Thursday, August 27, 2009

Michael Jackson Dance Party on Saturday

Our office is buzzing with preparations for our Michael Jackson Dance Party, which is taking place this Saturday night in the Ballroom from 7pm-11pm. Saturday would have been MJ's 50th birthday, so to commemorate him and the wonderful charitable spirit he embodied, the Hotel Boulderado is joining forces with the Make-a-Wish Foundation for this special event. Each ticket is $19, and $15 of that goes directly to the foundation. In addition, local businesses like Marianna's Spa, Old Chicago, and Q's Restaurant have been generous enough to donate some merchandise and gift certificates for a raffle that will also benefit Make-a-Wish. Specialty cocktails, like the staff's favorite, Beat It (orange-flavored vodka, condensed milk, passion fruit juice, and triple sec) or the Rhinestone Glove (red wine, amaretto, and ginger ale) will be available at the cash bar. Fun hors d'oeuvres like "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" Hummus and Olives, or "The Way You Make Me Feel" About Fruit and Cheese will keep the energy high for dancing all night. DJ Chris will be spinning Jackson hits all night long, and special break-dancing performances from Streetside Studios, Break EFX, and Casablanca Dance Studio will inspire you to bring out those old-school, b-bop moves. Speaking of dancing, there's a dance contest as well as a costume contest, and prizes will be awarded for the winners. Reservations are still available, but not many! Book yours today either by calling us at (303) 440-2880 or book online.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Burger and Beer Package

With the economy in the shape it is, travelers are increasingly looking to get as much value out of their dollar as possible. One popular way to stretch your budget even further is to purchase a hotel room package, where in addition to your room or suite, additional amenities and perks are bundled in for a marginally higher price. Take the Burger & Beer Package at the Hotel Boulderado. When you book this package, you receive the room, valet parking, and a complimentary burger and glass of beer in the Corner Bar, just off the Boulderado's lobby. It's almost like booking the room and getting the burger, beer, and parking for free! Who wouldn't love that? Since the Corner Bar has one of the best patios in downtown Boulder, try and enjoy your meal out there so you can take in the sun, mountains, and passersby-watching!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Otis Elevator

Some people love it, some people hate it. I hear "It's so charming and authentic!" or "It's scary. Why can't I control it myself?" and I know people are talking about the Hotel Boulderado's historic Otis elevator. It's the only still-operating model of its kind this side of the Mississippi, and it is true that you need one of our staff members to operate it. It was installed in 1908 and the elevator you take today on the historic side of the hotel is the very same one from 101 years ago. It has become quite popular with wedding photographers, like Mark Cafiero (picture below), who are looking to infuse the Boulderado's antique charm into their couple's wedding shots.

Taking a ride on the historic Otis elevator can make your tummy do flips on its way up or down, and sometimes you have to take a big step to reach the floor if the attendant misses it. But it also embodies the historic nature of the Hotel Boulderado, and that's why I love it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hugh Mark

A little bit of Boulderado history for you today concerning another early owner and manager, Hugh Mark (seen left ~ photo from the Mark family collection). When the Hotel Boulderado opened in 1909, local residents were allowed to come in the night before to inspect the hotel's elegance and luxury. Hugh Mark was one of the people who stopped by on December 31, 1908. He would return just a few years later, in 1912, as the Assistant Manager to William Beattie, whom we met in a previous blog post.

Hugh Mark married a schoolteacher, Etta, in 1916, and the next year Beattie transferred managerial duties to Mark. Over the next few months, Hugh Mark enlisted the help of other local businessmen to put together a proposal by which they would jointly buy the hotel. Hugh Mark owned the largest share, taking half the stock in recognition for his manager position. They wrote, "It is our aim to conduct the Hotel in a first-class manner in every way." Beginning on June 1st, 1917, Hugh Mark received a salary of $100 each month in addition to room and board for his family.

Hugh Mark transformed the day-to-day operations of the Hotel Boulderado into a family business. His brother, Leonard, went to work as a desk clerk, and another brother, William, was employed as the engineer in charge of the coal furnace in the basement. Frank Mark worked as the dining room chef, and his wife, Alza, became known throughout the community as the dining room's hostess. Here's a newspaper clipping from 1932 advertising for their New Years Day dinner.

Hugh and Etta soon started their own family, bringing two children into the world and into the Boulderado. Bill and Betty lived in the hotel with their parents. Hugh and Bill shared the upstairs apartments in room 505 while Etta and Betty occupied 203 and 204. (These two second-floor rooms were later converted into the Evergreen Room, now used for meetings and as part of Mezzanine weddings.) Betty Mark later recalled in adulthood, "The whole hotel was my home, and there were no restrictions as to where I could go."

Betty and Bill Mark (Mark Family Collection)

Under Hugh Mark's leadership, the Hotel Boulderado thrived, in part to his marketing and advertising efforts. Mark understood the need to reach out to future hotel guests and created brochures reminding people of Colorado's unique attributes. Below are some samples of his early innovative work.

Hugh Mark was well-known throughout the town as "the biggest little man in Boulder." Sadly, his life was cut short suddenly and unexpectedly due to a heart attack in 1934. For the next few years, various members of the Mark family and the Boulderado's investors tried to make a go managing the hotel, but it wasn't until 1940 that the next real chapter began for the Boulderado. Stay tuned to meet the Hutsons!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Photos from January Wedding

Check out some of the stunning photos that were taken in January of a wedding reception held on the Boulderado's Mezzanine. The wedding took place just after New Years Eve, so many of our holiday decorations were still up and lent the space an extra festive air. All the photos you see here were shot by Hayes Photography.

If you or someone you know is planning a wedding, consider attending the upcoming Hotel Boulderado Bridal Show on Sunday, November 8th. More than 40 Colorado vendors will gather to showcase their talents, and the Boulderado's catering department will be offering free food, wine, and champagne tastings. Enter the raffle, and you could win $3000 off your Boulderado wedding reception! Pre-register online today and become eligible for exclusive prizes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

July Winner ~ Tell Us Your Boulderado Story

One of the components of the Boulderado's 100 year anniversary is the Tell Us Your Boulderado Story campaign, which is a collection of memories and narratives from the last century about the Hotel Boulderado. Our goal is to collect 100 stories which will be compiled into a coffee table book. The Boulderado selects a monthly favorite, and July's winner is David Grimm. Enjoy his story, "Affection for the Boulderado."

"For those who remember, there was a bar at the Boulderado called Le Bar. It was a tiny room tucked in behind the main desk. You had to know it was there to find it. At best there was room for five people at the bar and maybe five small tables in the room. For its matchbox size it was nonetheless the favorite watering hole for a number of us downtown types. We might have shown up occasionally at the Walrus or Catacombs or Potter's, but Le Bar was home on most days. Back then there were no tourists to contend with and decor was not a concern.

In 1972 when I started frequenting Le Bar the Boulderado was past its prime -- way past. The hotel was hovering between renovation and demolition and it seemed the wrecking ball had the odds over renewal. At the time my group, two errant radio writers and a late-night disc-jockey (myself), were drinking gin and tonic and Le Bar had a healthy supply of Bombay of which we made ample use each afternoon beginning at five o'clock.

One of the regulars during the summer months was a quiet man who always sat at the bar. He was thin and sad and routinely dressed in a 1950s vintage black suit and black tie. He seldom spoke except to the bartender and then only to order another. He was William S. Burroughs. He was occasionally joined by a younger, boisterous, shaggy, ill-kept man. Then Burroughs would leave his lethargy behind and become animated in conversation. The shaggy man was Allen Ginsberg.

I had no acquaintance with the works of the 'Beat' poets and so had no reason for either alarm or adulation. The two were simply patrons of Le Bar.

One night a television set was brought in by request so that we could watch a Muhammad Ali boxing match. I can't recall whom Ali was fighting but it was of great interest at the time. As the match progressed round by round it became clear that Burroughs and Ginsberg were as big of Ali supporters as the rest of our little group, lending their voices to the alternating cheers and boos.

One night, encouraged by the affectionate attention of a stunning blonde, I went to the front desk to seek a room. In those days there were plenty of rooms available and no reservation was required. It was my good luck to receive a large, airy corner room with private bath on the fourth floor facing front. The cost was two dollars. Three days later when the blonde left for Santa Monica, I kept the room. I had an apartment just two or three blocks away on Arapahoe, but I kept the room at the Boulderado. In the end I kept it for over nine months. It was nice to have a restaurant and bar just downstairs. I always had lodging for visitors and the company of Mr. Lowry in the lobby.

For me the Boulderado has always been my home away from home. Over the years I have often taken a room for the weekend simply to spend time with my old friend and breathe in the Boulderado air.

At some time during the early 1980s while working for KGNU radio, I had the opportunity to host a daily morning talk show at the hotel. It was called "Breakfast at the Boulderado." We filled the airwaves every weekday morning from a booth in what was then the Fleur de Lis restaurant. My co-host, Tom Swope, and I ate breakfast on the air and interviewed governors, senators, mayors, actors, musicians, parolees, and panhandlers. In fact we interviewed anyone who would sit down at the table. One of my favorites was Joni Mitchell, who stopped because she simply wanted a cup of coffee and was willing to sing a cappella to get it. The hotel's venerable general manager, Sid Anderson, was a regular guest keeping the public informed of Boulderado events and making weekly sports predictions. After more than 20 years in the media, I am still asked why we ever quit doing "Breakfast at the Boulderado." The simple answer is that I got married and my wife preferred me at the breakfast table at home. Not so much for my charm as for my cooking skills.

My affection for the Boulderado remains undimmed and untarnished. Many of my fondest memories of Boulder have occurred under its roof. It has always provided for me the perfect setting for public meetings and private occasions. Decisions which have shaped our community have been made there, and both of my daughters had their first 'restaurant' dinners at the hotel.

Today I had a glass of champagne outside at the Corner Bar and listened to the downtown church bells celebrate Boulder's 150th anniversary. The only place to be."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Upcoming Events Reservations

It's official! Our Sales Office is now taking reservations for the Women's History Afternoon Tea, Thanksgiving Buffet, Christmas Buffet, and New Year's Eve Gala Ball! Whether it's our umpteenth annual buffet or the tea, history is packed into each event. But just because the Hotel Boulderado is a historic hotel doesn't mean we're stuck in some by-gone century. The Boulderado just rolled out a new online option for people looking to book reservations for some of our events. By visiting the Online Event Reservations, you can save yourself a seat at our events from the comfort and security of your own computer. Here's a complete of all the events you can now book online: