Ghosts, Galas, and Gatsby?– The Hotel Boulderado is the one-stop-shop for all three
I love this place. Not only for its colorful amalgamation of Colorado and Boulder (I see what you did there), nor for it’s weird synesthesia-effect of bringing to mind old Eagles hits, but because it’s been around for over one hundred years, and that’s pretty frickin’ cool.
I’ve bypassed the Hotel on my way to Ozo Coffee or after window-shopping and drooling over at the fjallraven store (*envious sigh*), but it wasn’t until recently that I realized this hotel had some pretty hefty history behind it. A plaque on the outside of the hotel reads: “Hotel Boulderado opened January 1st, 1908– Has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of The Interior.” According to the Hotel website, the Boulderado opened in 1908 after a newly built train station brought in high volumes of workers and tourists. The owners decided to open the Hotel on New Year’s Eve, throwing a huge gala party that attracted a numerous amount of guests. Even today, the Hotel Boulderado is known for throwing the best New Year’s Eve party in town. And once going inside, you can see why: the place is brilliant, decked out in some truly beautiful cherry wood fixtures, a golden-lacquered stain glass ceiling that must have inspired Fitzgerald while writing The Great Gatsby, and Instagram-worthy stair cases. It seriously looks like you’ve stepped back in time to the roaring 20s. Every color is lush and saturated, with dark red velvet couches, stenciled blue wallpaper, and towering marble pillars. It’s worth it to take a look if you have time during your day. The place is ornate. Scintillating. And to top it off, it’s basically a museum with 100-year-old artifacts residing inside. As you enter, there’s a variety of artifacts: ranging from shoes found between the floor joists during a remodeling period and thought to have been there since the Hotel’s genesis, an old cash register they used when The Hotel first opened, and a register of names for the people who originally stayed there during the first week (check for an ancestor!). The hotel even has the original manually operated elevator from when they first opened their doors.
And if you’re looking for a little scare, some people say the place is haunted and riddled with ghost and ghouls. After talking to some of the staff, I was told in a patented eerie whisper that, “an old lady in a rocking chair tends to frequent the place pretty regularly.” She apparently wears a flowing Victorian gown, a shawl, and is vaguely transparent. Occasionally guests will tell staff that they felt “someone sitting on my bed last night” and have frequent problems of closing windows and then upon re-inspection of the rooms, said windows are miraculously open again. In the spirit of these spirits (see what I did there?) the Hotel Boulderado occasionally holds Murder Mystery Parties complete with dinner and performance.
If you’re into this sort of intrigue and horror, as well as relevant literary allusions, the Hotel Boulderado is also famously the setting and site for Stephen King’s novel, Misery. The premise is a writer named Paul Sheldon who habitually finishes his first draft of a crime novel in the same hotel room at the Hotel Boulderado. Later, the writer is kidnapped by a deranged super fan who orders him to bring back the protagonist of his book, Misery Chastain, who he had killed off in his last novel. The novel gets into all sorts of miserable doings the super fan inflicts on Mr. Sheldon, but don’t worry! That takes place in the fictive town “Sidewinder’, CO, not at the Hotel, so you’re safe from super fans here. But after seeing the Hotel Boulderado, it does seem like a good location for a thriller setting—there’s no lack of inspiration from the Spanish Revival architecture and roaring 20’s vibe, plus plenty of history to get lost in, as well as getting lost in its corridors. So, if you want to go somewhere for a little historical knowledge, for an aesthetic good time, and maybe to run into the King of Horror himself, come to the Hotel Boulderado– they have it all there.