7 Coolest Hotels in Boulder with Easy Access to Rocky Mountain National Park

By , August 27th, 2018

Set in the foothills of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where rolling plains meet the geologic spectacle of The Flatirons, Boulder is one of the Centennial State’s most distinguished destinations. Located just 30 minutes northwest of Denver, the town perched 5,430 feet above sea level is home to the University of Colorado at Boulder and boasts more than 300 days of sunshine.

A gateway to some of the state’s most scenic outdoor pursuits—with 300 miles of trails and 45,000 acres of open space, and Rocky Mountain National Park roughly 50 miles north—it’s plain as day why the town was recently recognized by National Geographic and the “Today” show as “The Happiest City in the U.S.” Here are seven of the top hotels to experience what Coloradans playfully call “The People’s Republic of Boulder.”


7 Best Hotels in Boulder

Colorado Chautauqua — A Respite at the Foot of The Flatirons

Visitors seeking a quiet, contemplative stay in Boulder will enjoy the uniqueness of Colorado Chautauqua, set in the shadows of The Flatirons. A historic 22-acre compound comprising 100 cottages—58 available for rent—a restaurant, and an auditorium, there’s no better way to enjoy the area’s numerous trailheads around the famous reddish-brown rock formations, named by pioneer women for their resemblance to flat, metal irons.

Established in 1898 to be used as a “Chautauqua,” a popular U.S. movement in adult education cultivated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the restored cottages range from studios to three-bedroom units and all come with a full-size kitchen and screened-in front porches. In keeping with historic Chautauqua traditions, there are no phones, televisions or computers in the cottages. (Wi-Fi and cell-phone coverage are available.)

Guests can also opt to stay in the Missions House Lodge, built in 1911, which sleeps up to 16 people and can comfortably entertain parties up to 35 guests. From mid-June through August, visitors can also stay at Columbine Lodge, built in 1919 just after World War I, offering modest, studio accommodations in an apartment-style building. Each unit is equipped with a small kitchenette and bath, and either full or twin beds.

With more than 40 miles of open-space trails at their doorstep, visitors can sidestep the headache of finding parking near the popular trailheads. With access to on-site programming and dining, and a short stroll or drive to Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall or the University of Colorado campus, this is the place in town to, as the Colorado Chautauqua Association says, “Escape, Engage, Elevate!”

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Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder and Hilton Garden Inn — Sister Hotels Sharing a Pool with a View


Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder

This dual-managed property, part of the new Hiltons on Canyon collection that includes the Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder and the Hilton Garden Inn, opened in late 2017. Located near the corner of Canyon Blvd. and 28th St., the hotels are centrally located, offering quick access to Boulder’s modern, open-air shopping center, Twenty Ninth Street, as well as the Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall and University of Colorado campus. Bonus? Both hotels offer share access to Boulder’s first and only rooftop pool, where every other Sunday through August includes poolside yoga at 9:30 a.m.


Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder

The Embassy Suites offers 204 two-room suites featuring fancy furnishings, and guests can upgrade to a larger studio unit or a suite with a balcony view of The Flatirons. Visitors can also sign up for a variety of half-day sightseeing tours, whether fly fishing, mountain biking or hiking. The hotel also boasts a two-story fitness center; an on-site bar and restaurant, The Brickstones Kitchen and Bar; and the city’s largest ballroom at more than 6,500 square feet. This dog-friendly hotel even offers a room-service dog menu–including a chicken and rice dish or peanut butter treat–as well as complimentary made-to-order breakfast and an evening wine reception for their humans.

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Guests at the Hilton Garden Inn Boulder is the more casual version of its fancy “suite” sister, offering 172 regular rooms or one-bedroom suites—decorated with local artwork—that are ideal for business travelers. Featuring a fitness center (guests can also use the Embassy Suites one), savory American fare at the Garden Grille, now offering Sunday brunch, and cocktails at the Pavilion Lounge, this is optimum “new” Boulder.

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Hotel Boulderado — A Victorian Gem in the Heart of Historic Downtown

Ask any local to name the city’s most iconic hotel, and they’ll undoubtedly note the one combining “Boulder” and “Colorado,” the historic Hotel Boulderado. A five-story, brick-and-sandstone masterpiece located one block from the famous Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall, the hotel designed in Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival Styles opened in 1909 on New Year’s Day. As the city’s oldest hotel, it has been named on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

More than 100 years after its opening, guests can’t miss the hotel’s historic Victorian charm, from the mosaic-tiled lobby floor to the curved Cherrywood staircase and stained-glass canopy ceiling. The original 1908 Otis elevator also remains in operation, which guests can ride with the help of an attendant.

Debuting a $2.5 million renovation in June 2017, the hotel’s updated design features a reconfigured lobby—complete with a coffee bar serving local Boxcar Coffee and wine/beer, spirits, and small plates—and an updated second-floor mezzanine level. Guests can choose from 160 rooms, including 42 traditional ones honoring the hotel’s Victorian history, or more modern styles in the North Wing (updated in 2016). The hotel also proudly welcomes Fido.

Boasting 10,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel also has three restaurants and bars: Spruce Farm & Fish, The Corner Bar, with the iconic moose perched over original wood bar, and License No. 1—a nod to its distinction as the first bar in the city to hold a liquor license—a speakeasy-style bar offering craft cocktails and entertainment. Large windows throughout offer sweeping views of downtown Boulder and the stunning Flatirons.

Visitors have convenient access to biking and hiking trails, including the popular Boulder Creek Path, and the hotel provides guests and dogs complimentary shuttle service to trailheads, breweries and shops. (Or request to be shuttled in style in a 1977 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II.) Whether visiting for vacation, a college or wedding celebration, or a holiday event, there is undoubtedly no more historic way to experience Boulder.

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Hyatt Place Boulder – Pearl Street — A Hip Hotel Away from the Fray

Located on Pearl Street in the Depot Square—a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development where Boulderites live, work and shop—the 150-room Hyatt Place Boulder – Pearl Street is a respite located near Boulder’s highlights while remaining slightly away from the hubbub. Opened in April 2015, guests are only two miles east of the Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall, with easy access to transportation like eGo CarShare, Boulder B-cycle, and the local bus system. Offering approximately 5,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, a 24-hour gym, indoor swimming pool and complimentary breakfast, the Hyatt Place Boulder is a modern, vibrant option in the heart of town.

Wind down at the hotel’s Coffees to Cocktails Bar, eat from a 24/7 menu or grab a snack at the Gallery Market. Then, make like a local and take a short walk to Twenty Ninth Street for some shopping or grab food next door at the Roadhouse Boulder Depot, a renovated Victorian-era rail station built in 1890 that once served passengers for the Union Pacific Railroad.

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St Julien Hotel & Spa — A Taste of Downtown Luxury

Set just one block from the Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall and a little less than a mile from the University of Colorado campus, the St Julien Hotel & Spa represents the finest accommodations the city has to offer. An upscale spa, hotel and conference center established in March 2005, this is where locals go to feel pampered and visitors enjoy a sumptuous Boulder stay.

Offering 201 rooms, including six two-room suites, the hotel is decorated in soothing textures and colors to create a sense of calm and relaxation. And while it’s big on luxury, the St Julien is not about excess. Indeed, as a committed Colorado green hotel, its Go Green sustainability initiatives have significantly reduced guests’ electricity, gas and water usage, earning several awards including the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association’s Good Earthkeeping Award.

Guests can imbibe at the lobby’s T-Zero Lounge, known for its handcrafted, signature martinis and cocktails made primarily with Colorado spirits. They can also experience one of the best mountain views in Boulder at The Redgarden Terrace at St Julien or eat contemporary American cuisine at Jill’s Restaurant, created with sustainable, organic-farming ingredients.

The hotel also offers unique activity packages, such as the Boulder Brew Package, which includes an exclusive tour and tasting at West Flanders Brewing Company, a Belgian-inspired brewpub located on the Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall. Adventurous travelers can opt for the Boulder Adventure Package, complete with a treatment at Spa at St Julien and a local adventure of choice, from biking to climbing. Want to go full-on Boulder hippie? Try the Very Vegan Package, which includes vegan cocktails and meals, and “The Pampered Vegan” spa treatment. Oh-so-very Boulder!

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Residence Inn Boulder Canyon Boulevard — Long-term Stays in Style


Just a hop across the street from the Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder/Hilton Garden Inn, this long-term, all-suite hotel is ideal for extended stays. Opened in March 2018, the Residence Inn Boulder Canyon Boulevard’s sleek, sophisticated design is an easy sell for visitors staying a few days or a few months.


Offering 155 rooms—spacious studios and one-bedroom suites that include separate living and sleeping areas, and a fully equipped kitchen—complimentary food, wine, and beer Monday through Wednesday nights, a modern fitness center and indoor pool, there’s plenty to keep visitors occupied. As well, the hotel is pet-friendly, and offers a laundry area and free grocery delivery, allowing the ideal set-up for a Boulder home away from home.

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Feature image courtesy of Stephen Collector, Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau