If you’ve not visited Boulder, pack your bags for an elegantly historic Victorian stay at the Hotel Boulderado — and a quirky visit to the city Colorado locals call “the Republic of Boulder.” Since 1909, this recently renovated National Register landmark has offered guests a romantic getaway in the middle of downtown just one block from the famous Pearl Street Mall.
With over a century of service, the Colorado-charming Hotel Boulderado sits amongst the nearby awe-inspiring Flatirons and smack-dab in the middle of downtown Boulder. Since Boulder is just 20 minutes from my home, I can’t say no to a staycation in Denver Metro, so my hubby and I took a break from the holiday craziness and overnighted at the historic Hotel Boulderado.
For those unfamiliar with Boulder, it’s 40 minutes from Denver International Airport and just over 30 minutes from downtown Denver. Home to the University of Colorado, this unconventional college town offers so much friendly and funky charm. From its street performers on Pearl Street to its interesting festivals (Polar Bear Club to the nearby Frozen Dead Guy days), you can’t help but be entranced with its “Keep Boulder Weird” theme.
Arrival at Hotel Boulderado
And that’s why choosing a hotel near Pearl Street is an adventure. Begin with a year-round scenic drive to Hotel Boulderado, set amongst the foothills of Rocky Mountains of Colorado in northern Colorado. Look west for a view of the trail-lined craggy rock formations of the Flatirons. Just one block past the downtown’s pedestrian Pearl Street Mall and guests arrive at the Hotel Boulderado.
More than 100 years ago, the exterior, a combination of Italian Renaissance-style with Spanish Revival, of this Boulder hotel was designed by William Redding & Son. Tucked in amongst other downtown buildings, discover its four corner towers, paired tall narrow windows, and bracketed Italian-style. The Spanish revival style is evident in the iron railings on the large east side porches, arched 4th-windows, and gables. This is simply a beautiful historic building, the oldest and most historic in Boulder.
Check-in at Hotel Boulderado
Just like hotels in downtown Denver, parking is a commodity in Boulder. Off-street parking (read: feed the meters) is available, but for just $20 overnight or $2 an hour, it’s worth handing your keys to the valet at the Boulderado. Which is exactly what we did.
Entering the hotel is like stepping back to the Victorian era, and even after their recent $2.5 million renovation, the elegance and boldness of this century of decor still remains.
Enter the front door and just to the left is the front desk, now located in the hotel’s former gift shop. To the right is the Spruce Restaurant and straight ahead enter the impressive lobby.
The Lobby of the Hotel Boulderado
Seriously you can spend hours in its the lobby of this historic hotel. It is simply beautiful. We visited during the Christmas holidays, so the lobby was decked out in lights, towering Christmas tree and Victorian-themed Christmas decorations. But any time of the year, the lobby is inviting and worth taking in.
The June 2017 renovation created a more inviting lobby, now featuring a beautiful Sycamore wood bar top serving coffee drinks and cocktails.
On our visit the weekend before Christmas, the lobby featured live jazz music, and it was packed with hotel guests and visitors enjoying the comfortable seating.
The stairs overlooking the lobby are another wow — original cherry wood staircase extending from the basement to the 4th floor. The balcony view above is a popular photo opp for weddings.
And of course, there is that famous stained-glass canopy ceiling, architecturally inspired by The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Just stunning.
The second-floor mezzanine level was also part of the renovation
The former front desk area in the lobby is now home to the modern workspace, electrical outlets — without sacrificing the beautiful historic elements. On your way to the restrooms, spot the marble drinking fountain, dating back to the days when the Boulder-owned Arapahoe Glacier supplied the water.
Accommodations at the Hotel Boulderado
Since we carried our overnight bags, we opted to take the original 1980 Otis elevator in the lobby, still in operation (although hotel staff are the only authorized users).
The hotel’s 160 rooms are divided amongst either modern mountain or historic Victorian style. I’m all for historic hotels, so I was thrilled when we were told our room would be on the historic side of the building. We stepped off the elevator and made our way down the hallway. Even the hallways are show-stoppers with their antiques, ornate Victorian wallpaper and historic elements including artwork and photography.
And once we entered our room (400) for the next 24 hours, we knew had lucked out. Simply gorgeous suite, with a sitting area, King bed, separate bathroom, and view of downtown Boulder and the mountains.
Although I was disconnected on this quick getaway, the room did also provide a small work area — and WiFi is complimentary.
We also loved that our room was literally steps from the staircase, leading to the downstairs lobby and exit.
Other Amenities at the Hotel Boulderado
While all of the above (rooms, lobby, antique, artwork) are worthwhile, Hotel Boulderado also offers things to do within its walls. I already mentioned the lobby entertainment on the Friday night we visited. Check their schedule for other entertainment in the lobby throughout the year.
We also stopped at the Spruce Farm & Fish restaurant, stopping at its recently updated bar. We had a view of the lobby and listened to the jazz music. Another bonus was its happy hour with reduced prices on drinks and a food menu. We choose the $3 prime rib sliders, brussels sprouts, oysters on half shell, and calamari — and we had such a great time that we stayed.
Also on-site is locals’ favorite the Corner Bar, with new menu items, and License No. 1 (formerly Catacombs), a speakeasy bar with entertainment, such as bands and comedy nights.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore downtown Boulder’s pedestrian Pearl Street Mall includes art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques.
Disclaimer: Hotel Boulderado provided accommodations for my review; opinions expressed are my own. Photo credit: Hotel Boulderado and Diana Rowe.