Best Boston Tourism Tips

The Back Bay Hotel
Defines Sleek Urban Comfort

Where it is: Back Bay

Boston's Back Bay Hotel (formerly the Jurys Hotel Boston) is the answer to the following question:

When visiting Boston, where can you find a luxury boutique hotel with a deluxe minimalist design approach and a location that will allow you to get to most Boston attractions and business destinations easily on foot?

Lounge at the Back Bay Hotel Lounge at the Back Bay Hotel

The Back Bay is a convenient, cosmopolitan home base for business and pleasure travelers alike. It's in the middle of town, within easy walking distance of favorite Boston tourism highlights like the Freedom Trail, the theater district, the Boston Common or the New England Aquarium.

It's also within immediate walking access of the shopping meccas that are Newbury Street and the Prudential Shops and the business heart of the city: the Downtown neighborhood, Hancock Conference Center, and Hynes Convention Center. Even the Boston Convention Center is a longer, but doable walk in nice weather.

Cuffs Bar at the Back Bay Hotel Cuffs Bar at the Back Bay Hotel

One of the advantages of the Back Bay Hotel is despite its being centrally located, it has the unusual advantage of sitting in an unusually quiet pocket of town. Rather than wading through a sea of locals and visitors as you approach the hotel, you'll find your last few minutes' walk to the building peaceful and low-key. This oasis-of-calm perch in a sea of bustle (yeah, I know I'm mixing my metaphors like crazy; bear with me) makes it feel like one of Boston's more private and exclusive destinations.

The hotel's discreet exterior only reinforces the sense of privacy and exclusivity. It happens to reside in a historic landmark: the former headquarters of the old Boston Police Department, and the stately, elegant facade of the nearly one hundred year-old building has been scrupulously maintained – note original details like the police lamps outside the doors on the Berkeley Street entrance.

There are few hints of the sleek, ultra-modern comforts within.

Executive junior suite at the Back Bay Hotel Executive junior suite at the Back Bay Hotel

Enter the lobby and you are greeted by a dramatic, yet serene contemporary sculpture of a woman looking skyward, a conspicuous counterweight to the traditional elegance of the hotel exterior. As you walk through hotel, you'll see that the public spaces have been designed not only to provide comfortable areas for guests to relax, but to create a sense of luxury, intimacy and calm. It's a radical change from the old Jurys Boston Hotel.

The design approach tends toward luxe minimalism. The public rooms are full of clean, bold, inviting furniture and accessories, but not so many pieces that the visual impact of each piece is diluted. Creamy, muted palettes are splashed with jeweled color or graphic patterns.

Even the 24-hour fitness center has been designed with exacting attention to design.

The sense of luxurious harmony continues in the generously-sized guest rooms. The design sense is similar but with in more neutral tones, for an even more soothing effect. And of course there are all the modern comforts you've come to expect in a luxury boutique hotel.

A guest room at the Back Bay Hotel A guest room at the Back Bay Hotel

Guest rooms come with flat screen televisions and complimentary wi-fi. Larger rooms come with Nespresso coffee makers (in-room coffee makers are a vanishing occurrence in any hotel these days). Between beautiful chests of drawers and healthy-sized closets, there is plenty of storage for your belongings.

Lounge at the Back Bay Hotel Lounge at the Back Bay Hotel

And if you are as responsive to a beautiful, well-stocked bathroom as I am, you will be delighted. The large, gorgeous marble and oak bathrooms at the Back Bay Hotel come standard with heated towel racks, large walk-in showers with rainfall shower heads, and Kiehl's bath amenities. Aaaah.

Enjoy the peaceful walk in the last few minutes of your approach to the hotel, but be forewarned: Cuffs, the hotel bar, is a popular destination with locals. Expect a relaxed buzzy vibe, particularly at the end of a workday. If you're looking for a truly quiet spot for a drink, hit Cuffs a little later in the evening, when the after-work crowd has headed home.

The hotel's restaurant, the Stanhope Grille tends to be quieter than Cuffs, but has an excellent, new American menu with an Irish twist. It's also the site of the hotel's delicious daily breakfast buffet, with a wide assortment of breakfast foods available (scrambled eggs, potatoes, etc.) and omelettes and waffles made to order at no extra cost.

This is not a hotel with a lot of spectacular views, but that is very difficult – and very expensive – to find in a hotel with location this central. Happily, the sumptuousness of the place will cause you to forget to notice.

The Back Bay Hotel
350 Stuart Street, Back Bay, Boston, MA 02116; 617-266-7203

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