Having left from a Tiffany cocoon in New York, the gal took a train to Boston, and one of the first things she saw was the enormous Tiffany store on the north corner of Newbury and Arlington. It just happens that it has Boston‘s tallest luxury hotel, Taj Boston, on top of it (there are higher building in the village – for that is what this cosy, friendly city is – but their hotel component does not occupy all floors, as the 17-floor Taj Boston does). Tiffany provided a warm welcome, as did a bellman called Josh who is Mr Hospitality personified, and later there was a big warm welcome from Karambir Kang, who heads Taj Americas as well as running this hotel, and from his chef Andrew Beer.
I loved the Tata Suite, suite 731, with its pale lemon padded-fabric walls, and hints of love-in-a-mist here and there, especially in the carpeting. The view is amazing. I look north along Arlington towards the Charles River, and east to the Public Garden, with its commanding statue of George Washington on horseback. Apparently last winter was truly vile, but the Garden, with its neighbouring Boston Common area, were absolutely beautiful. I am here in Boston to see what has happened in the last two years, and to check that the city is still managing to keep up with year-round incoming business that includes parents visiting to see their precious offspring at Harvard, MIT or wherever, plus those coming for medical check-ups, and to do business in the financial or life sciences sectors, or as tourists, and by ship.
It would not be totally wrong, admittedly, to say there are still a few hints of the 273-room hotel‘s former management, Ritz-Carlton, here. Suite 731’s walls are padded pale-lemon fabric (OH so Horst Schulze). There are, admittedly, hints of forget-me-not in the carpet. Look at the bed, a classic four half-post, with a mattress so high they even provide wooden steps to climb up. But Karambir Kang and his team have done a splendid job at maintenance, and bringing locals into the hotel, for brunch, weddings, special events – buy an engagement ring at Tiffany’s, here, and Taj Boston treats you to brunch-for-two. Andrew Beer’s menu, by the way, is half American, half Indian, and thanks to Gurminder Gidda this is REAL Indian, which has attracted a big local following.
Yes there is a 24/7 gym, and rooms have flat screens and faultless fast WiFi, but there are also hints of history, which is very endearing. Suite 731 has engravings of Sir Ratan Tata, born in 1904 in Paris, and his French wife Suzanne Brière, always called Sooni. Having had an experimental salad of pickled beets topped with a bird’s nest of frilly mustard greens last night, today I love the classic presentation of my room service breakfast, with the kind of butter balls my mother used to make with a pair of criss-crossed butter pats. And more than anything I am really fond of this luxury hotel’s long-and short-tenure staff, from Jason Keenan, the London-born maitre d’ to the telephone operator who seems to pick up all departments’ calls, and gets them right.