When visiting New England for the first time, you may think of its fascinating colonial history, or its breathtaking Atlantic coastline. But if you’re anything like me you’ll be as excited by its famous foliage, particularly at this time of year: the celebrated American Fall, where the changing colours are so magnificent as to be a tourist draw even to other Americans. So, what could be more delightful than to find the Four Seasons Boston located on the edge of the historic and gorgeously leafy Boston Public Gardens?
Already a national leader in luxury hospitality (boasting both a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond rating), the hotel has recently undergone a $15 million renovation, employing the talents of interior designer Michael Booth, and it has clearly been worth every penny. From its gilded, frankly awe-inspiring lobby—filled with dramatic works of modern art—through to its tastefully elegant bedrooms, the Four Seasons Boston is the peak of luxury perfection.
With over 273 rooms and suites, a superb restaurant The Bristol (plus stunning Bristol Bar), not to mention a pool on the 8th floor also overlooking the Public Gardens and a luxury spa, the Four Seasons really does have everything you could need for a first-class stay in this historic city.
Where the Four Seasons Boston’s lobby greets you with a grand, ostentatious bear-hug, the bedrooms are a pared-back, gentle embrace. The palette that chief designer Booth has chosen—cool, crisp whites and creams married with ‘colonial blue’ feature walls—feels designed to inspire calm from the moment you enter. The pop of bright yellow used on the upholstered furnishings adds a tasteful playfulness to the seating area. Even the smallest rooms are spacious, and if you’re lucky enough to have a garden-facing room, the full windows make it feel even more so.
When it comes to the actual ‘sleep’ itself, the Four Seasons is rightly proud of its Signature Sleep (or “Sleep Temple”) concept. From the proprietary mattresses designed exclusively for the Four Seasons (in partnership with Simmons), to the soundless in-room temperature controls, blackout shades and deliciously soft bedding, the Four Seasons have gone to every possible length to ensure you get the best night’s sleep possible.
The Bristol is the Four Seasons Boston’s in-house restaurant, and carries on the bold interior design of the lobby. Dark wood and even darker brown leather upholstery, floor-to-ceiling windows and gleams of gold create a masculine finish. If this sounds overly imposing, not to worry; thanks to the friendly service and bubbling ambience, The Bristol quickly makes you feel at ease, and seems equally at home housing large energetic groups as romantic couples. The menu is top notch; everything we tried, from the squid ink pasta through to the roast duck, was bursting with classic flavours. And they boast no less than an award-winning beef burger, with truffled parmesan chips to die for!
The wine menu is excellent (and dauntingly vast) and the cocktails are as classy as you’d expect (though I have yet to find anywhere in America that serves a decent espresso martini). And if you’re not quite done for the night as the restaurant closes shop, the Bristol Bar is a quick seat shuffle away and open until 1.30am.
For breakfast we indulged in room service, and all the greats of the American breakfast—plus much more besides—were there (it must be noted that my French toast with bacon was superb). It is a little on the pricey side, however, unless you opt for one of the combo options.
Who goes there?
The Four Seasons is a fantastic fit for just about every traveller! The rooms are spacious enough—and flexible enough—to accommodate large families, and couples both young and old should feel perfectly at home. There was a large wedding party present on the night we stayed, which always makes my heart sink a little, but the rooms are so well sound-proofed that you wouldn’t have known it.
Out & about
The hotel couldn’t be better located to explore historic Boston. If you’re feeling energetic and in the mood to absorb some of that history you could do worse than the Freedom Trail, taking in 16 historical sites, including the Old State House, Paul Revere’s House, the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. Along the way, be sure to stop at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which is truly the heart of the city.
If galleries are more your thing, there’s the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Isabella Stewart-Gardner Museum. Or if your wallet could do with a workout Boston’s fashionable Newbury Street is just two blocks from the hotel, where you’ll find Chanel and Burberry mixing with local retailers.
There are countless restaurants at which to sample Boston’s famous seafood, from the decadent to the rustic, and several jazz hotspots if you’re in the mood for music and the odd cocktail or three. The Four Seasons’ knowledgeable concierge will be able to point you in the right direction for anything else you might need!
The worst thing
It seems churlish to pick holes in a hotel so clearly filled with love and luxury, but if I must gripe I’d say it was a shame that, in an otherwise very spacious room, the bathroom featured only a shower and no bath.
The best thing
The Four Seasons prides itself on its excellent, warm and thorough customer care, and it is to the credit of their Boston branch that I indeed found that to be the case. Everyone we encountered was warm and eager to chat, not just to help, and it was hugely appreciated.
But another huge tick is without doubt the renovated spa and pool area. The steam room and sauna were compact but excellent, the changing facilities among the best and most thoughtfully put together of any I’ve ever used, and gliding through the clear waters of the pool while looking out at the Boston Public Gardens (where my beloved leaves were in full ‘Fall’ exactly as I’d hoped) was a delight!