Boston’s hotel scene has never been hotter, and roughly 5,000 rooms will be added over the next five years. Thanks to a handful of high-profile new arrivals and impressive renovations, the city's best hotels, especially those in the luxury space, have gone from stuffily sedate to super seductive.

By Andrew Sessa
October 30, 2020
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James Baigrie/Courtesy of The Whitney Hotel
| Credit: James Baigrie/Courtesy of The Whitney Hotel

For proof that Boston has entered a new age of hotel opulence, one need only look to the year-old Four Seasons One Dalton (doubles from $545). The evidence isn’t just in its details — from its $1-plus million in original art, many by blue-chip names, to its sprawling wellness floor with a 64-foot-long pool — but in the hotel’s very existence. Its opening made Boston only the fourth city in the country with two Four Seasons. (San Francisco has since matched the accomplishment.)

Four Seasons One Dalton.
| Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

The One Dalton property is set in the city’s third-tallest skyscraper, with 215 rooms and suites that have panoramic Back Bay vistas. Cosseting interiors are done in dark-stained hardwoods, marble, leather, herringbone, and glen plaid in rich grays and browns. The public areas quickly became popular with well-heeled locals, making them feel like the living room of the city’s social set, with stylish types gathering for cocktails in the intimate elliptical lobby and adjacent Trifecta bar (which opened in April) before heading up a curving staircase to Zuma, a branch of London’s see-and-be-seen Japanese izakaya.

A suite at the Whitney.
| Credit: James Baigrie/Courtesy of The Whitney Hotel

Across town in charming Beacon Hill, the Whitney (doubles from $250) offers quieter pleasures, and direct Charles River views, too. Opened in August 2019, it reimagines a 110-year-old brick nurse’s dormitory as a 65-room stay with character to spare. Here, interiors celebrate the setting with maritime, navy-and-white décor and art inspired by city landmarks. Expect Frette linens, organic bath salves from the Australian line Grown Alchemist, of-the-moment Hydrow rowing machines, and minibars featuring local goodies. Don’t miss the restaurant — the Mediterranean-island-hopping Peregrine — from the team behind Juliet, a local favorite that earned national acclaim when it opened in 2016.

In September, the Mandarin Oriental (doubles from $595), in the tony Back Bay district, unveiled a $15 million renovation of its 148 rooms and suites, as well as its event spaces, by Champalimaud Design. The new look weaves together influences both Eastern and Western, juxtaposing the plaids of England and New England with chinoiserie-inspired carpets and wallpapers, all in a coastal palette of blues, grays and taupes. (The announcement of a restaurant to replace Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud, which closed in June, is forthcoming.)

A guest room at the Newbury
| Credit: Courtesy of The Newbury Boston

In December, the Newbury (doubles from $599) will open across from the Public Garden, breathing new life into a nearly century-old neoclassical icon built as the city’s original Ritz-Carlton. The property, most recently a Taj, will show off 286 rooms by Alexandra Champalimaud’s studio and public spaces by Jeffrey Beers. Event planner-turner-interiors master Ken Fulk is doing the new rooftop restaurant, launching in the spring, partnering with the group behind Manhattan hotspots Carbone, Dirty French, and Sadelle’s. Choice rooms will be the 42 suites with wood-burning fireplaces, about half of them with park views.

The newly renovated Langham.
| Credit: Courtesy of The Langham, Boston

The reportedly $150 million makeover of the Langham (doubles from $475), meanwhile, will debut shortly after, sometime in the first months of 2021. Drawing inspiration from the hotel’s landmarked Renaissance Revival building — the former Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, built in 1922 —the 312-room hotel incorporates such Deco details and nods to early-20th-century travel as sleek barrel-backed armchairs and nightstands reminiscent of luxe steamer trunks.

The Langham will be the last in the current wave of luxe openings, but the lull won’t last long. Coming in 2022: The 147 rooms and suites of the Raffles — the storied brand’s first foray into North America.