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A $135 Million Home, but if You Have to Ask ...

Joshua Saslove, a real estate broker, at the indoor swimming pool at Hala Ranch. The home was built for Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia.
His company’s premier listing, called Hala Ranch, is a 95-acre estate built in 1991 for the family of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to the United States from Saudi Arabia and the home’s only (occasional) occupant.
At $135 million, Hala, just northwest of downtown Aspen, is the most expensive single-family residential property in the nation on the market, Mr. Saslove said. Selling it mostly consists of saying no.
Mr. Saslove has received about 1,000 requests to tour the home since last October when it went on sale, and he, along with lawyers for the prince who review every call, have granted just 11 of them. This is what high-mountain hideaway money in Aspen has come down to: Even the ordinary rich can no longer press their noses to the glass.
In the marketing of Hala, which means “Welcome” in Arabic, nonbillionaires need not apply. Hala will almost certainly, Mr. Saslove believes, be a new owner’s second, third or fourth home.
Money on that scale does not just stumble in off the street. There are 946 billionaires, according to this year’s tally by Forbes magazine, keeping Mr. Saslove’s list of potential buyers relatively short.
He and Hala’s property manager, Martha Grimes, 57, who came to Aspen right after college, saw the place at its zenith, or others might say its nadir, as elements of the old hippie counterculture and Hollywood celebrity style melded. Ms. Grimes worked as a waitress and later a horse wrangler on the very ranch land that later became Hala.
“I remember this hill, this very hill, because I used to ride my horse through here,” she said as she led a tour through the house for a reporter and a photographer on a recent afternoon. “The 70s were really magical,” she added. “But the characters from those days are disappearing.”
Mr. Saslove said that people like Prince Bandar, who is now the secretary general of the Saudi National Security Council and is not spending as much time in the United States as he once did, helped establish Aspen’s newer style, which is much more about family, culture and art — and wealth that even Hollywood stars cannot match.
“I don’t see as much braggadocio as I used to,” said Mr. Saslove, a gruff 66-year-old with longish hair and a nonstop Blackberry.
In his 22 years as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, a tenure that ended in 2005, Prince Bandar was a powerful ally to a succession of presidents. Most recently, however, British media accounts have said that a major British arms contractor paid more than $2 billion clandestinely into bank accounts in Washington controlled by Prince Bandar. The prince has denied the allegations.
At 56,000 square feet, Hala is bigger than the White House, with a staff of 12. It has 15 bedrooms, 16 baths, a private barbershop and beauty salon just off the master suite and enough space for a party of 450 people.

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