Every city benefits from having bikes-to-go (think Boris bikes in London). In Boston the system is Hubway, with over 1,300 bikes throughout the city, plus Cambridge and elsewhere: the offer is only nine months a year because of winter. Last year’s winter was so extreme that many locals put getting around as top priority for the mayor, Martin Walsh. Bostonians did not want the 2024 Olympics, indeed, because they felt money might be diverted from upgrading local transport. Back to bikes. One luxury hotel that does, thankfully, provide bikes for its guests is the thoughtful Four Seasons Boston, a perennially-young 30-year old that remains the venue of choice for ultra ladies-who-lunch.
The 274-room hotel opened, under then-GM Seamus McManus, with fine dining and all the bells and whistles, but now the eating and drinking venue is a carpeted drawing room, the Bristol, with lots of different areas (why Bristol? Well, that is a name associated with Grand Tour travel, think Le Bristol in Paris, and the Gürtler family’s equally divine Bristol in Vienna). Elegant wood tables are set so far apart that you cannot hear what those at the next table are sharing when it comes to latest stylist or champagne bar – or, during the week, when the hotel is base for scions of industry, half of them regular guests, the inside story on a life-science development. A second Four Seasons is coming up, in Back Bay, but, says Bill Taylor, the delightfully flamboyant GM of Four Seasons Boston, it will complement this one.
Now that there are Hainan Airlines flights from and to Beijing and Shanghai (non-stop, under 16 hours) more and more Chinese are heading here. They come to visit the Only Child, studying at Boston University, Harvard, MIT or one of the other illustrious educational establishments in the area. History buffs also enjoy Boston, for its buildings and stories. Baseball enthusiasts are drawn to the Red Sox. Yes, the reasons for visiting Boston are endless, and the shopping, too, is as good as that in Chicago, or even New York. Americans will drive up to three hours for weekends here, to catch up with the latest in Neiman-Marcus, or what Greg Lauren – Ralph Lauren‘s nephew – has to offer in Louis Boston, one of TimeOut Boston‘s top retail destinations.
This luxury hotel‘s Presidential Suite is the preferred hang-out of top celebrities, including entertainers, when they come to town. Why? The bedroom, with all-over pictorial wallpaper and matching bed drapes, is theatrical. The salon has a baby grand piano, and the hotel’s only balcony, useful if anyone wanted to pontificate to the crowds who presumably would be gathered in Boylston Street below. When it comes to ordinary rooms, definitely try to get something looking over the Public Garden, and Boston Common, just across Boylston. There are stunning views of both adjacent gardens, too, from the eighth floor indoor pool, and the 24/7 gym. And then if you want any more exercise, well, get on your bike.