February 09, 2017

It’s all in the [Boutique] Details

Grand Opening Day for the Inn at 500, Boise, Idaho is Friday, February 10th!

The story behind Boise’s newest hotel, The Inn at 500, begins in downtown Eugene, Oregon. In 2012 owners Brian Obie and Casey Barrett opened The Inn at 5th, a boutique hotel where the service alone ensures a loyal following and high acclaim, including being named a 2017 Trip Advisor Top 25 US Hotel.

Of course, the amenities and location are equally topnotch. The Inn at 5th is refined yet comfortable, exciting yet affording a stress-free oasis. Renovated from a previous hotel, The Inn is walking distance to restaurants, shops, sites and events. It’s Facebook page attests to its strong following.

Building on their success, Obie and Casey began researching new locations for a second venue and eventually narrowed the choice to Boise, Idaho. The Inn at 500, named for its address of 500 Capitol Boulevard, is all new construction and situated at the busy corner of Capitol Boulevard and Myrtle Street. It, too, is walking distance from downtown amenities, the Boise River Green Belt and the western edge of Boise State University.

CSHQA joined the Obie Hospitality team in 2015 to provide architecture, engineering and interior design. The first order of business was a trip to Eugene to experience. The luxury service begins the moment you enter the lobby with offers of wine and assistance with luggage, and relaxed space to sit or gather while checking in.

Welcome to the Inn at 500!
The owners sought the same feeling of luxurious calm to saturate the Inn at 500. CSHQA’s role was to create a rich buffet of design ideas and color palettes from which to choose exterior, lobby, amenities and guest room details. While site, engineering and construction challenges were solved by CSHQA, Axiom Engineering and ESI Construction, space planning, amenities design, and dozens of refinements were performed by others on the CSHQA team.

[See our next blog ‘Location. Location. Timing.’ to learn about the challenges of designing and building on a very tight urban site.]

The atmosphere begins with the exterior.  The use of warm colors, rich materials, accents of red planter boxes, and a green patinaed roof evoke old world charm. Two signs high on the southern and western façade identify the building at a distance along Capitol Boulevard, enabling guests to see their destination and plan for the right-hand turn into the hotel.

The first hint of a peaceful oasis is the porte cochere built of metal ribs and translucent glass. Fluid lines and welcoming curves take the edge off the city thoroughfare just steps away. The volume of the space beneath the protecting roof is subtly detailed and not over-large or imposing. Sightlines and wayfinding are instinctive. Plantings and a sculpture by local artists draw the eye and personalize the scale of the space.  Staff members immediately greet all visitors.

Comfortable Common Areas
The next step of the guest’s journey is the lobby. The space says ‘let us take care of you.’ The low-key check-in desk is within steps of the entry and immediately recognizable. Comfortable furniture groupings and a fireplace add warmth. Wine is offered while guests check in. As with the entry, local art catches the eye. Paintings grace the larger walls and hand-blown glass installations appear to float above the lobby. The ambience is high-end without the attitude.

Other common areas include a street level restaurant and a second level patio with a 180-degree view over the porte cochere. The owners believe all common spaces should have views and natural light. This means designing conference rooms, fitness center, lobby, patio, restaurant and bar to each have a share of the space along the building exterior, primarily Myrtle Street. A careful balance of common spaces to the front and support spaces to the rear was designed.

Luxurious Privacy
Every guest room is a private retreat with fireplace, butler’s pantry for room service, and convenient and secure technology systems for personal devices. Ninety percent of the guest rooms include outdoor space, mostly on balconies with red flower boxes and café tables and chairs. In the hallways, beautiful hand-blown glass fixtures provide illumination and wayfinding.

A service elevator, separated from public spaces and guest elevators, further adds to the private environment. A linen shoot eliminates the need to cart used linens between the floors.

For reasons having to do with location and life safety measures, the interior walls and floors are thicker and denser than typically designed for this size of hotel. (See our next blog to learn about the challenges of designing for a tight urban site.) The added material dampens sound for quiet hallways and rooms. Fire places are vented with two 90-degree turns in their venting to greatly reduce the sound of exhaust fans.

Within the total of 111 guest rooms there are 18 distinct base room designs. Each base room has its own precise dimensions, fixtures, cabinets, tiling, carpeting and lighting. Thirty-two interior paint colors are used in select combinations for the many rooms.* In most guest rooms the bed is turned 45-degrees from the wall, allowing an inset ‘nook’ to be located behind the bed. Many of these nooks, along with custom room décor create theme rooms throughout the hotel.**

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of the Lobby design.


*  CSHQA provided interior design services for base room design with finishes and permanent fixtures.

**  Barrie Connolly and Associates provided room décor and assistance with paint and carpet selection from the Inn at 500 palette.



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