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A look inside the historic Hotel Boulderado

In the heart of the bustling Boulder, Colo., downtown, the historic Hotel Boulderado has been a mainstay since 1909.

During my trip to Colorado, I toured the elegant Victorian-style hotel. Starting in the hotel’s grand lobby, which has a remarkable stained-glass ceiling, I was impressed by the beautiful details that have been preserved over the decades.

The original stained-glass ceiling — created from cathedral glass and imported from Italy — was unfortunately damaged by heavy snowfall in 1959. In the 1970s, the current ceiling was installed to recapture the lobby’s original elegance and grandeur. Today, it’s a stunning backdrop for wedding photos and a highlight of the hotel lobby.

Another of the hotel’s impressively preserved features is the Otis elevator. No ordinary elevator, the operator-attended Otis is more than 100 years old and tweets via its own Twitter account.

Riding the elevator to the Boulderado’s upper floors, I toured several guest rooms and suites elegantly decorated with polished cherry wood furnishings and turn-of-the-century-style decor.

In the hallways, I spotted an antique radio, old-fashion trunks left by travelers, and other relics of the hotel’s storied past. The hotel also showcases its original safe behind the front desk, mosaic tiled floor throughout the lobby and Spruce’s dining room, a beautiful wooden staircase, and a functioning drinking fountain that piped fresh water from the city-owned Arapahoe Glacier [sic].

Dining at Hotel Boulderado

For wining and dining, Hotel Boulderado offers three options. If I lived in Boulder, you’d find me at Spruce for brunch and the “Two Buck Shuck” happy hour at the oyster bar, and License No. 1, the basement speakeasy, would be my go-to spot for date night. When it’s warm, I bet I’d take full advantage of the Corner Bar’s patio, too.

As for Spruce, its seafood-and-farm menu features fresh ingredients from Colorado farmers and ranchers at reasonable prices for a quality dining experience. Entrees — like the Colorado Striped Bass and Lemon Caper Natural Chicken — range from $14 to $32 in price. For health-conscious diners, the menu includes vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and healthy options — even a delicious flourless chocolate cake for dessert!

License No. 1 is the recently revamped basement speakeasy. Its name, of course, refers to holding the first liquor license in Boulder. Interestingly, since Colorado has become a drinker’s destination, Boulder was once a dry city — both before and after Prohibition. In 1969, Boulder undid the ban on booze, and the Hotel Boulderado’s basement bar has been legally serving its patrons ever since.

Some things to note about License No. 1 include: the happy hour special is 25 percent off your entire bill from 5 to 7 p.m., the Hotel Boulderado has its own single-barrel Kentucky bourbon, there is nightly live music and/or DJs, and the bar closes at the early and classy hour of midnight.

At the corner of 13th and Spruce, the Corner Bar has been a happening gathering spot for the past 20 years among locals and travelers alike. On a sunny day, the patio is the place to be during the 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour.

Staying in a Victorian-Era hotel is not every traveler’s cup of tea, but, if you are in Boulder, you should at least dine at Spruce or grab a drink at one of the bars, take a sip of water from the old drinking fountain, and take in the view of the cherry staircase, beautiful stained-glass ceiling and detailed mosaic tile flooring.

Have you ever stayed in a historic hotel? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

Wish you were here,



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