Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bart Bortles

I mentioned in my last blog post about a Boulderado owner/manager, William Brantmeyer, that some of our managers have made more of an impression on the hotel than others. Bart Bortles, who took over as owner in 1978, was another one of these. Burt was the first owner to hand over the manager position to someone else. As it would turn out, that someone else was destined to remain at the Hotel Boulderado up to this very day. Sidney Anderson has been our General Manager for the past thirty-two years. The Daily Camera has called him "the Boulderado's lucky charm," and we agree on that. Ultimately, even if all we remember Bortles for is hiring Mr. Anderson, that's a pretty far-reaching decision!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Social Media-ing It

Yuko and I both attended Downtown Boulder's Social Media Round Table last Thursday across the street at the Rembrandt Yard. If you missed it, you missed out hard! In addition to breakfast from The Cup and words of wisdom from local social media gurus like Andrew Hyde and Seth Haber, it was fulfilling just to look around the room and see how many people are excited about social media. I started subscribing to the social media phenomenon as a way to increase our marketing exposure a little more than a year ago. Today, the Hotel Boulderado has more than 700 followers on Twitter, more than 250 on Facebook, and I've written over 100 blog posts. But, perhaps more important than the numbers game is the people game. I've convinced others at the hotel that social media is more than a fad for teenagers -- it's here, it's here to stay, so we better get hip to it. Evolve or die, dude.

Yuko finally broke her longstanding streak of avoiding social media like the plague when she signed up for her own Twitter account. She's now tweeting from her desk -- think you can find her at the Boulderado? If you manage to find her and say hello, she just might have a special treat, deal, or prize for you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Women's History Afternoon Tea

We are once again excitedly preparing for Saturday's Women's History Afternoon Tea. Tickets are still available for this event, which features the Legendary Ladies, who will be performing "Unconventional Women of the West," a series of five-minute monologues from interesting female historical figures. Here's a sneak peek of some of the characters who will be visiting the Boulderado tomorrow:

Mother Jones (1837-1930) was an early activist concerned with the plight of American working people. She helped coordinate major strikes with the hope of earning better working conditions. She also co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World.

Lola Montez (1821-1861) had a colorful life, first as an Irish-born dancer/actress, then renowned for her Spanish-style dancing, and finally as mistress and courtesan to Bavaria's King Ludwig I. The king's affection was so great for Lola that he named her Countess of Landsfeld in 1847.

Olive Oatman (1837-1903) was a woman from Illinois who was abducted by a Native American tribe with her sister. She ultimately regained her freedom, but not before receiving permanent blue markings on her face and chin as part of tribal culture.

Maud Nelson (1881-1944) was an early professional female baseball pitcher, scout, manager, and team owner. Lillian Russell (1861-1922) was an American actress and singer known for her beauty, style, voice, and stage presence. Even after retiring, she stayed busy by writing a newspaper column, lecturing, and advocating women's suffrage.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Useful Stuff

The Hotel Boulderado is BUZZING with activity today! Not sure what it is -- it could be the ending of CU's Conference on World Affairs, the spectacular weather that's on deck for the weekend, or maybe it's just one of "those" days. I've been saving this post for just such a day. Here's some random but useful links to information on a variety of topics.
  • If you're training for the Bolder Boulder, or just a runner in general, you'll love the Running Map. You can map out your own customized routes specific to any zip code in the nation, plus it can show you photos of points of interest along the route, give you information on elevations, and print your map to take with you.
  • Earth Day is fast approaching. Get ready for it by discovering your own carbon footprint with the Earth Day Footprint Quiz. By inputting some basic information, this fun and interactive quiz will tell you the resources needed to sustain your lifestyle, and also teach you tips on how you can reduce this dependency. I discovered that if everyone on the planet used the same amount of resources I do, we would need 5.4 Planet Earths in order to supply this!
  • Last year was the year of the "staycation" -- traveling just within a few hundred miles of your home to take an opportunity to discover the beauty just outside our doors. But as the economy (slowly) bounces back, more and more people will be looking for those exotic, far-off destinations. If you are thinking Europe-bound, here's a blog post you might find useful: "The Most Beautiful Destinations in Europe."
  • Have an event coming up? Tired of not getting the most out of your photos? Check this out for tips on getting that perfect, candid shot from digital compact cameras.
  • If you're planning a vacation but want to give back to the environment while doing so, take a look at this Eco-Volunteer Nature Travel website. What a way to multi-task!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

March 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 March's winner is Gary Richardson. Enjoy his story, "Meeting Mr. Lawry."

"I was working for the Community Corrections Program within the Boulder County Justice System starting around September 1977, when I went with a friend, Bart Costello, who also worked within the Justice System, to have lunch down on the 'new' Pearl Street Mall. Bart had gone to CU and was very knowledgable about Boulder and was going to take me to one of his favorite eateries.

On the way to the Mall he told me about Fred Shelton and his restaurant and especially his connection to the Hotel Boulderado and the 'denizens' of the largest and most renowned hotel in town. When we pushed through the front door I realized why Bart, being a guitarist, had a warm spot for Fred's when I spotted what appeared to be a gorgeous Gibson L-5 guitar in a stand on a small stage up front.

As we were seated, Bart told me about our host's love of music and the often impromptu jams that had a habit of occurring in the restaurant, with Fred helping out on guitar. I was really hoping for some music to occur, but was disappointed when our waiter told us that Fred was gone for several hours. Bart promised that he'd get back later and so we went on discussing our work and the beautiful fall day that we were experiencing.

I remember Bart saying something like, "Here he is" and looked around. Coming from the entrance was a fairly small, very old man with a beard, wearing a nondescript dress coat. He was moving slowly and wasn't paying attention to the patrons of the restaurant as he made a beeline for a small, out-of-the-way table in the back near the waiter's door. As he neared his table, one of the wait staff moved over to stand ready, should he require any assistance getting seated. Evidently, today there was no need, so the waiter just moved on to other duties. I asked Bart who the old man was.

My friend told me that Mr. Lawry was a long-time resident of the Hotel Boulderado, and, due to his advanced age, had usually eaten his major meal of the day in the hotel at Fred's Steakhouse which was on the premises, until Fred's moved to Pearl Street which had just become "the Mall." Bart wasn't quite sure of his age, but guessed him to be around mid-eighties and told me that Mr. Lawry was "a bit poor" and had no other place to call home. Since he was seated where I could watch, I was able to observe how the whole wait staff took care of him, bringing him a fine lunch soup and other menu items at his request. About five minutes into his lunch, he seemed to drift off into a small nap. The next waiter to come by bent down and gently took his soup to place it under a warming lamp to keep it hot until he woke up ten minutes later. Another waiter returned the warm soup and he continued eating as though nothing had happened.

Bart said that Mr. Lawry came in every day to sit at the same table and would eat for an indeterminate amount of time (with several interspersed naps) before wandering back to the hotel, where he'd find a soft chair to nap in.

He told me that he'd met Mr. Lawry a bit ago and had talked with him in the past. With that he got up and invited me to come with him as he headed over to the small, solitary guest. When he came up to the table, Mr. Lawry kept eating, until Bart caught his attention as he inquired about his health. Mr. Lawry seemed to remember my friend and they carried on a small dialogue for several minutes. Then Bart introduced me as a friend of his. Mr. Lawry reached up and took my hand with a 'Nice to meet you' before focusing back on Bart and starting to get back to his lunch. We both said, "Good day," and went back to our table to take care of the bill, since we had to get back to work.

On the walk back, we both discussed what we both saw as such a wonderful support system for an old man that needed a hand doing for himself. Bart told me that, when he finished his meals, he'd just get up and wander back to the Boulderado, with Fred's sending a monthly statement to someone at the hotel who would pay the bill from either a small pension or contribution fund to keep our friend fed. Since he was basically penniless, it appeared to us that the hotel and Fred's were taking on the care needed to keep a piece of 'Old Boulder' comfortable in his old age.

I saw Mr. Lawry several more times down at Fred's over the years, always around the lunch hour and always at his table before hearing that he'd passed away. I was so pleased when Boulder kept him in our collective consciousness with a Lawry Lane to remember a part of our history. Thanks to the Hotel Boulderado, Fred's Restaurant, and the people of Boulder for showing true kindness."

Editor's Note: According to a former owner of the Hotel Boulderado from this era, Dick Dorman, the only source of income Mr. Lawry possessed was veteran benefits he collected from serving in the Spanish-American War of 1898. The staff members, particularly the waitresses and housekeepers, doted on Mr. Lawry to the point that he did not want for anything.

Mr. Lawry napping in the Boulderado Lobby, circa 1975, and Gary Richardson, circa 2010 (

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April at the Hotel Boulderado

Sure, April flowers bring May flowers -- but I doubt snow showers were what they had in mind, and that's exactly what the sky is looking like here in downtown Boulder. Regardless, April at the Boulderado is getting pretty darn full with some upcoming events.
  • If you haven't made plans yet for Easter, we still have some limited availability for reservations for our Easter Brunch Buffet. But call soon, seats are filling up fast! (303) 440-2880
  • Ready to laugh after dealing with the hassle of taxes? Come on down to the Boulderado for our very first Comedy Nite on April 16th. Chris Voth will be here cracking us up. (Check out his video on You Tube!) Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7:45pm. If you've been dreaming of show biz yourself, try your hand at our Open Mic Variety Show after a brief intermission. Really looking for the star treatment? Spend the night with us and mention the "Sleep Like a Star" discount when booking your reservation, and you'll receive a special low rate, courtesy of the Boulderado.
  • Even though Women's History Month is over, keep the spirit alive by attending our Women's History Afternoon Tea on April 17th. Featuring the Legendary Ladies and a classic tea menu from Chef Pete, our tea is a great way to spend a calm Saturday afternoon.