Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Mandarin Oriental, Boston

9 Apr 2009 by Mark Caswell

What’s it like? The Mandarin Oriental in Boston is a luxury new-build property over 14 floors that opened in October last year. Like all Mandarins it seeks to combine Asian touches with influences from the place in which it is situated – so in this case it juxtaposes an imposing stone façade and Boston-style blonde-wood panelling with rich textures and artwork inspired by the Orient. Enter through the revolving doors and you’ll find yourself in the elegant marble lobby, with reception ahead, a cosy seating area to the left – buzzing with people taking afternoon tea in the afternoon – and beyond that a stylish bar and restaurant. Bold prints by David Hockney and Massachusetts artist Frank Stella adorn the walls, while abstract sculptures and a huge black-marble fire feature also catch the eye.

Where is it? The hotel is on Boylston Street, in the heart of the historic Back Bay neighbourhood. The road runs parallel to Newbury Street, Boston’s highest-end shopping street, and at the other end, about ten minutes’ walk, is Boston Common, which leads on to the Downtown area and business district. Logan International airport is four miles away, about 15 minutes’ drive. The hotel is directly connected to the Prudential Tower, which houses a wide range of shops and restaurants and a 50th-floor observatory, from where you can get excellent 360-degree views of the city.

Room facilities There are 148 rooms and suites of varying categories located on floors four to eight (above that are private residences). I stayed in an eighth-floor Deluxe room, which was a spacious 38 sqm – the rooms are among the largest in Boston, I was told. It was beautifully decorated in neutral colours, with rich fabrics, blonde-wood furniture and abstract framed prints. The very comfortable king-size bed was dressed with a goose-down duvet and pillows and 400-count Frette linens (Frette’s shop next door is directly accessible from the lobby). Opposite the bed was a big chest, upon which sat a 42-inch flatscreen TV playing a selection of channels.

By the large window, which looked on to Boylston Street and the surrounding area, was a curved sofa upholstered in a taupe and cream pattern with a footrest, coffee table and floor lamps. There was also a workdesk with two chairs, next to which were some plug sockets (US only). To the left of the bed was a walk-in closet with plenty of hanging space. The marble bathroom, accessible through double doors, was large and gleaming, with modern fittings, a deep bath, a walk-in rainshower, a toilet closed off by a glass door and toiletries by Aromatherapy Associates.

Other features in the room included wireless internet access (priced at $15 per day or $35 for three days), a laptop safe, a removable hairdryer, an iron and ironing board, plush Frette robes, slippers, turn-down service, a plate of fresh fruit, free bottles of mineral water, an umbrella, free overnight shoeshine service and adjustable air conditioning. The minibar had a large range of spirits, beer, champagne, wine, soft drinks and snacks.

Restaurants and bars Asana, the hotel’s signature fine-dining restaurant, serves US and Asian cuisine and is open from 6.30am to 11pm. It’s a stylish room with floor-to-ceiling windows, granite table-tops and bamboo flooring, and a chef’s table in a separate room where groups of up to eight can watch the action in the kitchen. I had a delicious lobster salad here, as well as some great eggs for breakfast.

Attached to the Asana is the M Bar and Lounge, a chic space with a wide cocktail list and a light-bite menu – if you’re a cheese fan, try the fondue. It was very lively on the Saturday night I stayed.

Meeting and business facilities The meeting facilities are on the arcade level, above the lobby, and consist of the Oriental ballroom, which divides into two and takes up to 600 people for a reception, and three smaller meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 150 delegates. The meeting rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, silk wall coverings and Asian prints on the walls, and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. There is also a 24-hour business centre with three computers on the ground floor.

Leisure facilities The spa is located on the fourth floor and features nine treatment rooms, crystal steam rooms, vitality pools, “experience” showers and ice fountains. The treatment menu is vast and I had the Commonwealth Comforter, which was incredibly relaxing. It’s open from 9am to 9pm. Next to this is the fitness centre, open 24 hours, which has Technogym equipment, a yoga room and a weights room including a Kinesis wall – a pulley weight system.

Factfile

How many rooms? There are 148 rooms in total – 136 rooms and 12 suites. The room categories are Deluxe, Mandarin, Mandarin Back Bay, Mandarin Corner Mandarin Premier and Mandarin Executive, and the suites are Executive, Corner Executive, Oriental and Dynasty.

Room highlights The amount of space, the comfortable bed and the beautifully appointed bathroom.

Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in April started from $422 for a Deluxe room.

Contact Mandarin Oriental, Boston; 776 Boylston Street; +1 617 535 8888; mandarinoriental.com

Verdict A worthy addition to the Boston hotel scene, which is relatively low on top-end properties, this is a beautiful hotel with excellent service and facilities in an ideal location.

By Michelle Mannion

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