Mary Gostelow finds Boston Harbor Hotel really convenient

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Boston Harbor Hotel is the result of an extremely astute developer, Norman Leventhal.  He realised in the 1980s that putting a hotel into an office block right by the water – at Boston Harbor, naturally – would be win-win for all. The 232-room Boston Harbor Hotel opened in 1987 and it is now, after all these years, being brought even more up to date. Its front is right on Atlantic Avenue. Walk through its two floor-high arch to the rear promenade and there are boats, and a permanent cupola that is one of the site’s several popular wedding venues.


Stephen Johnston, the Dublin-born GM of this hotel, frequently has three or four weddings going on simultaneously – he entices brides not only with pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes, #IdoinChoo, but by a choice of sites.  He can accommodate 250 guests in the hotel’s Wharf Room, 170 in the Atlantic Room, and a hundred in the Pavilion. Add to these alternatives the cupola and a myriad of private yachts (Boston Harbor Hotel regularly services and caters private yachts, and does their laundry).

Soon, too, there will be another wedding, or any-event, venue. After seven years’ planning, the hotel now managed by Pyramid Hotel Group, will shortly unveil a two-bedroom, 325-square-metre Presidential Suite – another two bedrooms can be added to make it even larger.

It is a bold and stunningly successful venture. Right inside a top cupola, the ninth floor suite has been created out of events space. Look up, through a bathroom ceiling window, into the cupola – from outside, you see both cupola and a hint of the Presidential. Another interesting feature is that the former solid stone wall around the suite’s 84-square-metre balcony has been dramatically cut, in almost-medieval crenellated style, to allow suite guests to have a view. Renderings from designer Rosie Feinberg of SFA Smith Firestone Associates already give a hint of the elegance, of the overall silver-grey hue. Even hard back books, say on Dior, add to the colour scheme.

The hotel has always been independent, but Preferred membership helps, says GM Stephen Johnston. In addition, a 10-year affiliation with Forbes, as five-star, is a great motivator for the 500-strong team.

It’s also attracting new business. This is one of those chameleon hotels which change completely at 3pm every Friday, from Amazon and GE and other senior executives whose offices are nearby through to a drive market come for a weekend of shopping and shows. Although the hotel’s main lobby is also currently being re-done, fortunately nothing is planned to alter Sea Grill restaurant, which has big windows overlooking the harbour and, when winds allow, flows out to the terrace.

Nearly five years ago I lunched here with my dear friends J.B. and Tiffany Dowd and here we were, back again. Tiffany Dowd travels as much as I do – she flew in yesterday from Shanghai, a trip to see Swire Hotel’s newest baby, Middle House. We both agreed that in lives that are so constantly full of change and variety it was essential to instil maximum consistency, so with a smile, or rather two, we both went for exactly the dish we had eaten then, simply grilled salmon.

Yes, this is a very clever hotel, and another big advantage is that it is only eight minutes, by car, from Boston’s Logan International Airport.

All renderings supplied.

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