02111 Travel Guide
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
For a hotel located across the street from a hospital, you’d think that that the DoubleTree Hilton Boston would have had a facelift sooner. But this month the property announced the completion of an $8.6 million renovation that gave the 267 guest rooms a much needed new look. That's the "Before" picture above. Now brace yourself for the "After" shot below.
The Godfrey, slated for late 2014, will be Boston's next grand opening
There’s a spate of hotel developments afoot in the Hub. But according to a recent report released by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, the next hotel opening to hit the city will be The Godfrey in late 2014.
The property comes from the same team behind the just-opened Godfrey in Chicago, a Cubist-influenced building that, to those of us without art history degrees, could also be described as “Jenga chic.”
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
Earlier this week, we were stunned by the Laduree Macaron Christmas Tree at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel. Today, there's another macaron creation to drool over, The Nutcracker at the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common which stands 14-feet tall and consists entirely of gingerbread macarons. Below are some fun facts from Chef Andrew Yeo about the structure, which apparently needs daily touch-ups because hungry guests keep filching macarons from it!
· The Nutcracker is made out of 20 pounds of almond flour, 100 pounds of granulated sugar, five pounds of water and 4,106 egg whites.
· In total, that's more than 3,000 macarons, flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, clove and almond.
· Using the hotel's entire pastry team, it took about a week to build from start to finish.
· Yeo was inspired by a gift he received earlier in the year from Laduree Paris and that set his mind on doing something for the holidays with macarons.
· Last year, the hotel built a life-sized gingerbread house that housed a gift shop for the Boston Ballet. This year, they wanted to go bigger yet still incorporate the ballet. Thus The Nutcracker, which comes to life next door at the Opera House.
· Lastly, the figure is 14-feet-tall to celebrate 2014. Clever!
The hotel still has rooms open for Christmas starting at $395 a night. The hotel also has a Nutcracker Suite package available that includes a stay in a luxury suite with holiday trimmings and elements inspired by Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker, a Teddy Bear tuck-in service, a saint pointe shoe autographed by a Boston Ballet company dancer, a CD recording of The Nutcracker and a Sugar Plum inspired bubble bath drawn by butler. Fancy! But it costs $995 a night.
It's a bit of slow news day here (hotel-wise anyways, we know the rest of the world is mourning Davy Jones and reeling from the news of a mini-Snooki) so we decided to see what our favorite celeb guest was up to recently---Lady Gaga.
As it turns out, Mother Monster is in Boston today launching her Born This Way Foundation at Harvard. And last night, she tweeted about a special treat made for her by the hotel's chef:
The chef at hotel made me a surprise. So awesome to see the message spreading already. One cookie at a time.
While the cookies are cute (we dig the gold "glitter"), we were more interested in finding out where Lady Gaga is staying. While her hotel visits in Beantown in the past are varied--she has hit up the Ames and the Nine Zero before, it looks like she might be staying at the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common this time around. (If this tweet from a super fan is to be believed.)
The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common boasts a top-of-the-line fitness center in the adjoining Sports Club/L.A.—complete with a "mind-body concierge"—but get out of the gym and burn some calories in the great outdoors with the hotel's Bike, Bed & Breakfast package.
It gives you a chance to see Beantown from the seat of a bicycle, as seems to be the trend these days. Ride along the scenic Esplanade of the Charles River or pedal to the city's landmarks, like the Bunker Hill Monument. Ambitious athletes can tackle the nearby 50-acre Boston Common park. The park serves as the anchor of the Emerald Necklace, a chain of nine parks and waterways. If you do try the Emerald Necklace, be sure to take a picnic break at the lovely Jamaica Pond.
Please re-assure us (er, this writer) and say that there are many people in this world who watch the guilty summertime dance contest pleasure So You Think You Can Dance and that judge Mary Murphy's awesome catchphrases ("Girl, you've earned yourself a ticket on the Hot Tamale Train!") are endlessly amusing to others. Anyone? Maybe?
Well, how about this: if you're a dancer you know, if you really do think you can dance (or if you're so exquisitely terrible that you think you can land a 5-second spot on a 'best of SYTYCD terrible auditions' montage the Hyatt Regency Boston is offering itself up as the HQ to kick off Beantown auditions for sixth season of the show:
The Hyatt Regency Boston welcomes aspiring dancers to audition for the popular original dance show, “So You Think You Can Dance” on Thursday, May 26th at 9 am in their Grand Ballroom. Auditioners traveling to Boston for this open call should make arrangements to stay for at least two days following their initial audition in the event of a callback.
A room block has apparently been reserved for hopefuls that can be booked by calling the hotel directly, but might we suggest just kinda cruisin' around the hotel to check out the hopefuls on the day of the auditions? The people-watching safari is bound to be epic.
Beantown-ers who need last-minute Cinco de Mayo plans might want to check out the Hyatt Regency Boston, which today opens its Terrace at Avenue One. The outdoor terrace on the hotel’s roof transforms during the summer months into a swanky spot for drinks and apps under the stars (in their words: “perfect for…a night out on the town while mingling with fellow socialites”).
Located smack in downtown Boston's theatre district, the Terrace makes a nice pre-show drinks spot with its lengthy wine list, microbrews, and specialty cocktails. Or, the New England-style menu offers a generous variety of light fare that could easily work for dinner, from crab cakes and clam chowder to shrimp scampi and an English-style club sandwich.
That’s all fine and good, but what really has us wishing we lived in Boston is the lounge’s new Cornhole League, set to start June 2nd and continue every Tuesday night. After all, nothing says summer like socialites engaging in a little competitive beanbag toss — mojito and calamari in tow. (Bostonites can sign up for the league at Socialbostonsports.com.)
The Terrace at Avenue One is open 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
Summer may still be a ways off, but it's never too early to book a hotel high tea reservation, especially when there are cupcakes involved. Launching a tea menu to set itself apart from other hotels with silver service is the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, who will serve up "Cupcake Tea in The Gallery" from May 16 through June 27 only.
At about half the price of other hotel teas, the cupcake offering will run only $20 for adults and $16 for children. Brush your sweet tooth good before indulging, because the tea service includes your choice of teas along with a flight of five gourmet cupcakes and your choice of toppings. What are these five chosen flavors, anyway? Only the best for the Ritz-Carlton: tiramisu, boston cream pie, lemon meringue, black forest and irish coffee. We'll take a tiramisu topped with Oreo crumbs and toasted coconut, thank you very much.
Score reservations for the Cupcake Tea at the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common by calling them at 617-574-7176.
[Photo: Ritz-Carlton Boston Common]
This year, the Gallery restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common is toasting the Halloween season -- because that's what luxury hotels do -- with the new "Spirits" cocktail and dessert menu.
The selection, available each Thursday and Friday in October, is truly scary as it features a list of sorority-house cocktails like "Redrum, Redrum," a mixture of orange and pineapple juices as well as Bacardi Gold rum (at least it's not the cheap stuff of well drinks), topped off with grenadine and a Maraschino cherry, Shirley Temple-style.
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The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common is located between the city's theater financial districts which isn't exactly within walking distance to The Garden. Yet this is Boston, nothing is really far from where ever you are.
As for the hotel, the Ritz just completed an $11 million renovation this year of all guest rooms, suites, and public spaces. It has a fine dining restaurant in the JER-NE restaurant and bar.
Athletes will like this hotel as well since it's directly connected to the 100,000-sq.ft. posh Sports Club/LA gym. And there will be no shortage of celebs there. We hear the hotel has recently hosted such guests as Leonardo di Caprio, Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Douglas and Justin Timberlake.
Yet you may need an NBA player's salary to stay here. Rooms are available tonight for $695 for a room with a king or double queen beds. We say just hit up the hotel's Gallery Bar and scope out the scene instead.
If you've got a spoiled kid nearing 16 years, who isn't spoiled enough to earn an MTV special but spoiled enough nevertheless, then the Boston Hyatt Regency is the place to celebrate.
Yep, here's a new way to use your frequent traveler points--purchase a "Suite 16 Party." A Hyatt concept which we detailed last spring, the package includes use of a limousine and digital camera, an iPod dock, in-room dining, a birthday present, breakfast, in room movie, Cranium board game, an extra a room for the chaperones and more:
The Hyatt Regency is physically attached to Macy's and the department store made a special gift basket full of soaps and perfume samples for the birthday girl. Members of the Hyatt staff also asked Carolyn's parents about her favorite foods and colors to help personalize the experience.
That's right for just $2,500 all these amenities can be for any spoiled 16 year-old and parents can find a new use for their points. Mark Ruffolo recently treated his daughter to the party and claimed it was a "really good investment of my points because it was a memorable moment for my daughter."
This is all cute and dandy but we may have to recommend asking the Botson Hyatt's concierge pre-reservation if there are any Suite 16 parties going on during your desired dates. Unless of course all night gigglefests next door don't bother you.
Oh it gets weirder. Apparently, when the Sox were down 2-0 to the Yankees last October, Damon chucked a stolen pumpkin off the 34th story to try and "change his luck."
I let that baby go and I could see it drop all the way down to the ground, before it smashed into a million pieces. I was sure our luck had changed.
I just did it to check out my accuracy, maybe try to hit a stop sign--I know how I would feel if someone hit my car with a pumpkin.
Guess Johnny is an idiot after all. Is it too late to have him arrested?