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Designing A "Beantown" ExperienceSeptember 1, 2007 By: Debbie Strong Home-Based Travel Agent
Our firsthand knowledge and insider secrets on where to stay and what to do while in Boston
Getting there and around: To reach Boston, clients will fly into Logan Airport, a 10- or 15-minute ride from most area hotels. Trains and buses come into to South Station (www.south-station.net).
Bring sneakers; Boston is best seen on foot, though the city's winding streets are very confusing. The "T" (www.mbta.com) is the city's public transit system.
Hotels: The city is in the middle of a major hotel boom—a growing array of options allows agents to satisfy every client's style, location needs and price range. Some that we've tried:
U.S. history buffs will like the Langham Boston (www.langhamhotels.com), a stately property that was once the Federal Reserve Bank of America. Built in 1922, the Langham has retained much of its original detail and famous artwork, including two restored murals by N.C. Wyeth that remain in what was once the bank's reception room. Reserve one of the 16 suites clustered around the glass mansard roof, or a two-story loft suite for guests who crave space. Book VIPs in The Langham Suite, a seven-room apartment-style presidential abode. Contact Head Concierge William P. Hackett III ([email protected] 617-422-5151).
The 95-year-old Fairmont Copley Plaza (www.fairmont.com) offers guests a view of Copley Square flanked by Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library. For those who want a concierge-level experience, the Fairmont Gold floor offers VIP registration, separate service staff and complimentary breakfast and evening hors d'ouevres at the elegant Fairmont Gold Lounge. Agents can contact Carla Mayuri, [email protected], 617-867-8591).
Everything old is new again at the Taj Boston (www.tajhotels.com), the "grand dame" of the city's hotels at the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets in a building that was a premiere Boston social address throughout the 1900s. Book your clients in one of the 43 suites with wood-burning fireplaces, or ask for a suite or room overlooking the Boston Public Garden. Rooms with the most priceless views are the "09" suites. The Taj uses old-fashioned fireplace butlers and has one Children's Suite, complete with child-sized furnishings and free passes to kids' attractions.
Taj Boston's concierges have been at the hotel for years and have access to great resources in the city. Head concierge is Jennifer George (617-536-5700, ext. 6107, [email protected]); reservation manager Shannon Kessler (617-598-5232) is the travel agent liaison.
Opened in November 2006 in a prime location steps from South Station at the edge of the Financial District, the InterContinental Boston (www.intercontinentalboston.com) has both city and water views, as the back of the hotel overlooks a channel that feeds into the Inner Harbor. Its waterfront area is part of the city's Boston Harbor Walk development. The site of the Boston Tea Party, which sources tell us will soon be revamped as a major attraction, is basically onsite; the Convention Center is in walking distance; and a ferry to Logan Airport is steps away.
The hotel has 424 rooms, including 38 suites. The top accommodation is the 11th floor Presidential Suite. If you have a client who wants to entertain, the 12th floor Governor's Suite is the one to book (its terrace can hold 100 people). There are also three restaurants that immediately became hits with locals: Miel, a lovely 24/7 Provencal restaurant with outdoor waterfront seating; Sushi-Teq, a small, hip sushi restaurant; and Rumba, a rum-themed bar that offers New England seafood. To book, call 617-747-1000 and ask for a reservations coordinator at ext. 5030.
The Colonnade Hotel (www.colonnadehotel.com), a 35-year-old Boston landmark, is undergoing an $18 million gut renovation, to be completed by spring 2008. Book one of the Luxe rooms, which overlook the residential brownstones of Boston's historic South End. The agent liaison is Chris-topher M. Lynn (617-425-3208, [email protected]); he is director of sales and marketing.
Stay tuned for The Regent Boston at Battery Wharf (www.batterywharf.com), slated to open in spring 2008.
A 150-room luxury hotel with a 7,500-square-foot restaurant and bar with waterfront views and three-star Michelin chef Guy Martin wearing the toque, the property will also have an 18,000-square-foot Guerlain spa. — DS
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.bostonusa.com Copley Place, www.simon.com Duck Tours www.bostonducktours.com Faneuil Hall Marketplace www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com Fenway Park http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ball park/tour.jsp The Freedom Trail www.thefreedomtrail.org Legal Sea Foods www.legalseafoods.com Prudential Center www.prudentialcenter.com Swan Boats, www.swanboats.com TD Banknorth Garden www.tdbanknorthgarden.com Union Oyster House www.unionoysterhouse.com