MASSACHUSETTS Travel Guide
When this writer checked into the 428-room Boston Seaport Hotel, one of the first things the clerk went out of her way to tell me was that there was no tipping at the hotel. I figured I'd heard her wrong, so I asked her to repeat it. She smiled. The craziest part is when she told me it's not a new thing - the hotel has had a no tipping policy since it opened in 1998.
Fifteen years ago, it put its then 260 employees through 35,000 hours of training on all aspects of guest service, from opening doors to room tidiness, and taught them to do it all without expecting a tip.
We've talked a lot about tipping on this site in the past, and there's always a debate about who should be tipped and for what. I found the no tipping policy at the Seaport to be extremely refreshing and impressive. Two reasons stand out in particular. 1) When receiving help from the staff, I didn't immediately feel like I owed them money and 2) I felt like the employees genuinely wanted to help me, and when it comes to the travel industry, that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle when money is involved.
The hotels located on or near Boylston Street are still trying to get their feet back under them after the tragedy in Boston, reeling from the lack of business associated with the incident's aftermath. Hotels are looking to their insurance companies to cover their losses, but, interestingly enough, the payout depends upon whether or not the government officially declares the marathon bombings an "act of terror."
Quick background: After September 11th kicked them in the face, insurance companies decided to exclude "acts of terror" from inclusion in policies. They made it an optional add-on that businesses had to purchase separately to have damage covered that resulted from officially declared acts of terrorism, meaning the government's categorization of the incident will determine who pays for what. According to ABC News, President Obama called the bombings an "act of terror," but the treasury secretary, attorney general, and secretary of state have yet to speak on the designation, and have set no time frame in which to do so.
"If there is no terror finding, damages would be covered in general under regular property-and-casualty policies," Robert Hartwig, president of the trade group Insurance Information Institute, told ABC News. If it's declared an "act of terror," however, only those who purchased the additional terrorism clause would have their losses covered by insurance.
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Are you a fan of the Mirbeau Inn & Spa in upstate New York? If so, you might be excited to learn that the award-winning property has just announced it will be opening a second location just outside of Cape Cod in the Pinehills in the spring of 2014.
Offering 50 rooms, the new Mirbeau will no doubt provide some healthy competition to the area's bazillion bed and breakfasts. Plus, the property will be only four hours from New York City and just under an hour from Boston.
The inn itself will be designed in the spirit of an old manor house in the French countryside, with Monet-inspired gardens. There will be fireplaces in every guest and massage room, and a restaurant and wine bar on-site. Not to mention, the property will overlook Pinehills Golf Club, which contains the only two 5-star public courses in all of New England.
We love hotel that make children feel at home when they’re visiting. Many places exude a “don’t touch” aura-- a major turn-off for the toddler-toting set in what’s become an increasingly hostile travel environment for families.
Listen, we get not every hotel will be kid-friendly. We celebrate them, too. But when see that a place like the Four Seasons Boston has not one, but three special programs for little tykes, we can’t help but give them major props.
From in-room cupcakes, and free cookie-making classes, to “raid-the-fridge” days, who said luxury hotels were snooty and stuffy? We can’t, not with frosting gluing our lips together.
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The hotel, in the city's financial district, popped both a theoretical and literal first cork when it revealed its $6 million lobby renovation. Big deal, you say? That's what we thought, until we heard the lobby came with the new Reserve, a luxury European Champagne Lounge that will, for now, pair light cuisine with global selections of bubbly and wine.
For the first few weeks, it looks like it’s all mimosas and munchies: The Reserve will serve continental breakfast, lunch, and plenty of champers until it opens for dinner later this month (it will join BOND Restaurant and Café Fleuri as a third option for dinner within the walls of the hotel).