Earlier this month, my family and I headed out to Boston, Massachusetts for a quick family reunion. Not only did I get to spend some time in one of my absolute favorite cities, but I got to visit Boston in early October, which is arguably the best time to go. We were about a week early for the stunning leaf turning displays New England is famous for, but the trees were attempting to show some color and the air was cool and crisp. Perfect weather for relaxing indoors with a huge bowl of clam or corn chowder. Yum.
While we were in Boston, we stayed at the very centrally located Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers. The hotel’s on Arlington at Park Plaza, only two blocks from the Boston Public Gardens and Boston Common and within easy walking distance to sights like the Back Bay, NewburyStreet and The Freedom Trail. If you don’t feel like walking all around Boston, you’re also only blocks away from the “T,” Boston’s excellent subway system. The hotel’s definitely an older one, but it’s very well kept, and the location really can’t be beat.
My family was booked on the 15th floor, which has an Express Elevator which takes you directly to the floor with no stops (nice!). As you step out of the elevator you’ll notice that there is a friendly concierge who can help you book tours, make shuttle and dinner reservations and provide you with that “in the know” info that only a local can. Having a concierge there was great, but he/she was sometimes difficult to locate, as they weren’t always at the desk. There’s also a nice lounge area which serves a free breakfast every morning, and I have to say that I was impressed. The overly helpful staff pointed out the three different types of Starbuck’s coffee, scrambled eggs and a wide assortment of muffins, breads, bagels juices, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit. It was definitely one of the best complimentary breakfasts I’ve ever enjoyed.
The rooms were surprisingly different. The room my sister and I shared was on the smaller side with a tiny bathroom. We had a decent view of the Boston skyline, though. There was an oddly noisy air conditioning/heater unit which make some very entertaining sounds, but other than that the room was comfortable. Our parents’ room was much larger, and we were jealous of their significantly larger bathroom. Their room pretty much had a view of a wall, though, so there was a trade off. Both rooms got a little stuffy, but cracking the windows open a touch seemed to do the trick. Internet connections were not free, although on the 15th floor you get complimentary “basic” Internet, which means you can access the major email providers like Hotmail and Yahoo. You can’t actually surf the Web though, for which you have to pay an extra $5/day. I think the Internet costs more if you’re not on the 15th floor. This was really surprising to me, and a little annoying.
One great thing about this hotel is that there are eight restaurants and bars within the hotel itself. Yes, eight! We dined at McCormick & Schmicks one night, and the food was quite good. Definitely a seafood place, and if you like crab, as I do, you’ll be very happy. Other restaurants included Todd English, Whiskey Park and The Melting Pot, a famous and romantic spot for fondue.
Since I like to eat when I travel – a lot – I always try to stay in a hotel with a gym, so that I can at least “intend” to exercise there. Boston Park Plaza has a small gym with essentials like tradmills and ellipticals. Headphones are free, which I thought was pretty neat.
Overall, I’d definitely stay again. Boston Park Plaza is not cheap, but then all the hotels which are this central to the major Boston sights are pretty expensive. Rooms here can range anywhere from $120 to $300 or more per night depending on the time of year and how lucky you get on the discount sites.