What was once a classic Ritz-Carlton in the vein of an Eloise book is now an amenity-laden luxury hotel with most of the building’s original beaux arts details intact (the Instagram-worthy lobby alone is worth a visit). Originally opened in 1927, the 18-story retreat hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and Joan Crawford (said to be an especially high-maintenance guest). In 2002, the hotel underwent a massive renovation on the occasion of its 75th anniversary; in 2006, Taj Hotels bought the building and formally unveiled Taj Boston in 2007.
Rooms are awash in comfort: Frette linens, down-filled comforters, a pillow menu, and bath butlers. In keeping with the hotel’s blend of Old and New World traditions, the customer service is gracious but not stuffy. The hotel’s central location means guests can walk to all the city’s sites, but those in a hurry can simply enlist the services of the house Jaguar and driver to whisk them around town.
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Turn in the rental car, because you’ve landed in a pedestrian’s paradise. The gorgeously planted Public Gardens are across the street, with the Boston Common located just beyond. The Taj also sits at the top of the famed Newbury Street; stroll its length for galleries, shopping, and inimitable people watching. Downtown Crossing, the Theater District, and historic Beacon Hill are also mere minutes away. Architecture buffs should walk down the nearby Commonwealth Mall to drink in the restored and refurbished Back Bay brownstones.
Need to Know
Rooms: 229 rooms, 44 suites. From $345. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:The café serves three meals daily, and the menu is a mix of New England and Indian classics. The seasonal rooftop brunch, popular with locals as well as hotel guests, affords incomparable views and a cornucopia of daytime indulgences, including made-to-order omelets, chilled seafood, artisan cheeses, sushi, and a roasted rib eye carving station. Every evening must end in the clubby, fireplace-warmed bar—a true Brahmin relic. Try one of the honey-infused cocktails, which incorporate nectar from the hotel’s rooftop apiary. Afternoon tea can be had in the chandeliered French Room. Spa and gym details: Though there’s no spa on-site, Newbury Street is ground zero for the city’s poshest beauty treatments. The well-equipped gym is open 24 hours a day.
Who's it for: Luxury-minded, first-time visitors who want easy access to Boston’s most picturesque streets and parks. Our favorite rooms: The 700-square-foot luxury park view corner suite offers truly spectacular views of both the Public Garden and Newbury Street, as well as a connected parlor space. Cozy upgrade: In the winter, spring for a fireplace suite; your personal fireplace butler will build and stoke your fire using the wood of your choice, from birch to cherry.