Since covering travel in Colorado for the past several years, I’ve long heard about the upscale St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder, Colorado. The college town isn’t known for its luxury properties, which makes the St. Julien a true gem in the mountains. Eight years after it first opened, I finally stayed at the St. Julien last month — with three teenage girls in tow, the night before I was to drop them off at University of Colorado volleyball camp. Here are the highlights of this beautiful, four-story, sandstone hotel on lovely manicured grounds:
Friendly staff: A welcoming valet attended to parking my car ($20 overnight) quickly when I pulled up to the entrance to the hotel. This tired mom (after driving 5 hours in highway construction) didn’t even ask if there was a self-pay option — the convenience and ease of having a valet park my car on property trumped any cheaper cost available to me. First thing I noticed at the entrance were the butter-yellow cruiser bikes lined up outside the glass doors; these are for guests’ complimentary use, which I love, since Boulder is a very bike-friendly town, with plenty of bike lanes and paved recreational paths.
Inside, the front-desk staff was equally amiable. Plus, we noticed upon entry to the beautifully decorated lobby that it had that wonderful lavender scent of a spa — which also made me feel instantly lighter and at ease after a long drive from the mountains.
Location: The St. Julien is just a couple blocks away from Boulder’s popular Pearl Street pedestrian mall, which draws visitors especially in the summer months with its street performers, al fresco dining options and ice cream shops. I let the girls explore here after dinner, and they came back to the room telling tales of a “guy on the street who could guess what town we lived in when we told him our zip codes!” To the west of the hotel is a residential area with sidewalks; it’s a bit hilly, and I walked here in the morning for a slice of exercise.
Accommodations & Decor: Our plush room accommodated our group of one adult and three young women with two queen-sized beds and a generously sized bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower. I loved the classy earth tones, not to mention the comfy bed (even though I had to share it with my teeth-grinding teen). Other nice in-room amenities: complimentary bottled water and a Keurig coffeemaker with a good supply of caffeinated K-cups (I dislike when hotels give you one coffee pod, and one decaf coffee pod — not enough for this morning caffeine fanatic.)
The public areas, too, such as little seating arrangements outside the bank of elevators on each floor, are sophisticated but warm. The open and airy lobby is filled with different places to sit and relax with a drink, or chat with other hotel guests. In particular the large, plush couches in front of a huge fireplace caught my eye; I imagine a fire is roaring there in the winter months.
Dining: Had I arrived at the St. Julien with my husband instead of three teens, I would have made a beeline for the sophisticated T-Zero Lounge, where the hotel’s signature martinis are served, followed by a romantic meal at Jill’s — known for it’s tableside flambe — yes, appetizers, entrees and desserts are fired up before your eyes.
Instead, I brought the girls to one of my old favorite haunts from 15 years ago when I actually lived in Boulder for a short time: The Med restaurant, with its upbeat, colorful patio, is just one block away from the St. Julien. We thoroughly enjoyed the lively scene, not to mention the fresh bread, wood-fired pizzas, filling pasta and vegetable kabobs with jasmine rice (oh, and my two glasses of much-deserved wine).
Pool and hot tub: After dinner and the girls’ exploration of the Pearl Street shops, they donned bathing suits to take a dip in the large indoor pool and adjacent hot tub. The St. Julien has a very pretty pool area, as well as a fitness center offered to guests. Though I smelled the lovely lavender scent wafting from 10,000-square-foot spa, I frankly didn’t have time to check it out during my less-than-24-hour stay at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa. Next time!
I received complimentary accommodations at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa for purposes of editorial review.
Boulder is one of the “Day Trips from Denver” I recommend on the Expedia Viewfinder blog, where I cover not only Colorado, but Mexico, Boston, Portland and other favorite domestic and international locales.