The Newbury Boston
Back Bay, Boston
Grand Style, $$$
When you're blessed with a strong foundation, the smart thing to do is build on it. And when that foundation has nearly a century under its belt, you'll want to treat it with extra care and respect. Which is exactly what the teams behind The Newbury Boston have done. The new hotel — one of Fathom's Best New Hotels of 2021 and already a member of the Leading Hotels of the World — in Boston's tony Back Bay neighborhood sits on the edge of Boston Public Garden and straddles some of the city's ritziest boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Which is only fitting, as the hotel began its life in 1927 as the one of the first Ritz-Carlton hotels in the United States.
Boston has always been a place where great minds came together to scheme new things, and the hotel respects that tradition, too. The players breathing new life into the grand dame are Highgate Hotels, a hotel company on the rise across the country; Major Food Group, whose revamp of the Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC proved they can renovate a classic and lead food trends, as they did with Carbone; and a troika of designers — Jeffrey Beers in the public spaces, Champalimaud Design in the rooms and suites, and Ken Fulk in the rooftop restaurant. The Newbury's original bones — marble columns, a grand staircase leading to the events floor, a fireplace unearthed in the renovation — have been enhanced with leather and velvet pieces in rich jewel tones, dark wood furniture and floors, and paneled walls in the public spaces and a warm palette in the residential-style rooms, most of which have great views of the Public Garden, and Back Bay's streets and roofscapes. Certain spaces like The Library have been reserved for guests only, but locals are already flocking to the speakeasy-style Street Bar for cocktails, the Salon for afternoon tea with scones and all the trimmings, and Contessa restaurant on the expansive roof for the classic Italian fare that Major Food Group does so well.
At a Glance
The Vibe: A classic revisited for modern times.
Standout Detail: The collaborations — with the designers, who created distinct experiences in the rooms and public spaces, with the chefs on the culinary program, and with local specialists who take guests on private art and food tours of Boston.
This Place Is Perfect For: Well-heeled travelers who love the mash-up between classic old style and modern amenities, services, and design.
Rooms: Of the hotel's 286 guest rooms, 90 are suites, of which 42 have wood-burning fireplaces, a detail the hotel exploits fantastically through a Fireplace Butler who guides guests through a menu of wood options. (Talk about taking the connoisseurship of cozy to new heights.) The two grandest suites in the house are The Corner House (clocking in at a homey 1600+ square feet) and The Mansion, which has a separate dining room and butler's pantry, just begging for an in-house dinner party. All the rooms are lovely and comfortable, furnished in light woods and textiles in soothing creams, blues, and grays. No elaborate patterns here, just herringbone and marble details alongside original artwork by illustrator Veronica Lawlor. Frette made the linens; Byredo made the custom Willow amenities in the bathroom.
A dozen ADA guest rooms are available. The family-friendly hotel (kids get their own cute little bathrobes) has connecting rooms and can arrange babysitting services. Your beloved pet will appreciate the dog beds, rain jackets, and treats from Polka Dog Bakery.
On Site: The private library lounge is exclusively for hotel guest use and is filled with volumes curated by the Boston Public Library. The 24-hour fitness center is tricked out with Peletons, weights, yoga mats, and other sweat-in-style accessories. More than 16,000 square feet can accommodate parties and events both large and small, and the original sweeping staircase makes for a dramatic entrance onto the event spaces on the second floor.
Food + Drink: As mentioned, the culinary program is led by Major Food Group, the company behind such impossible-to-get reservations as Carbone and the Four Seasons in New York City. The Street Bar on the ground floor overlooks the park and specializes in cocktails and fancy bar snacks. (Who doesn't love whiskey and oysters?) Afternoon tea with all the scones and trimmings is served in the Salon. Contessa is the show-stopper: an expansive rooftop restaurant with sweeping city views, a retractable roof, and a classic Italian menu that includes daily imported burrata, spicy lobster capellini, tortellni in brodo, pizzas, braised veal with polenta, Florentine steak, and rosemary potatoes. A nice touch: The apiaries on the rooftop provide the honey used throughout the hotel. Finally, in-room dining is available 24 hours a day.
What to Do Nearby
You're in the heart of classic Boston, the town evocative of the myth of preppy, WASPy old Americana (if we focus on the good parts). The Charles River Esplanade is close by for walks and bike rides and seasonal beer gardens and regatta races. Bucolic Boston Public Garden at the front door of the hotel is a great place to while away an afternoon. The shopping mecca of Newbury Street is right around the corner, should you need a Tiffany, Burberry, Chanel, Rimova, Armani, or Loro Piana fix. If you're checking out the classics, don't miss Boston Public Library and Copley Square. Back Bay train station is a little more than ten minutes by foot and five in cab.