This waterfront building has always held a particular allure for me. The enormous flag billowing in the archway. The perfect location between harbor and city. Back door airport water taxi service. For decades, I admired this hotel from afar. It was now time to see what all the hubbub is about, especially after reading about the massive renovation that had just been finished a few month earlier. The Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston’s only five star waterfront hotel, receives endless accolades from a laundry list of esteemed travel magazines and other publications, as well as extraordinary online reviews. It seemed a likely fit for Wanderlust Tours’ travel philosophy and also a great location for anyone not wanting to rent a car in Boston as the 10 minute water ferry from the airport is a cinch. And a quick walk lands you at Faneuil Hall Market, the historic North End, or the Financial District.
Room 1604… you had me the moment I opened the door! Enchanted by the vista over Boston Harbor and smitten with the classically contemporary decor (with a hint of nautical in its colors, motifs and finishes), it was a no brainer to settle into a window seat with the wine and cheese board delivered to the room shortly after my arrival. Slipping into a trance, I watched planes come and go from Boston Logan airport off in the distance, boats chugging around the bay, and passengers scampering onto the docks from ferries. I sat there contentedly contemplating the gameplan for exploring. Since the dreary weather “forced” me to stay indoors (NO complaints), a swim and workout seemed in order. The Rowe’s Wharf Health Club and Spa located on the lowest level of the hotel was sublime, invoking a bit of a zen-meets-yachting atmosphere. The space was beautifully designed with a lap pool, large hot tub and teak furniture. Goggles, robes, towels and a fantastic locker room and high-end, yet cozy gym elevated the swim experience to something that felt more sophisticated than one’s usual hotel swim and workout.
Primping and preening for dinner in the hotel room’s marble bathroom was a pleasure. A rainshower and fantastic natural products prolonged the getting-ready process, which I did not mind one bit. Where to have dinner was the next fabulous conundrum. The hotel’s wine-centric restaurant, Meritage? Chef Daniel Bruce’s colorful and eclectic vineyard-to-table menu tickled my fancy. Or something more casual like savory bar bites and cocktails at Rowe’s Wharf Bar or a heap of seafood for dinner at Rowe’s Wharf Sea Grille? I could easily slurp my daily dose of oysters and carry on with my clam chowder oddyssey at the later, which is what I opted for this evening. The in-room iPads helped in the decision, as this thoughtful technological touch in the newly designed rooms also provided background music, provided hotel and city information, easy checkout and room-service ordering, all of which I utilized. The final evening nudged me toward the spa, cocktails and room service. The friendly staff rolled in a dinner table at which I sat robe-clad in a comfy high back chair while enjoying fancy mac and cheese, wine, flowers, and a bird’s eye view over the sparkling harbor and financial district, just soaking in the activity from a serene 16 stories up. It was just what I needed — a quiet, lovely ending to a whirlwind week.
The Boston Harbor Hotel certainly lives up to their tagline, “Beyond Compare,” and I look forward to including it as a Modern Day Grande Dame is my book about America’s great historic and Grande Dame hotels.