Early Saturday evening, glass of cold Sam Adams in hand, I slide open the glass doors to my 8th floor patio at The Bostonian Boston and gaze around slowly from one lively scene to another.
Around and below me are some of the city’s most iconic images – the Hard Rock Café to my left, historic Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall below, skyscrapers towering above me and a view of the harbour directly in front.
And as I sip the crisp, refreshing ale, I realize that an array of live entertainment is being offered to me, all free – a nearby café rooftop band playing rock oldies, an acrobatic juggler tossing colorful balls high in the air above admiring onlookers and a group of gyrating street break-dancers.
It really would be difficult to find a more attractive downtown location for a city break than this 204-room, three-winged hotel and the panoramic view from Room 805. One of three such deluxe rooms featuring a spacious outside patio complete with table and chairs, it’s just one of the distinct advantages of a stay here.
There’s also cordial, well-informed receptionist, Bostonian Nick Ricciardelli, who can even advise you as to where to buy the best cannoli in the nearby Italian North End district and the exceptional culinary skills of Julia Brant in the ground-floor North 26 restaurant (more about that later).
First impressions being important, the hotel’s ’living room’ like lobby, furnished with comfy black-and-white, back-to-back sofas and leather armchairs, with books and assorted ornaments organised neatly on sleek vivid red shelving, is certainly inviting. So is the open fireplace nearby with twin stools fronting it, which, together with standing table lamps, emanate a soft, relaxing aura. Complimentary coffee and fresh natural lemonade stations throughout the day add to the overall sense of homeliness.
When dining at North 26, my advice is to choose a window table. You’ll sense the buzz of people milling happily around the shops, cafes and restaurants of Quincy Market just across the street and probably enjoy some of the entertaining street performers.
With mussels from Maine, scallops from Massachusetts, clams from Cape Cod and oysters from Nova Scotia, not to mention halibut and salmon, North 26 is a seafood lovers’ paradise but carnivores can also indulge in diverse choice such as Angus sirloin and chicken breast from southeastern Pennsylvania. You can also try the surf-and-turf option with crab-stuffed prawns.
We enjoyed an exceptional dinner, not surprising considering Brant’s 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry ranging from large hotels to small, free-standing restaurants to catering operations.
When we asked ‘what’s best on the menu today?’ we really got what we asked for, accompanied by a bold Vermentino from Tuscany.
The feast began with oysters, then prosciutto with rucola and poached figs with balsamic vinegar, before we were presented with a seafood pasta that eclipsed many leading trattorias, a potpourri of mussels, clams, prawns and lobster steaming in succulent sauce. Unwilling to waste any of it, we meticulously spooned out every last drop. Don’t skip dessert, it’s your chance to savor an authentic Boston cream pie.
Look out for the hotel’s generous food specials. While we were there, they included a ‘Shuck-for-a-buck’ offer on oysters and ‘Let’s Do Lobster’ for twenty dollars.
Situated at the doorstep of the financial district and located about three miles from Logan Airport, The Bostonian Boston attracts strong corporate as well as tourism clients. Spanning 7,000 square feet, it’s meeting and event spaces are situated on separate floors with multiple rooms, suite-style breakout spaces and its 200-person capacity Seasons Ballroom, with floor-to-ceiling bay windows, glass ceiling and three walk-out balconies overlooking Faneuil Hall – all offering a variety of settings.
For sheer location alone, The Bostonian Boston is hard to beat. When you figure in chef Brant’s innovative culinary creations and Ricciardelli’s innate knowledge of the city, it’s a most attractive place to spend a few days.