The Hotel Julien has provided Dubuque with grace and elegance as the area’s oldest hotel.
The 4-star property opened in 1839. The hotel – named after the city’s “founder” Julien Dubuque – has withstood time and fires in becoming the must-see attraction.
It has hosted several famous people – Abraham Lincoln, Buffalo Bill Cody and Mark Twain. It became known as the hangout for Al Capone when the reputed mobster had to vacate Chicago for a short time. The hotel even has an Al Capone Suite.
As you enter the hotel, you’ll notice a statute of Dubuque near the entrance.
The hotel has a classic ambience. From its unique exterior to the plush lobby, as soon as you step inside, you are afraid to touch anything. Lisa made me walk with my hands to my sides.
The lobby was beautiful. The dark wood gave a great impression of the hotel being high class.
The front desk staff was very friendly and helpful.
We stayed in a suite. What a suite! It had a full kitchen and living room. The bedroom was decent sized. We had a great view of the Port of Dubuque area – Mississippi River and attractions.
We found the sofa and chair very relaxing after a couple of days of running around. I felt at home in the living room, relaxing with my feet up and catching some sports and a couple of movies.
The work space was excellent. I upload our photos each day to the laptop and external drive, so I can spend quite a bit of time at a desk. The chair was comfortable, and the desk space ample.
The hotel has an excellent list of amenities – swimming pool, fitness center, Riverboat Lounge and Caroline’s restaurant.
It offers guest an opportunity for a spa treatment while in town. Of course, it’s an extra charge, but still, how many downtown properties have a spa on site?
Caroline’s offered a fantastic breakfast menu at reasonable costs. We discussed going out for breakfast, but wanted to try Caroline’s at least once. We had breakfast both mornings during our visit.
Lisa tried a “small” plate of pancakes – with chocolate chips. The two pancakes covered her entire plate. She couldn’t finish them. We were afraid to see what the regular plate looked like.
I had the Iowa breakfast both days – ham, hash browns, eggs and toast. Not the healthiest option, but I had to try it. I did alter my toast selection – from wheat to rye.
Each breakfast with drink came to under $20 for both of us.
The restaurant displayed china from other elegant hotels, such as the Drake Hotel in San Francisco. The dinnerware was displayed on the wall throughout the restaurant.
The hotel hosts meetings, conventions and weddings. There were quite a few weddings on the same day during our visit. The staff even decorated the stairwell in the lobby for one ceremony.
I checked out the grand ballroom during our visit. Wow! It was huge.
“Martha Stewart Weddings” named the hotel as Iowa’s top wedding reception location in 2010, according to the hotel’s website.
The hotel itself is centrally located downtown. It is a short walk to the major attractions. If you want, you can drive over to the Port or other attractions. The area was friendly.
The hotel may be a luxury scale property, but check out its website for possible specials or deals. It would be worth the price for a great stay.
Disclaimer: Thank you to the Dubuque Visitors Bureau and Hotel Julien for the complimentary accommodations. However, all opinions and views are ours.