Setting up Basecamp in Boulder

The new Basecamp Hotel gives Boulder a lodging option to match its mountain surroundings.


Located next to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder, Colorado, has earned a reputation as one of the country’s leading outdoor centers, prompting thousands of visitors to descend upon the mountain municipality each year. While new restaurants, craft breweries, and seasonal festivals have managed to keep pace with the burgeoning tourist force, inventive lodging options have long remained elusive. No camping is allowed within Boulder city limits, mid-range hotels near the University of Colorado Boulder often fill up quickly, and muddy hiking boots aren’t exactly in vogue at posh downtown hotels. That’s where Basecamp comes in.

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In June 2016, Basecamp Boulder officially opened its doors to the public, debuting 50 new mountain-themed rooms, and an indoor rock-climbing wall. Situated in the city’s core, between the Boulder Creek Bike Path and Pearl Street pedestrian mall, the hotel marks the expansion of the Tahoe-based boutique Basecamp Hotels chain into new territory.

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With the first location in South Lake Tahoe finding unexpected popularity not only among the outdoors community, but also with small tech start-ups looking for unique places to host corporate retreats, founder Christian Strobel is hoping those same factors will spell success for Basecamp Boulder.

“There was nothing out there that captured modern Boulder,” says Strobel. “People who come to Boulder have a great lifestyle and really enjoy the outdoors, but it’s also a young, hip, professional crowd. We wanted to fill the gap between lower-end highway motels and super high-end hotels.”

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The hotel, which took over a former Quality Inn motel, combines adventure digs with smart graphic design. The majority of the hotel’s 50 rooms feature woodgrain patterned carpet, beetle kill pine furnishings, custom-made tapestry maps of Boulder, and Coleman coolers. Basecamp’s equivalent of a penthouse suite is the one-off Great Indoor Plains room–complete with green turf carpet and a sun-tinged mural of the famed Flatirons.

“It gives you the feeling of rolling up your wagon, sleeping around the campfire, with four twin beds sunken into the floor. And all around you, the ceiling is covered in thousands of glow-in-the-dark stars,” says Strobel.

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Meanwhile, Strobel is hopeful Basecamp’s crowning glory will be an outdoor deck with a fire pit where guests can roast s’mores, drink beer, and socialize. It’s a concept that has already proven massively popular at the two Tahoe locations.

“We’ve had to go through 55 different hoops to get planning approval and permits,” he says. “It’s a bit cliché, but people tend to open up a little bit more around a fire pit. We think the hotel business should be about people with similar interests meeting each other, rather than just a place to sleep. What really differentiates a good space is a communal space where you can connect with each other.”

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Photos by Gloria Dickie

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