Hotel St. Julien, Boulder, Colorado
I confess. I have a true weakness for hotels that provide those big fluffy robes. The oversized ones that reach down almost to my ankles. Combine that with a great stone and glass shower or big soak-in tub with nary a bit of formica in sight and I'm in paradise.
On a visit to the St. Julien Hotel and Spa which opened in March, 2005 in Boulder Colorado I fell in love for more reasons than that. They had me from the cutlery. Few people are turned on by silverware. But I was entranced by knives whose weighted handles not only feel just right in my hand, when laid on the table, they settled in an edge upward position. Not flat so the blade is in contact with the surface. I turned to David Lurie, the manager of the hotel, delighted and astounded. "It comes from Guy deGrenne," he explained. "Isn't it excellent?"
Once I got past the eating utensils, no small task for me, I turned to the pear and salad I had ordered for lunch. Okay, not just a pear salad. After all Jill's Restaurant is sleek, and sophisticated and so must be the cuisine. It was a Nashi pear (a species native to Eastern Asia) salad with red and green romaine lettuce, endive, carmelized walnuts and gorgonzola dressing. The salad was excellent and I almost orgasmed over the walnuts. In fact it was while munching that I learned about their attention to another detail of keeping guests happy -- the beauty of simple syrup. A dining companion had ordered iced tea, which came with a tiny pitcher. We all stared at the pitcher, and the tall glass of tea and looked perplexed. The pitcher turned out to contain simple syrup -- sugar melted into a small quantity of boiling water. We continued to look perplexed. Manager Lurie to the rescue, explaining that this way the sweetener dissolves instantly and you don't have to continuously stir your cold beverage, and then have the sugar sit on the bottom anyway. It was a very thoughtful touch and I was, once again, entranced.
The restaurant is stunning. There's a blond onyx pizza bar which seemed to almost glow with the lighting and walnut floors. The colors were muted but texture was everywhere, adding visual interest, and they used mahogany for accent. Pin spots add light without glare.
My room, a standard one for the hotel, was elegant and soothing. Different textures and earth tones combined into a rich yet relaxing environment. The modern four-poster bed was big and fluffy with a pure white super-soft duvet and linens atop a super-cushiony mattress onto which I immediately jumped. Just to test it out of course. I'm not a television-watcher so the high- definition television didn't lure me, but the music did. The St. Julien provides a combination clock-radio CD player. And for those of us who don't travel with CDs, there was Flight of the Spirit by Elly Savage. It was one of my secret pleasures to enjoy that soothing lovely music while soaking in a tub. Happily, a coating of cork on one wall between adjoining rooms helps dampen sound -- I never heard anyone in the rooms, and hopefully they didn't hear me either. The room also came with a patio, and a view of the Flatiron mountains. Perfect for an evening cup of coffee and a time to enjoy the darkening sky.
With a bit of time before I turned in for the night a friend and I went exploring. There's a spacious lobby with fireplace, a two-lane lap swimming pool with whirlpool, and outside terrace, as well as a complimentary fitness center. I also checked out hotel's public bathrooms. I'm sure Freud would have an explanation for this, but I don't want to hear it. These were gorgeous with stone flooring that I tried unsuccessfully to capture in pixels. And now I'm told they offer Happy Hour from 5-6 pm, Monday through Saturday with complimentary hors d'oeuvres six nights a week.
Can I have a do-over?