The Hotel Julien is a luxury 133 room hotel, located right in the heart of Downtown Dubuque, Iowa. It’s a building that is rich in history and was originally built in an area so it would be the first building that people would see when they crossed the bridge from Illinois into Iowa!
Disclosure: Thank you to the Hotel Julien for hosting my stay. As always opinions are my own.
The History of the Hotel Julien
To give you an idea of how long the Hotel Julien has been around, I will first give you a tiny history lesson.
1833 – the USA government allowed people to start settling in the area.
1837 – the town came to be known as Dubuque (facts credit: Travel Dubuque).
The Hotel Julien first started life as the ‘Waples House’, a 4 storey hotel that was built in 1843, just 10 years after settlement truly begun! It became known as the ‘Julien House’ in 1854.
Unfortunately, the hotel was destroyed by a fire in 1913, taking 2 years for it to be rebuilt and reopened again for business.
It is said that Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain stayed at the Julien and it was a getaway for the Chicago gangster Al Capone (who was a famous inmate at Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco!). Today, the best room in the hotel is the ‘Al Capone Suite’, located on the 2nd floor. There are stories that say that Al Capone once took over the entire 8th floor of the hotel. Workers brought food up in the elevators but weren’t allowed to access the floor, they just had to pass it to Al Capone’s guards.
Fast forward to 2009, after an ‘ugly’ remodel back in 1962, the Hotel Julien underwent a $33million renovation to modernise it and restore some of its historical features from the original hotel from 1915. Bricked up windows were uncovered, the entrance canopies were restored, a reflective ‘eco’ roof was created and facilities such as the Potosa Spa, the swimming pool and gym were added. (Facts credit: Hotel Julien)
A look at the Premier Suite
My favourite thing about the Kings Suite, is the view of the Mississippi River, it’s on the 8th floor, right at the top of the hotel. My room was also a corner room so I had windows on 2 sides!
- A fully working kitchen and bar area. Note: the ‘light switch’ on the wall by the sink is in fact a sink garbage disposal…just so you don’t make the same mistake I did! Tea (5 different types for tea lovers out there!!) and coffee are included in the room rate, however there is a mini bar and snack basket for an extra fee.
- There is a large living area with a sofa (which can be made into a second bed), an armchair and foot stool (the chair of my choice!), a TV and a desk.
- The main bedroom has a king sized bed with lots of squishy pillows, a 2nd (smaller) TV and another armchair!
- The bedside lamps BOTH have power outlets!!!!! It’s the simple things, I really hate not having a plug socket near the bed when I travel!
- A bathroom with mini amenities…I loved the addition of a face wipe and a large walk in shower. Stick on a bathrobe for a cozy way to wind down before bed, they are lovely!
- Free WIFI. One thing I LOVED about the WIFI is that it didn’t need a password and log in details. I often stay in hotels where it’s constantly disconnecting and you’re forever needing to log back in again. It was fast and would automatically reconnect when I re-entered the room.
- As mentioned above, there’s a swimming pool with a hot tub (6am – 10pm) and a fitness centre (24hours). These are facilities that I’ll always look for when choosing a hotel, I like to have at least one or the other. A pool that stays open later than 8pm is an extra bonus!
- Check out time is 12pm. I know it’s not really a facility but I really liked how ‘late’ the check out time was because it meant that I could get more time to enjoy the pool and gym!
- Complimentary local newspaper.
- Lots of common areas to relax.
- An onsite bar (The Riverboat Lounge) and a restaurant (Caroline’s – which won Best Dubuque restaurant at the 2017 Travel Dubuque awards! The meal prices at Caroline’s are very reasonable for a luxury hotel.)
- Free parking (yay!)
- A shuttle bus service to the Dubuque Airport.
- Conference and meeting rooms. By pure chance, the night I stayed, the Hotel Julien was hosting a free to attend, guest speaker event. Even better, it was Kim Dinan, a travel blogger and author of the book The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and A Life-Changing Journey Around the World (affiliate link – available on Amazon: Paperback – $12.79, Kindle – $9.99)…and there were free cookies, always a winner.
On the corner of 2nd & Main St, where it has been for over 170 years! It’s such a central Downtown location. Within a 15 minute walk you can reach: the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, the Diamond Jo Casino, the Mississippi River itself, the Five Flags Center, the Fenelon Place Elevator and the historic Millwork district, just to name a few!
Disclosure: Thanks again to the Hotel Julien for hosting my stay! Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking. It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site! As always, opinions are my own.
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