Originally called the Waples House, the hotel was built in 1839 and is situated right along the Mississippi river. It was situated so that it was the first thing people saw as they crossed over the river into Dubuque.
The hotel has been the site of a tragic fire that caused a lot of damage but fortunately didn't kill anyone. It has also hosted many famous people over the years, like Abraham Lincoln, “Buffalo Bill,” Cody and Mark Twain.
The hotel gained notoriety thanks to Al Capone and was ultimately purchased by the current ownership in 1962. It was speculated that Capone had part ownership in the hotel. There are no documented accounts to confirm Al Capone’s ownership, but there are eyewitnesses who have reported that Capone frequented Dubuque and is speculated to be the “Unnamed Chicago Interests” holding shares in the hotel. Local legend states that he’d come to Dubuque and hide out at the Hotel Julien while he waited for things to cool down in Chicago.
While the hotel was renovated to its current elegant glory, there have been many reports of supernatural activity taking place there. Staff and guests alike have reported sightings of the apparition of a man in period clothing on the upper floors of the hotel.
Some believe the apparition is the ghost of Al Capone, as he had frequently stayed at the hotel over the years.
After the 33 million dollar renovation of the interior and exterior of the building, the hotel now boasts 133 luxury guest rooms and elegant event spaces that host corporate retreats, board meetings and weddings.
There’s also a boutique spa and an excellent restaurant that serves classic American dishes with a unique twist, a lounge with great cocktails, as well as private dining options.
In homage to Al Capone’s history with the hotel, the Julien built a Capone suite in 2009. It is on the second floor, tucked away from the other rooms, with an “Old Hollywood glamour” theme. There’s even a large built-in vault in the room. Are you brave enough to stay in the Capone suite?