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High above the sparkling lake, we took in the crimson, gold, and orange sunset draped over Pikes Peak.  The balcony view from our suite overlooked it all and the other grand buildings of the Broadmoor, the 5-star jewel of Colorado Springs.  

Late April sunshine streamed in through the open doors and warmed my face and toes.  My husband and I sipped sparkling wine and snacked on apricot-sized chocolate-covered strawberries.  

We were amazed at how privileged we felt at that moment.  This wasn’t our usual travel experience.  Normally, we would be sitting on a stiff mattress with a crunchy bedspread at some ordinary chain hotel we reserved through a discount website.  But not today.  

Later on, we got ready for dinner at the Penrose Room, arguably the best restaurant on the property, if not in town. I freshened up in the airy bathroom with the glass-encased oversized shower.  It also had a jetted tub with shutters that opened to the rest of the suite, and a television I kept 80% of the time on the Cooking Channel (a station we didn’t get at home).

At dinner, we sat alongside the shiny parquet dance floor and watched older couples glide along in their foxtrots.  Our waiters saw to it that each part of our meal was to our satisfaction, and the sommelier helped with choosing the perfect wine.

The cost for all this luxury?  Not one cent…

This special treatment was all a result of my writing to the Broadmoor’s director of communications, stating that I was a travel writer and wanted to write about the resort.

I had already made reservations for a round of golf as a birthday gift for my husband.  The rest of our trip was all “comped,” or on the house.  

When I first learned about this idea through AWAI’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program, I thought, “No way – this doesn’t really happen.”  Then I heard that same message again at their live workshop in Chicago in August 2011.

And even if I were to get these perks, someone as inexperienced as I was wouldn’t get them.

But I did.  And the Broadmoor was my first try.  

Not too shabby for newbie!

The travel and tourism industry does this because they want writers to generate publicity for what they have to offer.  All you have to do is follow up and write about what you’ve experienced.

After our weekend at the Broadmoor, I wrote three articles as the Denver Romantic Travel Examiner in  Since then, I’ve written over 25 articles highlighting where couples can go in and around the Colorado Front Range, and beyond.  

I’ve also gotten a few more freebies along the way:

A gourmet vegetarian meal and 60-minute post-marathon massage at a top resort in southwestern Utah…

Free admission for my two kids and myself to Seattle’s Space Needle and the Vancouver Aquarium…

And drinks and gourmet cupcakes from some of the best establishments in Denver…

What a fabulous way to enjoy the Writer’s Life.  And it’s easy on the wallet, too!

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