As I peer out the window, my airplane breaks free of clouds, and a string of snow-capped mountains appears. Even though I’m flying into Denver, the view is like a welcome mat for Boulder, Colorado.
Every rolling peak brings back memories of previous business trips and family vacations. And staying at the Hotel Boulderado reminds me of visiting a long-lost friend, one I hadn’t seen in twenty years.
A luxurious stay at Hotel Boulderado
Dating from 1909, the Hotel Boulderado welcomes guests with an atrium-style lobby capped with an illuminated, patterned glass ceiling and exquisite woodwork. That includes the handsome, original staircase, which zigzags upward through balconies and landings. Room decor varies from modern mountain to Victorian grandeur.
Staying here allows one to wake up to splendid sunrises and toast the end of a glorious day with sweeping views of downtown Boulder, the Boulder Flatirons, and the Rocky Mountain foothills.
The hotel’s convenient location allows guests to rest or freshen up before their next activity. In addition, the popular Pearl Street Mall is only one block away, stunning gardens invite strolling nearby neighborhoods, and trailheads lure hikers.
Both locals and guests love The Corner Bar, the hotel bar serving local microbrews, craft cocktails, and suburb bar grub. Whereas the onsite Spruce Farm and Fish restaurant offers seasonal fare, with a bar adding background buzz.
Exploring Boulder’s eateries and shops
Start the day with a cup of Joe at the Great Harvest Bread Co., where the enthusiastic staff welcomes customers with piping hot pastries from the oven. I highly recommend the colossal cinnamon rolls. These are the size of a small pizza.
While there, pick up a loaf of its bread, from Honey Wheat to the Dakota, packed with sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. Or even better, bring home the Cinnamon Burst. Loaded with cinnamon chips and honey, it’s ideal for making honey-drizzled French toast.
Looking for a festive eatery with southern-style comfort food and freshly brewed beer? The Post Chicken & Beer serves a generous side of friendly chats with Boulder’s best beer and burger and a drool-worthy, hot-out-of-the-kitchen, fried chicken sandwich piled high with coleslaw. Dine inside or at a sidewalk table with your pooch.
Open for more than 40 years and touted as the heart and soul of Boulder, Pearl Street spans four brick-paved blocks. Locals and visitors enjoy popping into art galleries and everything from kite shops to a wide range of restaurants.
Spring and summer visits feature a rainbow of flowers and emerald waves of grass. Families and groups of children take advantage of the corridor’s green space with groups of playtime and yoga classes.
A Persian teahouse in the foothills of the Rockies
The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a gift from Dushanbe, the capital of Boulder’s sister city, Tajikstan, brings to mind an ancient Persian palace. More than 40 artisans from this central Asian city created this masterpiece. Its architectural wonders include a hand-carved and painted ceiling, furnishings, and exterior ceramics.
Ask for assistance when selecting the perfect tea, as the extensive menu features more than 100 varieties, from the exotic to the familiar. Owners Sara and Lenny Martinelli traveled far and wide to research tea. An herbalist, Sara understands the health benefits of different plants and can help guide your selection.
Perhaps even more engaging is how the two countries came together. Boulder natives Sophia Stoller and Mary Axe were determined to establish a sister city with a community in the Soviet Union, a Cold War faux pas in 1983.
They succeeded and began a dedicated relationship between Boulder and Dushanbe, Tajikistan, both university towns surrounded by mountains. In 1987, the Dushanbe mayor visited Boulder and announced a gift: a place to sip tea, meet friends, play chess, and enjoy light snacks. The exquisite teahouse opened in May 1998.
Alluring nature trails
Boulder’s gentle nature trails showcase the city’s spectacular landscape. The easy, family-friendly Wonderland Lake winds around a stunning lake in the foothills of North Boulder. Just a tad bit over one mile, it offers excellent photo opportunities as the water reflects deep blue skies and deep green treetops.
An even shorter option is the half-mile-long Red Rocks Trail, which allows one to explore the rich formations.
What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?
- Boulder offers a wide range of shopping, eateries, and outdoor activities.
- Known for its rich history, Boulder offers historic buildings and stunning murals throughout downtown.
- The lauded Boulder Farmers Market takes place in front of the teahouse on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
- Boulder’s downtown district is very walkable.
- Parking is ample, and most spaces have meters.
- If hiking, get an early start. Many of the trail’s parking lots fill up quickly.
- Make restaurant and hotel reservations before your visit during peak tourist seasons.
Disclosure: The Hotel Boulderado hosted the author’s hotel stay and dinner.
IF YOU GO
*For more details, the Visit Boulder website is an excellent resource with information on outdoor adventures, scenic drives, shopping and family fun, breweries and entertainment, guided tours and nightlife.
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