By Katie Rapone, editor
Defined by Boulder’s culture of connection with the outdoors, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder embodies the best of what the city has to offer. The 204 all-suite guest room hotel was built from the ground up in 2017, as part of a mixed-use master development that also includes the Hilton Garden Inn. Developed by Denver-based Sage Hospitality, one of the nation’s top hotel investment and management companies, and NAI Shames Makovsky, the all-suite hotel is ideal for the traveler looking for an extended stay in Boulder or for a business convention.
While both hotels are under the Hilton brand, each has its own unique look and feel that required a strategic blending of design elements that result in a distinctly ‘Boulder’ character. The two hotels share amenities, a common courtyard, and an office building, over a two-story below-grade parking garage.
JNS Architecture + Interior Design was the architect and interior designer for both the Embassy and the Hilton Garden Inn. The firm’s hands-on, collaborative, and award-winning approach respects each site’s unique history and context and the Embassy is the perfect example of that.
The Embassy’s convenient location along Canyon Blvd places it half a mile from the University of Colorado Boulder and a mere five minutes from Pearl Street Mall and downtown Boulder. With no shortage of budget-friendly hotels in Boulder, the Embassy’s eye-catching exterior design really sets it apart from other hotels along Canyon Blvd.
According to Nathan, the distinction between the indoors and outdoors is blurred, with large expanses of glass in the lobby and views from each guest room that highlight the Flatirons and surrounding landscape. “Throughout the property, materials are natural but refined with an emphasis on texture. While both the Embassy Suites and neighboring Hilton Garden Inn are both Hilton properties and share amenities, they are designed to stand alone yet remain connected to one another using similar materials.”
The hotel’s material palette is very much inspired by its location, the Flatirons, and the area’s outdoor-enthused lifestyle, with indoor-outdoor connections both at the street level and on the courtyard pool deck. A rock garden extends from inside the lobby to the outside, and extensive floor-to-ceiling glazing along the street brings indoor activity to the sidewalk as well as glorious morning sunshine to the lobby area.
“Incorporating natural light is always a critical aspect of our design process for our Colorado projects. Utilizing Colorado’s 300 days of sun and bringing that natural light into the lobby, ends of corridors and meeting pre-function area, helps orient the guests and also provides a healthy dose of sunshine,” says Nicole Nathan, partner, of JNS Architecture + Interior Design.
As the only full-service hotel in Boulder, the Embassy’s amenities are its main appeal. The hotel is home to Brickstones Kitchen & Bar, which serves lunch and dinner daily. The Brickstones menu features wood-fired flatbreads and a variety of Colorado microbrews and spirits. A free made-to-order breakfast buffet and 90-minute evening reception are significant perks that keep guests coming back.
JNS believes that a well-designed lobby that fosters guest activity is vital to any hotel project. “The breakfast buffet and happy hour experiences bring a sense of liveliness to the lobby and help transition the space from day to evening. The lobby is zoned into more quiet areas, with the active borders connecting it to the bar life.”
The Embassy also features the city’s largest hotel ballroom (6,510 square feet) which is able to accommodate groups of up to 650 people. Year-round access to the hotel’s heated rooftop pool is another welcome perk, as well as complimentary underground parking.
Sage Hospitality Group was involved from the beginning with the Embassy Suites Boulder and Hilton Garden Inn Boulder, supporting the ground-up development of both hotels and remains involved in the properties as the operating partner.
“The Hiltons on Canyon were designed to stand the test of time – with triple-paned windows to help improve energy consumption (and keep out the noise of traffic), along with water stations on every guestroom floor to use less plastic and recycling and composting throughout both hotels. We believe that the hotels were designed to “fit” all that Boulder stands for,” said Angela Blackstock, director of sales & marketing at Sage Hospitality Group.
According to the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, Boulder’s occupancy in February 2023 was 58.2% with an ADR of $157.22, which demonstrates the city’s increasing occupancy rates post-pandemic. In February, Aspen Hospitality and the University of Colorado Boulder started construction on the Limelight Hotel Boulder. The 250-room landmark conference center hotel property is slated to open in the summer of 2025.