It isn’t every day that you get to experience the city you’ve lived around for 12 years as a tourist. Doing so gives you that extra special reminder of why you fell in love with the spot in the first place.
I recently stayed at the Taj Boston, a historic luxury hotel right in the middle of Boston’s Back Bay and across the street from the famous Public Garden. After living in Eastern Massachusetts for over a decade, and living in Boston for seven of those years, the one-night stay showed me why I and countless others continue to fall in love with the Hub.
Built in 1927, the Taj Boston shows its age, but in the best of ways. A Ritz-Carleton until 2007, the lobby has intricate ceiling detailing, plenty of crystal chandeliers and a dark wooden front desk and bar entrance. The area is impeccably clean, and giant vases of fresh flowers across from the bank of elevators show their attention to detail.
Guest rooms are just as elegant, though a tad smaller than more modern hotels. (If you desire more room, several styles of suites are available with a variety of sizes and views.) My room overlooked the most chic side of Newbury Street, an area I recall being in total awe of the first time I visited Boston as a 19 year old.
Those are stores I still don’t feel worthy entering, but I’ll gladly gawk at the windows. I don’t know that there is a room at the hotel that doesn’t have wonderful views, considering the part of Boston it resides in, so no matter where you stay, looking out the window will be enjoyable.
The little details are what remind you that this hotel is luxurious. On your bed awaits an updated guide to in-room dining and a card that details the next few days of weather for you. You will open the moderately sized closet and find a fragrance sachet. Next to the television stand sits a wardrobe valet.
The bathroom seemed overly large compared to the room, and appeared recently renovated. Because of that, the beige tile and bright detail didn’t seem in tune with the subdued white walls and older furniture of the bedroom. The bathroom floor also felt like ice, but no worries – there are two pairs of clean slippers offered in every room.
For all of the detail and attention dedicated to the rest of the hotel, dining seems like a complete afterthought at the Taj. I had been there for a Saturday breakfast a few months prior to my stay, and I walked away from that completely disappointed. There were plenty of busboys, but not enough waiters, leaving long waits to place orders. The table to the right of me had to physically get up from their seat to find a waiter to place an order, and despite arriving 30 minutes after my guest and I, received their dishes before we did.
This is definitely a dining spot where the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and not a spot for luxurious dining. Lunch and dinner menus are somewhat limited, and focus on the Indian heritage of the brand. If you aren’t up for Indian food, I recommend hitting up one of the Back Bay’s many restaurants instead of the hotel’s own dining, which is what we did during our actual stay at the Taj.
Even though it was a quick visit, it was a pleasure to wake up in the morning to not just the elegant details of the Taj Boston, but an enchanting view of Boston. The details didn’t stop even though I was about to check out. The usual morning newspaper was placed in an adorable burlap bag and left on the door handle.
Given that my destination that morning was just four stops down on the Green Line, I took advantage of the paper and jumped back into the 300 thread count bed sheets and read it while looking out the window. Sometimes we all need a reminder of how lovely our own area can be.