Hotel Boulderado Links Past to Present

One takes a risk lodging at hotels trumpeting their advanced age; the same sort of things you don’t like about some old hotels can be the same things anyone doesn’t like about old houses, old computers and old cheese. Thankfully, the cozily unique but thoroughly up-to-date Hotel Boulderado, located right in the middle of thoroughly up-to-date Boulder, CO, provides everything and anything anyone wants in a hotel whatever its age; comfy beds, excellent food and drink, keen staff and, at no extra charge, a few ghosts. Yes – ghosts. The place has been known for spooks for much of its existence, with reports of televisions turning themselves off and on, a grandfather clock with hands waving wildly, windows spontaneously opening and other signs of playful and not-so-playful spirits. You can’t blame them for sticking around, though; the place has the Taft administration era all over it, from its stained glass canopy ceiling, cantilevered cherry wood staircase, original mosaic tile floor and display cases full of vintage documents and knick-knacks. The longer you stay, the more it seems to breathe. Despite the nearby Pearl Street pedestrian mall’s carnival of stores, street performers, restaurants and souvenir shops, I barely left the hotel over a two-day stay, content to surround myself with history and unseen spirits. Rooms are thoroughly up-to-date whether your choose a simple Victorian bedroom with accompanying living room or the Presidential suite which has hosted some of rock music’s most celebrated legends like Graham Nash, David Crosby, or, more recently, Robert Plant, who has been stopping at the Hotel Boulderado during tours since the late 80s. All rooms have free wi-fi as well as high-definition television, an iPod dock, windows that actually open and close and more, further cementing its worthiness.

presidential suite
Photo: Allison M. Fleetwood Jr. Architectural Photography

If and when you get the thirst, Bacon bloody Marys and Strawberry Basil martinis are just two of the many inventive and powerful concoctions available at the hotel’s Corner Bar. License #1 offers cocktails and live music, and the restaurant, Spruce Farm and Fish, serves up exquisitely crafted dishes like roasted sweet corn soup, cornmeal fried oysters, Colorado striped bass and other savory choices. The hotel also offers themed events galore for the holidays and other occasions, and its charming gift shop sells a book titled “Legend Of A Landmark – A History of the Hotel Boulderado” if you’d like to delve further into its history. In a world where relics of a more innocent, sincere time in America are endlessly mined and occasionally mocked, the Boulderado stands alone as an unapologetic throwback, grand when it launched and equally grand today.

josh max

Josh Max grew up on a rural Westchester road next to a garage, and designed his first car, the "Washington" - an answer to "Lincoln" - when he was four. He read and memorized the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Car Care And Repair at 16 and was soon gapping plugs, changing clutch cables, rotating tires and anything else that didn't require a lift. He has test-driven over 776 cars and trucks and published over 2,000 articles in major media.