Luxury hotel brand Raffles will open its first U.S. outpost next month in Boston, adding to the city’s mix of upscale hotel properties that has been evolving, with some newer openings and refurbished favorites.
Among the newest entrants is the Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street Boston, the city’s second Four Seasons, built into the 61-story One Dalton skyscraper that opened in 2019 as Boston’s third-tallest building and highest residential one.
Its height means rooms with views of pretty much the entire city. Mine looked directly over the famed reflecting pool and dome of the Christian Science Center and the lovely brownstones of Boston’s South End neighborhood.
The property’s “wellness floor” has a 64-foot-long indoor pool, which features underwater speakers and seating nooks looking out at the city. A modern fitness center is also surrounded by walls of windows and the sleek gray-and-cream color palette that extends propertywide. The spacious spa has five treatment rooms, including one for couples.
Grabbing a bite
The hotel has several eating options, each with its own personality and menu. It is home to the region’s first Zuma Japanese restaurant, offering 70 kinds of sake.
The One + One restaurant is a busy breakfast spot that is especially popular with both visitors and locals as a destination weekend brunch spot, when a buffet is complemented by a Bubble and Spritz cocktail menu.
The Trifecta restaurant and cocktail lounge is a stylish spot for New England-inspired fare, such as Wellfleet oyster tacos and a lobster roll with a twist: black truffle aioli. Cocktails include the Mrs. Mallard, a nod to the famed matriarch of Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” family that lived in the nearby Public Garden.
My room, a deluxe king, was exceedingly comfortable to experience the Work at Leisure by Four Seasons program. With the rise in guests working from their rooms, the hotel brand’s program enables guests to order a Herman Miller ergonomic chair, a monitor, printer and other office items, including a ring light for videoconferencing. I was fine with the well-appointed desk, Nespresso coffee machine and dazzling city views.
For a change of scenery, bring the laptop down to the lobby rotunda, which the hotel calls its living room and features tall cases of colorful books and sleek but comfortable seating.
As Four Seasons does at all its properties, kids will enjoy several “treats” throughout their stay, from a tent set-up at night to a surprise of popcorn and candy and a smiling toothbrush holder.
Checking in with the Mandarin
The Mandarin Oriental Boston opened in 2008, but after a four-month renovation in 2020 of all 148 guestrooms and event spaces, the refreshed property holds its own among the city’s newer entrants.
The refurbishment was meant to make the rooms feel more residential and combine New England style with Eastern design touches reflective of the brand’s Hong Kong origins.
Visitors can get a new perspective on Fenway Park, the Massachusetts State House and other Boston landmarks from 52 stories about the city.
The hotel’s location is hard to beat, steps from Newbury Street (which our fifth-floor room faced) and its boutique stores, bustling restaurants and weekend street fairs. It is also next to the mall and observatory at Prudential Center and within walking distance of several landmarks, including Copley Square’s Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library.
The Mandarin’s rooms are sizable; the property markets them as the largest in the city. I was especially impressed with its huge closet enabling all three of our suitcases to be open inside — and out of sight.
I also appreciated MOBI, a small robot, sitting right on a bedside table, that could handle quite a few requests, such as asking for a car from valet or help with luggage, without having to call the front desk.
The marble lobby that has been a standout since the hotel first opened was not changed during the renovation. It offers complimentary coffee and other beverages throughout the day, and large windows with comfy seating make it ideal for looking out onto the busy Boston streets.
One area where the hotel is limited is dining. Ramsay’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay made a highly anticipated debut in early 2022 as the only Ramsay restaurant in Boston. It is the hotel’s only on-site restaurant, but thanks to the hotel’s stellar location, many great coffee shops and some of Boston’s best restaurants are within walking distance, inspiring guests to get out and enjoy the city.
To that end, the property offers several activities for guests that showcase the best of Boston, and even as far as Cape Cod, to where the hotel will arrange a daytrip via private car and ferry.
For guests wanting to enjoy the city’s nearby green spaces, the hotel will pack a picnic spread for an outing to either the Public Garden or the Charles River Esplanade. Other experiences offered are a three-hour Boston by Bike Tour and a Forest Bathing Therapy experience led by certified Forest Therapy Guide at the Arnold Arboretum, which the Mandarin says is the first such tour offered by any hotel in the city.
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