesn’t provide services.
Currently, about half of her clients are friends or people she knows; the other half are strangers who've contacted her online. Most are housewives and their lovers looking to get it on before picking up the kids from school; they pay anonymously through Venmo or other online platforms. Gramsick also hopes to draw in LGBTQ people, swingers, couples looking for a staycation and out-of-towners. Up to four people can stay in most of her units, though she hopes to open up larger spaces where clients can host parties.
Grasmick is particularly interested in luring in those twenty-somethings, though she’s discovered from her online marketing efforts that most men of that generation are too cheap or broke to pony up $60 for a two-hour tryst and would be just as happy canoodling in the car. That is, if they ever bother putting down their phones in order to meet someone in real life — which she’s not entirely sure they know how to do.
A group of friends and fellow entrepreneurs she drinks with called the Bottleneckers have even suggested that Grasmick open the space to sex therapists working with clients, as well as doctors looking for a comfy room for a mid-shift nap. Grasmick is open to whatever — as long as that whatever doesn’t involve minors or animals.
“It’s not just about the adulterers,” she adds. “It’s bigger than that.”
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.