The holidays are a stressful time. Getting the house ready, buying presents, making sure you see all the friends and family and traveling all add up. My wife’s birthday lands right at the beginning of December, which can make it disappear into all the surrounding craziness. So when the Hotel Boulderado invited us up for a weekend, I jumped on the chance to treat her to a weekend in Boulder.
Boulder is not at all far from where we live, it’s just an hour drive or so from Denver, but in a lot of ways, it feels like a whole different world. Coloradans call it the “People’s Republic of Boulder” which fits nicely. It’s a beautiful city at the base of the Flatirons and it has always done things its own way. Boulder has a truly independent spirit.
For more than 100 years, Hotel Boulderado has been one of the most famous landmarks in Boulder. Stepping into Hotel Boulderado is to be transported into Boulder’s colorful past, yet the hotel embraces the modern and somewhat unconventional style of current day Boulder. The first thing you notice in the hotel is the famous stained-glass ceiling in the atrium, it is absolutely incredible.
During the holidays, the hotel’s lobby is truly something special. Garlands cover the grand cherrywood staircase and centered in the atrium is an incredible 28’ live White Fir Christmas tree. After checking in, an attendant in the original Otis elevator takes you to your floor. Or you can take the rather majestic cantilevered cherrywood staircase where countless couples have tied the knot.
Hotel Boulderado has three restaurant and bar options. Their signature restaurant, Spruce Farm & Fish serves up a great mix of locally inspired dishes, we enjoyed both dinner and brunch. In the hotel’s basement, you can experience the vintage ambiance of the Hotel Boulderado’s speakeasy, License No. 1 (they hold Boulder’s first liquor license after prohibition was lifted in 1967). Their old fashioned is fantastic. Finally, the Boxcar Coffee Bar in the lobby serves coffee and pastries.
The hotel’s 160 rooms have all the modern luxuries but they also retain some of their Victorian charm. We stayed in a King Suite, with a large sitting room, spacious bedroom, and gigantic second story patio. The entire room is decorated in classic Victorian style. There is, of course, complimentary Wi-Fi, comfy high-end bedding, and modern bathrooms with Aveda toiletries. So you’re not stepping back in time in ways you wouldn’t want to.
Throughout the years, the Boulder landmark has hosted everyone from Ethel Barrymore and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., to Robert Frost, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong. The hotel continues that social tradition by serving traditional holiday teas and providing live music in the lobby and open mic nights and special events at License No. 1.
Hotel Boulderado is located just a few steps from the Pearl Street Mall, so we spent most of our time in Boulder wandering the mall and shopping local for gifts. We also took the opportunity to sit down for a long, absolutely incredible meal at the Black Cat, one of the best restaurants in Colorado. If you want to explore further than on foot, you can take a ride in the hotel’s Mercedes van or if you want a special treat aks the hotel’s Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II for a ride.
The Hotel Boulderado is a fantastic getaway in a truly unique town. In the hotel’s lobby, there’s some literature from the 1920s, one example reads: “every guest may expect the best and get it.” I’d say that still holds true. We’ll definitely be back, although next time I think my bike will have to come along for the trip. Being that close to the flatirons without having a way to ride them is a little tough.