Can you take a seemingly-terminal white elephant and turn it into a Fabergé, or at least a TIFFANY JEWEL FOR TOMORROW? Bernard Arnault thinks so, buying into, say, Rimowa and Tiffany. Mahmood Khimji, Co-Chairman and CEO of Highgate, believes the same. It is Khimji who has conducted the purchase – with the help, it is rumored, of such Iconiq Capital investors as S. Sandberg and M. Zuckerberg – and ongoing management, of what is now THE NEWBURY, Boston.
Self-employed limo driver Kenny Young, a longtime doorman here, remains a lifetime enthusiast – see him on the left, above, with current doorman James Rivera. At the north-east corner of Newbury Street (yes, the name), James took the golden Rimowa wheelie and twirled it in a waltz of welcoming delight. Kenny clutched a painting, a gift for hotel MD, Carlos Bueno.
And so, enter this glorious theatre. Zegna, the boutique that replaces yesteryear’s never-change café, is on the left, Tiffany to the right, has that memorable back-lit image of J-Lo+ shining in, behind the conciergerie. Jeffrey Beers has orchestrated the look, downstairs, lobby, bar and library (see, below, an introduction to some of its art, brilliantly curated by local gallerists) and immediately upstairs, a football-sized network of connecting ballrooms, with twig-patterned carpetting, ceiling-high views over Michigan to Boston Common, and magnificent old Murano and modern chandeliers.
Moving up the 17-floor building, which dates to 1927, we come to 286 bedrooms, all ALEXANDRA CHAMPALIMAUD (amazingly, the 138 sq m #731, one of two Presidential Suites, is a totally-unrecognisable pastel rebirth of the heritage Tata Suite and even the ‘smallest’, s #726 space, 38 sq m, seems spacious). 42 rooms have choose-your-wood-type real fires. LUXURY IS ALSO SUCH ELEMENTS AS A WINDOW-SET LOUNGING SOFA WITH DOUBLE SOCKETS AND USB PORTS EITHER END.
Luxury 2021-style must also include elements of fun, which naturally you find here. Back down on Newbury Street a former service entrance and goods’ elevator are now a WHIMSICAL APPROACH TO CREATIVE DINING. Designer Ken Fulk is apparently visualiser for Major Food Group’s restaurant theatres: here, Major’s rooftop conversion, which does have a hotel interior entrance, is all-day Contessa, an 182-seat buzz of sit-up bar, small and big table settings. Think just-in Puglia burrata, a range of pizzas on foot-high silver stands, Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Le Orme Piemonte 2018 or Taittinger, Richard Ginori and Sambonet, and Red Sox fans in from the Berkshires for a day of stock-ups from Burberry and Chanel, all within ten minutes’ walk of the hotel.
After under six months of full re-opening, says Carlos Bueno, THE NEWBURY’S APPEAL to sports and shopping fans, and the educational and medical sectors worldwide, is more than encouraging. He beamed with Dominican Republic delight, and rushed off to the Lisbon meeting of Leading Hotels of the World (does he need a ‘brand’? It seems Mahmood Khimji is creating his own).