The Art of Hospitality: Inside Hotel Boulderado in Boulder, CO

A Historic Gem in Downtown Boulder

Welcome to Boulder, Colorado, home of the historic Hotel Boulderado. This stately structure, positioned at the intersection of 13th and Spruce St., has been a centerpiece of the city since its doors opened on New Year’s Day, 1909.

The hotel’s name, a clever fusion of “Boulder” and “Colorado,” was designed to ensure no guest would forget the unique place they had stayed.

Envisioned and built when Boulder was a burgeoning railroad hub and a cultural hotspot known as the “Athens of the West,” the Hotel Boulderado was meant to match the city’s prestige and ambition.

Committees from Boulder’s Commercial Association raised funds, and the Boulder Hotel Company, formed through this initiative, owned the hotel until 1939.

Architectural Grandeur and Timeless Elegance

The architectural brilliance of the Hotel Boulderado is impossible to ignore. Its design, a work of Redding, William, & Son and Geranson & Beckstrom, resonates with an intriguing blend of Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival styles.

Celebrated today as one of the most significant landmarks in downtown Boulder, the hotel’s five-story brick building is a testimony to Boulder’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s.

When the hotel opened, it immediately became the most luxurious in town, offering daily rates ranging from $1 to $2.50 per night.

It attracted guests from all over the nation, and local organizations often held grand dances and soirees within its elegant confines.

The Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression

The hotel experienced a thriving period during the Roaring Twenties. Under the management of Wallace & Sons and its successors, F.F. Thatcher and Hugh Mark, the hotel was so successful that the Boulder Hotel Company managed to retire its debt by 1925.

However, the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s brought severe challenges, with many guestrooms remaining vacant throughout the crisis.

Despite the difficulties, the hotel found new owners, William Huston and his son, who invested heavily in the building’s restoration, reaffirming the Hotel Boulderado’s status as a luxury destination.

A Modernized Legacy

Over the years, the Hotel Boulderado has undergone several renovations, transforming smaller guest rooms into larger spaces and adding two annexes, increasing the total guestroom count to 160.

Despite these changes, the hotel has retained its historic charm, housing three restaurants and a speakeasy-style bar, License No. 1, in the basement.

The Hotel Boulderado has also earned a place in pop culture, appearing in Stephen King’s novel Misery.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning the intriguing stories of Room 347, said to be haunted by ghost sightings and mysterious water incidents reported by guests over the years.

Spectral Stories of Hotel Boulderado

According to popular local lore, the Hotel Boulderado is a hotspot for spectral activities. One of the most talked-about occurrences is centered around Room 347.

Visitors inhabiting this particular suite have relayed intriguing accounts of inexplicable happenings, including the water taps spontaneously springing to life during the nighttime hours.

Some have even seen apparitions, adding a chilling layer to the hotel’s rich history.

But Room 347 is not the only part of the hotel known for its spectral activities. The entire hotel building, with its intriguing history and numerous guests over the years, has earned a reputation for being haunted.

Various accounts from guests and staff over the years have reported strange sounds, moving objects, and unexplained cold spots throughout the building.

Despite its ghostly reputation, or perhaps because of it, the Hotel Boulderado remains a beloved landmark in Boulder.

The stories of ghostly encounters add an extra layer of intrigue to the hotel’s history, making a stay at the Hotel Boulderado an experience like no other.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or are a skeptic, the tales of ghostly encounters at the Hotel Boulderado are integral to its enduring charm.

After all, what’s a historical hotel without a few good ghost stories?

A Proud Member of Historic Hotels of America

The Hotel Boulderado takes immense pride in its affiliation with the Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Recognized as a member since 1996, the hotel is a testament to Boulder’s rich cultural heritage and architectural grandeur.

The Historic Hotels of America is an esteemed organization that acknowledges and promotes hotels with significant historical value.

It aims to preserve and highlight these establishments’ unique stories and architectural wonders, enhancing the experience for visitors who seek to delve into the past.

Hotel Boulderado is one such establishment, with over a century of history etched into its walls.

The hotel’s inclusion in this prestigious group also testifies to its quality of service and guest experience.

It adheres to the program’s high standards for hospitality, ensuring that every guest is treated to a unique blend of historic charm and modern comfort.

In addition, Hotel Boulderado’s membership with the Historic Hotels of America signifies its commitment to preserving and sharing the rich history of Boulder.

As a result, guests are not just booking a stay at a hotel; they’re stepping into a living museum that offers a unique glimpse into Colorado‘s past.

Embracing Transformation at Hotel Boulderado

As one of Boulder’s most cherished landmarks, the hotel has witnessed over a century of change, evolving alongside the city it calls home.

Now, at the threshold of a new era, Hotel Boulderado is poised to undergo a significant transformation that honors its past while looking toward the future.

The proposed change, a delicate yet bold step, involves converting part of the hotel’s annex into additional guest rooms.

This annex, a non-historic addition from the 1980s, currently houses meeting spaces primarily used for business conferences and social events like weddings.

Hotel Boulderado
Hotel Boulderado” by teofilo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The hotel’s management envisions a different use for this space, responding to the evolving needs of Boulder and its visitors.

The plan suggests a modern adaptation, aiming to add 15 new rooms, including luxurious two-bedroom suites and rooms enhanced for accessibility.

This move acknowledges the changing demands of contemporary hospitality and reflects the hotel’s commitment to inclusivity and comfort.

Still in the planning stages, this decision comes at a critical juncture. The Hotel Boulderado, steeped in history, faces the challenge of maintaining its heritage while adapting to a competitive and ever-changing market.

The proposed renovations are not merely structural changes but a statement of resilience and adaptability.

By focusing on premium meeting spaces in the historic building and expanding guest accommodations, the hotel strategically positions itself to continue being a centerpiece in Boulder’s vibrant community.

The proposed change is thus more than a renovation; it is a renewal of commitment, a pledge to continue serving guests with the same warmth and excellence that has defined the Hotel Boulderado for over a hundred years.

Hotel Boulderado
Hotel Boulderado” by wselman is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

While the final decision on the renovation is anticipated in the early months of 2024, with potential commencement by late 2024 or early 2025, the spirit of transformation is already palpable.

The Hotel Boulderado, much like the city of Boulder itself, continues to evolve, embrace change, and look forward with optimism to the next chapter in its illustrious journey.

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