Nestled at the Rocky Mountain foothills, in Boulder, Colorado, sits a 160-room hotel radiating historic character.
“When you walk into Hotel Boulderado, guests are instantly charmed with the exquisite customer service and beautiful historic property,” says Creighton Smith, general manager of the hotel.
Built in the early 20 century, the hotel’s name is a combination of “Boulder,” and “Colorado.” At the time, Boulder was already an established and refined city, and home to the University of Colorado. The gold and silver mining boom may have ended, but the tourists still flocked to the “Athens of the West” via train because of its breathtaking views and cultural benefits. The hotel was constructed to accommodate its new sophisticated visitors—located one block off of Pearl Street Mall, known for its al fresco dining, shopping, and the arts.
“The hotel is registered on the National Historic Landmark list and this legacy translates through exceptional curation of the hotel,” says Smith.
The space exudes remarkable appeal, which might be from the attendant-operated Otis elevator that transported guests from floor to floor in 1909, and still operates today. Or it could be the five-story cantilevered cherrywood staircase, or the illuminating stained-glass atrium roof above the lobby that makes you stop and look up.
Progressive local politics in combination with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union transformed Boulder into a dry city in 1907, prior to Prohibition. Hotel Boulderado became one of the first businesses in the city to obtain a liquor license after citywide prohibition was lifted in 1967. Guests can now step back in time inside License No. 1, the hotel’s underground retro-style bar. Two other restaurants remain on-site as well.
A meeting spot for many prominent people of the era, well-known guests have included Louis Armstrong, Ethel Barrymore, Helen Keller, and Robert Frost. Over the past century, the property has honored its commitment to be “more than a City of Boulder Landmark” by not only meticulously maintaining the building but also striving to be a positive influence in the community by practicing environmentally sustainable methods.
After undergoing a 2.5 million-renovation, completed in June 2017, the historic hotel is more in flow with modern living. Thanks to a reconfigured lobby, guests are invited to linger with a strategic new layout and additional seating. Front desk operations moved to the former gift shop, immediately inside the front entrance, to allow for more space in the lobby. The former front desk area has been transformed into a computer bar, complete with electrical outlets. Behind it sits the original well-preserved keyboxes. A display cabinet near the front entrance showcases celebrated elements, including the 100-year founding of Boulder, historic postcards, events calendars, and magazine features.
The second-floor mezzanine level also endured an overhaul to better showcase sweeping mountain and downtown views, and to accommodate larger meetings and events.
Although the lobby and mezzanine are the most drastic improvements to date, the hotel has undergone many additional updates, such as a complete remodel of all guest rooms in the North Wing, allowing guests to choose between Victorian-styled rooms in the historic section or modern styles in the North Wing. The Ballroom and Event Center was also redone, bringing in modern mountain décor along with historic elements, including artwork and photography that capture the historic elements of the property.
“When guests visit Hotel Boulderado and continue to come back to see us, they're looking for luxury accommodations with a fascinating history and a deep connection to the community. Our location is unique and offers guests an unlimited amount of activities including access to the outdoors and the famous Pearl Street Mall,” says Smith.
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