Hotel Julien – Setting the Standard for Hospitality


Hotel Julien – Setting the Standard for Hospitality


My wife and I stayed at the Hotel Julien while riding motorcycles from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to Venice, Louisiana following the great river road. This post has affiliate links that help support our site. We highly suggest booking Hotel Julien if you are staying in the Dubuque area.  If you can’t get in, or are looking for something else, you could check out Trip Advisors smart deals advertised below.

When you travel by motorcycle you are exposed to all kinds of meteorological nastiness. This was especially true for my wife and I this Fall as we rode the Great River Road from Lake Itasca, MN to Venice, LA.




What a pleasant change of pace for us as we pulled up to the Hotel Julian in Dubuque, Iowa. In the previous 48 hours we had ridden in 40 some degree weather, got soaked by a relentless rain and just before our arrival in Dubuque had the bajeebers scared out of us by lightning and thunderstorms. It was a very welcome surprise when the sun broke out as we rode into Dubuque.


The staff at the front desk could not have been friendlier or more welcoming as we dragged our gear across the impressive lobby. We were still wet from the thunderstorms an hour earlier so I am sure we were quite a sight. Our appearance did not matter to the staff, even the General Manager, Dwight Hopfauf came out to greet us.



After a quick checkin we were off to the elevator to find our room. One thing you will notice as you stroll through the Hotel Julien is that this is no chain. Great care has been taken to use unique and one of kind items to decorate the halls and rooms. Many of these items have been collected over the years by the owners themselves. I especially appreciated this as I spent most of my adult life on the road flying for a major airline spending a lot of time in franchise hotels.


Our room was beautiful with a view of the mighty Mississippi. We unpacked our gear and had a little down time. We had ridden several hundred miles on our adventure already and the bumps, the weather and the noise had taken a toll on us. Harley Grandma and I were tired. We took some quiet time to read the rich history of the hotel.



We had no idea that President Lincoln, Buffalo Bill Cody and Mark Twain had once stayed here. The hotel even has an Al Capone Suite. It is rumored that Mr. Capone not only stayed here when he had to get out of Chicago, but that he was an owner for a period of time.


General Manager Dwight Hopfauf gave us the grand tour of the hotel and a peek inside the Al Capone suite. Dwight has certainly taken ownership of his position as General Manager and tells the story of the hotel very passionately. He described in great detail the unique features of the Al Capone suite. This suite is like no hotel room I had ever seen. The decorating in the Al Capone suite could be described as historically luxurious. This suite even has a vault which I am sure only encourages the Capone connection rumors. I wonder how much this suite rents for?






After my wife and I had our down time we decided that what the heck, we deserved a little pampering, so we booked an appointment in the Potosa Spa located in the hotel. Upon arrival at the spa it was apparent that the owners spared no expense decorating and equipping the facility. After checking  in and getting our robes we were taken to a ready room with really cool lounge chairs to get in the zone for our treatment. We just about didn’t make it out of those chairs they were so comfortable. That would probably been enough for me but we were committed at this point and we were soon met by our masseuses. After introductions, off we went for the rest of the treatment. I opted for the foot message package and I was not disappointed. Having been all over the world for work, I have had foot massages by street vendors in Taiwan and in established spas in Amsterdam, but this was the best foot message ever. Had we not had dinner reservations I probably could have just slept through the night at this point I was so relaxed.




For dinner we made reservations at Caroline’s, the restaurant in the hotel. The restaurant is named after Caroline (Rhomberg) Fischer, the great-great-grandmother to the three cousins who today manage the Fischer Companies and the Hotel Julien Dubuque. Consistent with the rest of the Julien Hotel the restaurant was also outstanding and the service exceptional. Caroline’s is another virtual museum of the antiques and memorabilia that have been collected and used to decorate the Hotel Julien.




Bar area in Caroline’s



After a good night sleep we were off to see the sights of Dubuque. Dwight was good enough to approve a late check out so we could enjoy some of the great things Dubuque has to offer before we continued down the Great River Road.


All good things must come to an end  and it was time that we said goodbye to Dwight and the staff at the Hotel Julien. The Great River Road awaits us and we had a long way to go. We will definitely go back to Dubuque and when we do, we will stay at the Hotel Julien.

Thanks Dwight and staff for a great time in Dubuque!

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About Dan Ashbach 792 Articles
Meet the Dan behind Dan330. He started a Pinterest account in December 2011 while off on a leave from his day job as a captain on an Airbus A330. While traveling the world, Dan practiced his longtime hobby of photography and developed his eye for natural beauty and appreciation of great photography. Continuing his love of exploration and great pictures, Dan added Pinterest to his daily routine; especially during the long Minnesota winters. His eye for great photography was recognized by the Pinterest community and in just under one year, Dan330 had attracted over one million followers. Dan and his wife Laurie have three children, seven grandchildren and two grand puppies. When not pinning, Dan loves to travel and participate in just about any outdoor activity. There are a few exceptions to this, but to find out what they are you have to go to the Dan330 board dedicated to “Things he won’t do”.