Of all the hotel views over the Boston skyline, it would be hard to find a more relaxing one than what I enjoyed from Room 857 of the Royal Sonesta.
And it’s not even in Boston. It’s in nearby Cambridge.
Staying in a waterside suite, I gaze from my balcony over the sparkling waters of the Charles River where yachts tack to and fro in a gentle breeze or remain moored to wooden docks at the historic Charlesgate Yacht Club, watch enthusiastic canoers zigzagging between the banks and weekend joggers enjoying a run along the pathway below me.
And if that wasn’t enough to pique my curiosity, the Museum of Science and the Planetarium are immediately to my left and the 100-year old Longfellow Bridge to my right, with the dense skyscrapers of downtown Boston just beyond it.
The Royal Sonesta is an imposing edifice, an enormous, brown-brick façade comprising two towers, one being the original building and the other a more modern addition, together containing over 400 rooms.
With floor-to-ceiling glass walls along the length of its extensive atrium, natural light floods in, with imaginative use of decorative glass beading and tubing enhancing the overall glimmering effect. Large framed paintings, reflecting contemporary movements such as minimal, image-based and pop art, line the walls and an abundance of cosy sofas and armchairs invite guests to relax and unwind the collection. There is also comfortable outside seating with clear views of the river.
At one end of the atrium is a Studio Cafe and Studio Express, with Starbucks products, providing simple, speedy meals, even fast snack deliveries to rooms, while at the other end is the gym and an outdoor pool with a garden sun terrace.
More relaxed dining options are provided at two ground-floor restaurants, Dante offering upscale Italian fare such as chicken marsala and grilled octopus, with DJ and live music, and the more informal, ArtBar, each having broad riverside patios.
We enjoyed a soiree at the latter kicking off our evening with a pair of creative cocktails, one, the signature drink, Fire Tonic, a mix of Empress 1908 gin, tonic and edible flowers, and the other named after the famous incident that ignited the revolution, the Charles River Tea Party, comprising bourbon, chai tea and Aztec chocolate bitters.
ArtBar’s menu is a comprehensive one with a wide range of starters from fried oysters and cornmeal crusted calamari to crispy chicken wings and crab cake and mains featuring steaks, salmon and chicken dishes.
Our room was spacious featuring a swivel lime-green leather armchair, a generous clothes closet, gleaming chrome metal bedside lamps, a corner sofa, and, of course, the step-out balcony offering us views of the world. The hotel is pet friendly.
For corporate and personal events, the Royal Sonesta has 28,000 square feet of function space, accommodating up to 550 guests and almost 4,000 square feet for outdoor events.
While culture and sports enthusiasts will be much pleased with what there is on offer in and around the Royal Sonesta, shopaholics will also not be disappointed. Just across the street, Edwin H. Land Boulevard, facing the hotel entrance is Cambridgeside Mall, housing a score of shops, cafes and chain restaurants on several floors.
Kendall Square, a mile away, is a lively tech hub with good restaurants, an art-house cinema and the MIT Museum. For those interested in an adventurous ride in World War Two amphibious landing vehicles through Boston and its environs, a stop for Boston Duck Tour is a 5-minute walk away.