A Luxury Stay at Historic Hotel Julien Dubuque

Hotel Julien Dubuque

You can sleep in luxury at the historic Hotel Julien in Dubuque, Iowa. In fact, I’m 99% convinced we slept in a room that Al Capone used to lay his head (or at least on the same floor)! Hotel Julien has ties to notorious people of the past, such as Al Capone and Abraham Lincoln. Even more impressive is that the hotel has been standing since 1843, it is Dubuque’s oldest hotel. In 2009 it underwent a major renovation, it is a beautiful building and the city’s most luxurious overnight accommodations.


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Thank you Travel Dubuque & Hotel Julien for hosting my stay. As always on Cornfields & High Heels, all opinions are my own.


The Hotel’s History

Since 1839, the corner where Hotel Julien stands has always held a hotel or inn, but in 1843 The Waples House was built and in 1854 it was purchased and renamed the Julien House. Throughout the years the hotel saw a series of renovations and different ownerships. At one point it was modernized, with an elevator and electric lights added.  After a fire in 1915, the hotel was restored as Hotel Julien. In 1962, Louis Pfohl purchased the hotel and began a 5-year remodel. The hotel remained in the family, and generations later, the Pfohl family completed the latest remodel  – a $30 million investment restoring the original 1915 Hotel Julien. This was completed in 2009.

The lobby of Hotel Julien

Repurposed artifacts

Throughout the hotel are restored and repurposed artifacts, adding to the character of the hotel. There is a mirror in the lobby from the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. And photographs from the Pfohl’s family and early Dubuque throughout the lobby and hotel. The original 1915 marble floors still remain!

You might notice decorative grids on the walls that look like labyrinths, there is a really cool story behind this! This is the symbol behind the Potosa Spa (Hotel Julien’s spa) logo. Restored heating/cooling grids (like the ones you find in old homes) have been used to create decorative grids throughout the hotel that resemble the Potosa logo.

Make sure you check out the letterboxes located next to the elevator on each floor. These original letterboxes are still used today! Need to mail a letter? Just drop it in the letterbox!

Letterbox at Hotel Julien


The Rooms

Over the years renovations were made to add additional rooms and increase room size to add suites to the hotel. There are 133 guest rooms available at Hotel Julien and all of them include luxury beds, free wifi, bathrooms, spa bath products, and including free parking.

Premier King Suite

Four different types of suites are available to choose from, we stayed in the Premier King Suite. This suite includes a kitchen area, living room, separate bedroom with a King bed, and a bathroom with a walk-in shower. Our suite was located on the 8th floor and came with a view of downtown Dubuque and the bridges crossing the Mississippi River. It is said that Al Capone stayed on the 8th floor, where he could easily keep an eye on the bridges crossing over from Wisconsin and Illinois.

Premier King Suite

Al Capone Suite

If you are lucky, you can reserve the Al Capone Suite – there is only one available! What makes it unique? It is on its very own floor! With an “old Hollywood glamour” theme, the Capone Suite also features a bank vault near the kitchen, two bedrooms, a grand living room, and a meeting space.


The Amenities

  • Potosa Spa – an on-site, full-service spa offering massages, facials, body treatments, and salon services
  • Fitness Center
  • Indoor pool and whirlpool
  • Carolina’s restaurant – serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A coffee bar is available, you can order your coffee drinks in advance using the coffee order forms outside of the resturant.

Caroline’s coffee order forms box

  • Riverboat Lounge – live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and an outdoor terrace with views of the Mississippi River.
  • Free newspapers daily (my husband loves this classic amenity), available at the front desk.
  • A gorgeous Ballroom is available for rentals on the second floor.


What’s Nearby

Article:   The Best Spots to Visit in Dubuque, Iowa
  • I Scream U Scream – ice cream located just across the street!
  • Go mural hunting – there are murals all over Dubuque, including within walking distance of the hotel.
  • Visit the Travel Dubuque Welcome Center across the street! You’ll find lots of ideas for your visit here.
  • Visit the Field of Dreams movie site and the If You Build It Exhibit in Dyersville. It is only 30 minutes away and is highly recommended.
  • Drive south to the Maquoketa Caves State Park – it’s got more caves than any park in the US! It’s free to visit and offers breathtaking scenic views.

Nearby Maquoketa Caves State Park


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