Hotel Review: Taj Boston
Published: March 2012
What’s better than curling up with a loved one in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night? Especially when the fire in question has been laid and lit for you by your very own Fireplace Butler!
My fiancé and I checked into Boston’s luxurious Taj Hotel on the way back to London following a picture-perfect white Christmas in Vermont. The Taj (formerly the original Ritz-Carlton Boston) opened in 1927 and occupies an unrivalled position on the corner of Newbury and Arlington Streets, overlooking Boston’s historic Public Garden. The hotel exudes poise, elegance and charm and maintains the air of a handsome older lady who has seen younger challengers come and go. The Taj is extremely well-located for much of the best that Boston has to offer, including boutique shopping, entertainment and excellent restaurants.
The staff at the Taj provides gracious and impeccable service; discrete but helpful when required. Check-in was efficient and friendly and we were quickly shown to our room - a large corner suite which enjoyed far-reaching views over the Public Garden and Newbury Street. The Taj is decorated in traditional style, and our suite (which comprised of a large sitting room, one bedroom and a marble bathroom) was comfortably and elegantly furnished. The sitting room featured over-stuffed sofas, a desk and an original open fireplace. Nice little touches like the antique books positioned on the mantelpiece and the original art made the experience feel more like staying at a relative’s home than being in a hotel room.
The Taj Boston has 40 suites with ornate open fireplaces, and each comes with the services of a Fireplace Butler (from October to April only). Guests are invited to select the wood of their choice from a Fire Wood Menu and the Fireplace Butler will lay and light it on demand. Each wood has a different characteristic when it burns (apparently) from ‘fragrant and slow-burning’ (cherry) to ‘strong heat and burns quickly’ (birch). For the record we chose maple wood ‘the sweet aroma of maple evokes the essence of a New England winter in the heart of Boston’. With snow falling softly on the streets outside, the flames of our roaring fire made for a romantic and magical experience.
We didn’t have a huge amount of time to spare so rather than eating out or dining in one of the Taj’s award-winning restaurants, we ordered from the room service menu. Room service food can be a bit hit or miss at the best of times, and as we had decided to order from the special Indian menu, we didn’t have particularly high expectations about what was to come. However, the food that soon arrived was a credit to the Taj’s Indian heritage – the chicken and lamb curries we chose were absolutely delicious – both authentic and subtly spiced – and were accompanied by a selection of perfectly cooked rice, naan breads and chutneys. The dinner we enjoyed was far better than we could have hoped for – and we will definitely order from this menu again next time we stay.
And so to bed. The beds at the Taj Boston are things that dreams are made of. Huge, sumptuous, Frette-clad affairs with far more pillows than one could ever find a use for (on a previous visit the bed was so large that a small set of steps was provided to help guests climb into it!). Those with a preference can choose and order from an extended pillow menu featuring six different types of pillow.
All in all the Taj Boston is a terrific place to stay whilst visiting the city. On the downside the hotel doesn’t have a pool and its gym is rather diminutive, but what it lacks in fitness facilities is more than made up for by its stellar location. If you’re planning to visit Boston between October and April, a stay in one of the fireplace suites is a must and will provide a truly unique and memorable experience.
Hotel Review: Taj Boston
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