Hotel Boulderado: Historic Haven in Downtown Boulder
Note: Our stay was covered but Hotel Boulderado but all words and photos are mine. Header photo by Marissa Daily.
We used to head up to Boulder all the time. But first with that multi-year construction project on 36, and then (of course) COVID, it’s been ages since we visited Denver’s sister city. (I know that phrase will drive many Boulder natives crazy, so it’s even more fun to say.) Many years ago, I spent a lovely Thanksgiving at Hotel Boulderado, but I had never stayed there. So, I was thrilled when we were invited up for a few nights to learn about the hotel, and rediscover Boulder.
Located one block from the Pearl Street Mall, Hotel Boulderado features 160 guest rooms decorated with either a modern mountain style or historic Victorian style. We stayed in the historic side and one thing that struck me was that it did not feel OLD. You know how some older hotels just feel… dusty? The Boulderado was nothing like that. Very clean, polished, pretty. I had a tour with their historian (more on that later), who said she likes to clarify, “We’re not old, we’re historic.” Spot on. (But riding in their rickety, original Otis elevator was still pretty cool!)
Hotel Boulderado Rooms
We had a “Historic King Suite,” which was perfect for us to work and play in Boulder for a few days. As I mentioned, the decor was certainly Victorian and ornate, but still provided all the modern touches – including many outlets for us digital nomads. We had a lovely view of Boulder, if we wanted to look past the exquisite furnishings. We did not see the modern side of Hotel Boulderado, but check out their website for more information. Rooms vary in shape and configuration at the hotel but generally cost between $200-350 per night on both sides.
The History of Hotel Boulderado
As I mentioned, the hotel historian took me on a tour, and this here documentary buff ate it up. There is just too much to describe in this post, but you can schedule a tour yourself at the hotel. But, for example, they opened in 1908, after Boulder sold stock in the hotel. The plan was to attract tourists to what previously had been mainly a mining and trading town. The name is a combination of the words Boulder and Colorado – showing the original owners had an understanding of SEO even back then – most other luxury hotels at the time were being named things like “The Grand.”
Wedding were (and still are) held from this landing and guests gather on the second level with a clear view of the couple.
The glass roof has been replaced several times – once in red, white and blue plastic! Thank goodness the current owner has worked since the 1980s to lovingly restore the hotel to its current glory.
Originally, visitors would come for months at a time and brought their belongings in trunks such as these. A huge portion of the hotel was used just to store the trunks.
The city of Boulder was one of the first to run water from the glacier and water fountains like these used to be all over town. In a time when water was not very clean – especially out west – the crisp mountain water was a huge draw for the hotel.
When the hotel was built, they put in electricity – which was super fancy and expensive at the time. However, they weren’t sure how that new fangled invention was going to work out, so gas lines were run as well (eeks). Very quickly, those were removed for safety once it was proven electricity was here to stay.
There are paintings and photos all over the hotel, so I encourage you to walk the halls. This is a long-term patron who lived at the hotel until she was not well enough to do so. However, she still visited as much as she could until her death.
Hotel Boulderado’s Restaurants
There are two restaurants to choose from in-house. They share a kitchen, so some foods crossover, but basically The Corner Bar is just that – a nice little stop for lunch, apps or a drink. Spruce Farm & Fish is more fancy with steak and seafood, as well as salads. We had the scallops and salmon dishes on the recommendation of our server, and I am going to be honest – I was pretty much licking my plate clean. Both restaurants are open to people not staying at the hotel as well!
License No. 1 Speakeasy
Did you know Boulder was a dry town until 1969? NINETEEN SIXTY NINE. Today, License No. 1 continues with the very same liquor license first issued that year. It’s a speakeasy-style bar (meaning you don’t need to know a secret password) below Hotel Boulderado that again shares the apps from upstairs, but has a bunch of super fancy drinks that speakeasys are known for. They also host comedy and music on the weekends!
It was lovely to get back to Boulder. Highway 36 really has opened up and it was a much quicker drive than in recent years. As concerts and events come back, I look forward to making the trek up to Boulder more often and Hotel Boulderado is now number one on my list of places to stay. The location could not be more perfect. Walk out the door and you can easily get to most of downtown Boulder. And just like we did in the past, be sure to see what special events they have coming up for the holidays and other times of year!
2115 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
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