Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., with historical sites that include Paul Revere’s House, Faneuil Hall, the Boston Tea Party Museum, the Old State House, and Boston Common, the nation’s oldest city park. Yet Boston is far from a living museum (although it does have some lovely collections–don’t miss the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, for example). Enjoy a walk by the beautiful harbor front, catch a game at Fenway Park, kick back with a craft beer at a gastropub, savor oysters and fresh seafood at Island Creek Oyster Bar, or get swept up in the excitement of the Boston Pops’ annual Fireworks Spectacular on July 4th, held al fresco at the Hatch Shell.
When it comes to hotels, Boston has a number of options, but for luxury hotels, these are the top 3 luxury hotels I recommend in Boston:
The Mandarin Oriental Boston opened in 2008, making it one of the newer luxury hotels, with more modern rooms and suites than at most other Boston luxury properties. On our recent stay, we loved the tranquil ambience, spacious Mandarin Back Bay Room of over 550 square feet in size, and the understated elegance of the lobby, with its gorgeous flowers, comfortable seating, and gas fireplace. And while we didn’t have occasion to use it, the hotel offers a convenient house car service for nearby drop-offs.
The Spa, the only Forbes Five-Star awarded spa in Massachusetts, offers separate men’s and women’s steam rooms, vitality pools, experience showers, ice fountain and relaxation rooms, as well as two couple’s suites, among the nine treatment rooms.
Seafood lovers shouldn’t miss the Gloucestor lobster organic egg omelet for breakfast, at the hotel’s French bistro Bar Boulud.
The Four Seasons Boston has a lovely location, right across from the Boston Public Garden. For this reason, I highly recommend reserving a Deluxe Garden View Room (400 square feet) if reserving a room, a Garden View Four Seasons Executive Suite (625 square feet) if wanting a small suite, or the Presidential Suite (2590 square feet) with its private balcony overlooking the Public Garden, for a real splurge.
One of the things the Four Seasons does better than any other luxury hotel group is help craft a memorable stay for families. For us, this included a cute tiger stuffed animal for my son, a child-size bathrobe, and even the book The Polar Express (perfect for our Christmas stay), along with yummy cupcakes and decorating icing for my son to decorate them with.
Swimmers and families will also enjoy the hotel’s lap pool and jacuzzi whirlpool, which have great natural light and also overlook the Boston Public Garden. The convenient Back Bay location, the pool and jacuzzi, and the excellent service are why many of my clients choose the Four Seasons, even though the rooms are quite traditional in style.
If you enjoy seeing the water, I recommend reserving the Boston Harbor Hotel, at Rowes Wharf. You will of course pay a premium for the Harbor View Superior and Deluxe Rooms, but for most, the sea view is worth it. Rooms are classically styled, but a good size, at 500 square feet for a Superior Room and 525 square feet for a Deluxe Room.
The Boston Harbor Hotel also has a 60 foot salt water lap pool, a whirl pool, and a fitness center that offers yoga, water aerobics, and “yogalates” (fusion of yoga and pilates) exercise classes, making this a good choice for visitors who want to keep up their swimming or exercise regimen.
Meritage Restaurant and Wine Bar enjoys an enviable water view (try to get a window table) and is popular among well-heeled locals as well as guests, particularly for its wine list and Sunday brunch.
Finally, a hotel tip: Many first-time visitors assume that since Boston is considerably smaller than NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc., that Boston’s luxury hotels will be more reasonably priced. Often, they’re in for sticker shock.
This is because Boston is popular not only for its history, but also for its universities, including Harvard University and MIT, as well as its hospitals and medical research centers, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel, and more. This means that among my clients, at least as many go to Boston for university or medical-related visits as for tourist visits. If you have flexibility on when you visit, you’ll want to plan well in advance and avoid dates that coincide with university graduation dates, alumni reunions, and major conventions or sports events.
Which Boston luxury hotel is your favorite?
Hilary Stockton is the CEO at TravelSort.