Ben Franklin once said that “visits should be short, like a winter’s
day.” A few blocks from his birthplace, Boston’s new Ames hotel is doing its best to prove him wrong.
Occupying the Romanesque former headquarters of the Ames farm-tool company, the 113-room downtown property (which officially opened last night) is the very chic result of a collaboration between David Rockwell and the Morgans Hotel Group—the New York-based founding
fathers, so to speak, of the boutique hotel.
It’s not as haute-design as the Mondrian that Morgans opened in South Beach last fall, but the Ames has its fair share of high-fashion elements, from alpaca throws to a white-on-white theme that’s offset by black-tile bathrooms and accents of cinnabar orange.
Rockwell is known as an ultra-modern designer, but he’s had some fun with history here: the bedside lighting riffs on whale-oil lamps of yore, and mirrors facing the elevators make use of an old theater trick to conjure the spooky illusion of a chandelier. (I wasn’t as big a fan of the hotel’s other “chandelier,” a hanging constellation of mirror discs that partially obscures the lobby’s beautiful barrel-vaulted mosaic ceiling.)
Mistral’s Seth Greenberg and Mark Goldberg are behind The Woodward, which serves up small plates—like cheesy mushroom toast and short-rib pot roast with parsnip and carrot—that you can really sink your teeth into. It’s a modern-tavern concept, with Victorian curios lining the walls and Chef Goldberg making innovative use of pickled fruits and vegetables. The house ale, created by New Hampshire’s Smuttynose brewery, is available by the growler. One or two of those and your stay at the Ames may (sorry, Ben Franklin) be as long as a winter’s night.
Ames is offering introductory rates of $165 through April 5.