A touch of the old meets modern design
The Modern Hotel is a perpetual favorite among locals and visitors alike, even catching the attention of The New York Times, New York Magazine and Vogue for its creative design and popular bar. Its history as an old Travelodge is evident, from the exterior hallways to the cinderblock latticework tower next to the lobby. It was brought into the 21st century by Elizabeth Tullis, a third-generation hotelier who bought the place over a decade ago and renovated it with the help of noted local architect Dwaine Carver and interior designer Kerry Tullis.
Together, they created a place where you stroll by locally inspired landscaping on the walk to your retro-styled room, maybe passing a crowd gathering around the courtyard fire pits or at The Modern Bar. The onsite cocktail bar can hold its own with any in Boise and then some. While, of course, you’ll need to leave the hotel to make the most of the city, the bar is an ideal place to begin or end your journey. Overall, The Modern is not fancy, but for a fun, clean, comfortable stay, it’s your best bet in Boise.
A short walk to Basque country, and a short drive to everything else
The Modern is set in Boise’s Linen District, a neighborhood anchored by the 1910 Linen Building and filled with restaurants, coffee shops and a handful of art galleries. It’s easily explored on foot, as is the Basque Block, a treasure trove of Basque restaurants the likes of which you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the country. The neighborhood is certainly fun to explore, but to really experience Boise you’ll want to get out of the city and into the countryside as well.
If you’re into rock climbing, the Black Cliffs are about 20 minutes from the hotel. You can also raft the Payette River, though that drive will take about an hour. If you’re around in the winter, you can see how Boise’s ski areas measure up to other northwest states’ at Bogus Basin, a scant six minutes away by car.
Here are some other cool things worth checking out near The Modern Hotel:
- Grab a bike from the hotel and cruise the Boise River Greenbelt, a 25-mile park that runs along the Boise River. It’s an active way to see the city and can be accessed less than a mile from The Modern.
- Explore the wines of the Snake River Valley without leaving the city. In Garden City, less than 10 minutes away, you’ll find tasting rooms from Cinder Wines and Coiled Wines. If you’re up for a drive, hit up Sawtooth Winery, a 40-minute drive away.
- Catch a live show from an up-and-coming act at either The Shredder or The Olympic. They’re the top two music venues in Boise, and both are short walks from the hotel.
- Peruse the bars and breweries along Eighth Street, downtown’s hottest thoroughfare. Hit the Juniper or Matador for drinks, then grab dinner along the Basque Block nearby.
A throwback to the 1970s, minus the cigarette smoke
If you dropped someone in any of The Modern’s colorful, well-designed rooms, they’d likely guess they stepped into a scene from the later parts of “Casino.” The stuff is straight Seventies, from the low-lying couches with round cushions to the tile showers and padded headboards.
That all said, the look is deliberate, and nothing about The Modern’s rooms feel even the least bit dated. The bathrooms all have rain showers with not one but TWO Grohe shower heads. You’ll also find a full desk and chair, so if work is on the agenda you won’t have to search for a coffee shop. The basic rooms all have small closets and a couple of shelves, good for a short trip, but long-term travelers may find it cramped. And you’ll also find an in-room short film festival on channel 39 on each of the 40-inch Smart TVs in every room.
The Modern offers nine different room types:
Single Queen and Single King – The smallest room at The Modern comes with one bed, boasting a pillowtop Simmons mattress and hotel-quality linens. You can also request a refrigerator and microwave, if the in-room coffee maker isn’t quite cutting it for you.
Double Queen – This slightly larger version of the Single Queen has two queen beds.
Courtyard King – Essentially, this room is the same as the Single King, with more space and front-row access to the social hub of the hotel in the courtyard. Just take note: It can be noisy on big nights, so if you’re trying to nod off early this room might not be the move.
Balcony Double Queen and Balcony King – These rooms are fairly similar to the non-balcony rooms, with a couple of big exceptions. The first is, obviously, the balcony, which gives you a couple of chairs and a nice view of the parking lot. The second is their pet policy. Pets are not allowed in these rooms.
Queen Suite – The smaller of The Modern’s two categories of suites has a queen bed and large living area with a fold-out couch, ideal for families. It also has a small kitchenette, though it’s really just a fridge and microwave, so don’t run out to the grocery store. The room’s coolest feature, though, is in the bathroom, where a big soaking tub sits next to the rain shower.
King Balcony Suite – The Modern’s top room is a stunner, set behind leafy greenery where your spacious balcony peeks through the plants at the city beyond. Inside, you’ll find a spacious living area with pull-out queen sofa, a king-sized bed, a kitchenette and a small bar for seating. The bathroom also features a separate soaking tub in addition to the standard two-head rain shower.
The coolest amenity at The Modern is easily its signature courtyard. By day, it serves as a sunny place for guests to bask in the mountain air. By night, it turns into a cozy, fire-pit-filled communal space where guests can end the evening. Be forewarned, there’s no gym here, so you’ll need to use Boise’s outdoors for your exercise.
The following amenities are also included with every room:
- Free continental breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- Business center
- Free bicycle rental to explore the city
- Coffee makers
- Free Wi-Fi
- William Roam bathroom amenities
- Laundry and dry cleaning upon request
- Hair dryer
- 24-hour secured free self parking
Food and Beverage
The Modern has both an onsite cocktail bar and a full-service restaurant a few blocks away.
The Modern Bar’s name has a bit of a double meaning, as it’s obviously part of the hotel but also offers a menu of modern craft cocktails that rival any in the city. The bar specializes in sweeter, tiki-style drinks, which might seem a bit odd in mountainous Boise. But try the Shrunken Head Disco with guava, mezcal and firewater bitters and you’ll understand why locals flock here as much as guests.
Basque food abounds in Boise, but if you want something from other parts of Spain, head a couple blocks up 14th Street to Txikiteo. The hotel-affiliated restaurant brings small plates of meats and cheeses to its outdoor environs, as well as a solid selection of local wines and a handful of Spanish sandwiches.