Travel: Postcard from Boulder

The landmark Hotel Boulderado in Boulder, Colorado.
The landmark Hotel Boulderado in Boulder, Colorado. | Courtesy photo

Forget whatever you think you know about Boulder, Colorado.

Yes, Boulder is unabashedly on the political left. But Boulder has more to offer visitors than just its brand of politics, which admittedly isn’t anywhere near the spot I occupy on the left-right spectrum.

Perhaps one of the unexpected things the city has to offer is a landmark hotel that for me was a destination in and of itself. Don’t even consider booking a room at a generic chain hotel.

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The place to stay is the 115-year-old Hotel Boulderado. The name itself is a portmanteau of Boulder and Colorado.

While typical of the hotels that many cities had in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it’s quite unlike the kind of hotels that are built today.

This is very evident upon arrival in the lobby, which is dominated by a stately cherry wood staircase, stained-glass ceiling and even the original elevator, a manually operated Otis elevator that still takes guests up and down floors. The overall theme is vaguely Victorian or Edwardian with hints of the Old West.

Inside the Hotel Boulderado lobby.
Inside the Hotel Boulderado lobby. | Courtesy photo

Updated over the ensuing decades, Hotel Boulderado has a modern annex that doesn’t take away from staying in the original National Register of Historic Places-listed building, which is influenced by Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival architectural styles. My room featured a blend of historic elegance and the amenities you expect in 2024.

To the west of Boulder are the Flatirons — the mountains that mark the beginning of the Rockies and form the city’s picture-perfect backdrop. On the east side of the city is where the vast high plains start.

Combined with the large number of open lands and spaces, Boulder with its elevation of 5,430 feet, is a good base to explore the beauty of creation without leaving the comforts of a city. In other words, you can get outdoorsy without getting too outdoorsy.

If you go

Given Boulder is home to Colorado’s flagship university, the University of Colorado Boulder, you may want to visit around a Buffaloes football game in the fall.

Restaurants to consider eating at include Bramble and Hare, Frasca Food and Wine or Spruce Farm & Fish, the restaurant inside Hotel Boulderado. There’s also the option of room service, which is getting harder and harder to find these days as many hotels eliminated room service during the pandemic.

Some of the best hikes are at the 80-acre Chautauqua Park, which owes its existence to the Chautauqua movement at the turn of the last century. The movement itself was largely the work of Methodists.

Getting here from the closest major airport some 40 miles away in Denver is easy. While ride-sharing services and public transportation options to and from the airport are available and reliable, you will need a rental car to get out and do things. That includes a visit to Colorado’s Chapel-on-the-Rock.

Dennis Lennox writes a travel column for The Christian Post.

Dennis Lennox writes about travel, politics and religious affairs. He has been published in the Financial Times, Independent, The Detroit News, Toronto Sun and other publications. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter.

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