Hotel Boulderado, Boulder, Colorado

Hotel  Boulderado, Boulder CO
Hotel Boulderado

Hotel Boulderado has been a vital fixture in Boulder since its opening on New Year’s Eve in 1909. On my recent visit to this is a first-class hotel, I had the pleasure of staying in the Presidential Suite. The Hotel Boulderrado was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

The Grand Lobby

Grand Lobby of the Hotel Boulderado
Grand Lobby of the Hotel Boulderado

Entering the Grand Lobby of the Hotel Boulderado can take your breath away, not only because of the mile-high altitude but because of the grandeur of the lobby.   Your eye is immediately drawn up the Grand Staircase and up five stories to the magnificent stained glass ceiling. 

Grand Lobby of the Hotel Boulderado

Initially, guests entered the lobby from Spruce Street. And the Spruce Street entrance is genuinely the way to experience the Grand Lobby.  It impresses visitors.

Today, you enter the hotel from 13th Street and enter the Grand Lobby through an atrium. Many marriage proposals and wedding vows have been exchanged on that magnificent staircase.

Maria Garcia, an architect from California, lived in the hotel for over a year to work on the handmade Italian glass ceiling. In 1959 snowstorm damaged the glass ceiling tiles causing it to be replaced with 1960s plexiglass. Today, the stunning glass ceiling has been restored and returned the lobby to its dazzling historic look. 

Fresh Water

Drinking fountain at the Hotel Boulderado
Drinking Fountain

Fresh, clean water was an important issue when the hotel was constructed in the early 1900s. The City of Boulder piped in 100% of its water from the Arapaho Glacier. Today, Boulder has a population of over one hundred thousand, and only 2% of its water comes from the glacier. 

The Presidential Suite

As someone who enjoys learning about Presidential history, I thought it appropriate to be enjoying the Presidential Suite on President’s Day.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find any presidential connection for the suite. The suite located on the third floor was created from two original historic wing rooms.  The large sitting room is decorated in classic Victorian period style and overlooks Spruce Street with a view of the nearby Boulder Theater.

The sitting room has ample seating, a dining table, desk, bar, and mini-fridge.  The relaxing king-size bed in the adjoining bedroom was constructed from two vintage single beds to form its headboard.   Here is a quick look at the room. 

Tour of the Presidential Suite

As I waited for a friend to join me for drinks the evening of my arrival, I heard the wind whistling through the old windows.  Honest, old-world charm. 

Spruce Farm & Fish

Spruce Farm and Fish
Spruce Farm and Fish

Dining at Spruce Farm & Fish after cocktails with a friend, who had driven up from Littleton, was a treat. We started with deviled eggs, which seem to be the rage right now. Being from the Gulf Coast, I don’t usually order seafood when I‘m in the middle of the county. But on the recommendation of Sam, our waiter, I order the Monkfish stuffed with crabmeat over risotto.  Dessert was a creamy Key Lime Pie.

Light snow flurries began to fall as we finished our sumptuous dinner.  It was a chilly Colorado night, but I had to step out and experience the snow.  That didn’t last long, and it was back upstairs to my lovely, cozy room for me.

License No. 1

License No. 1
License No. 1

You will find the speakeasy in the basement of the hotel.  It is dark and low ceilinged but serves some tasty cocktails, and has an excellent happy hour.  The bar is not original to the Boulderado because Boulder was a dry county until 1967. 

Roasted Brussell Sprots  and cauliflower with a Negoni
Roasted Brussell Sprouts and cauliflower with a Negroni

The Corner Bar

The Corner Bar, just off the lobby, is a casual place to enjoy a cocktail or a bite to eat. It affords a great spot to people watch.  The Corner Bar space served as a retail space for the hotel.  In fact, until 1995, it was a high-end men’s clothier.

The Otis Elevator

Going Up!

The original 1908 Otis elevator, while tiny by today’s standards, it is a special treat for guests.  They are accompanied in the elevator by a guest attendant to their floor.  The ride provides guests with the charm of the hotel.  On the third floor, I could ring the bell, and one of the attendants would come and get me. It was never a long wait.  Here is my ride with Andrew.

Otis Elevator ride

The North Wing

Stained glass in the North Wing ceiling
Stained glass in the North Wing ceiling

A skyway connects the third floor to the North Wing of the hotel. The North Wing, constructed in 1985, was designed to complement the historic building not to copy it.  You may not find the fine details of the landmark here, but you will discover upscale, comfortable rooms.  The event center that adjoins the North Wing offers a large event space.

View from the North Wing Skyway
View from the North Wing Skyway

The Historic Treasures that is The Hotel Boulderado

Laurel McKown shared the history of the Boulderado with me as we walked throughout the hotel.  In the early 1900s, the people of Boulder wanted a luxury hotel to attract more visitors to the town.  The hotel took two years to build, and the foundation was hand excavated. Architects William Redding and Sons designed the building in a combination of both Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival.  The columns reflect the Italian influence and the ironwork the Spanish.  Ninety rooms comprised the original hotel structure. Today 42 rooms still serve in the historic wing of the hotel.  

For 108 years, the hotel’s reception desk was ensconced on the side of the Grand Lobby.  You can see the hotel’s original safe and key cubbies were kept.  Today, the reception desk has been moved to its present location alongside the atrium entrance.  This space was originally the women’s writing room.  The gentleman’s cigar room was located where the Spruce Bar is.   

Original reception desk
Original reception desk

Owners Frank and Gina Day have put a lot of money and time into returning the Boulderado the showplace it once was. 

On the third floor, I found some historical treasures from the hotel.  Trunks found in the hotel basement where License No. 1 bar is now.  There were many pieces of Victorian period furniture, some having been used in the hotel.  

Boulderado Trunks
Ice Box

Nearby Boulder Restaurants

On my first morning, I enjoyed a beignet breakfast at Lucille’s Creole Cafe a short block away.  The beignets were much larger than I have eaten in New Orleans, but they were mouth-watering.  Lucille’s is a small restaurant for breakfast and lunch favored by locals. 


A friend, who lives in Boulder, met me for lunch, suggesting Italian cuisine at Via Perla.  I could not have been happier. There is nothing better than a dish of Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese and a glass of Pinot Noir. It is the perfect pairing for a lunchtime meal. Our shared dessert of Budino al Cioccolato, a dark chocolate custard covered with chocolate ganache was divine.

I meandered my way back to the hotel, enjoying the sights, sounds, shops, and churches of Boulder.  There seemed to be a church on every corner. 

Heading Home

Hotel Boulderado
Hotel Boulderado in the early morning

My delightful short stay at the Hotel Boulderado ended in the dark, early morning when I was whisked back to the airport for my early flight home.  Seek out this first-class hotel.  If you are in the area, stop in and enjoy the Victorian flair of the 1900s, try a cocktail at License No. 1, or simply look up to marvel at the ceiling in the lobby.  I know you will not be disappointed.

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