For the quintessential grand-hotel experience, an obsessive homage to the French Riviera of the Thirties, there’s no competition — it’s got to be the newly renovated Taj Boston, at Newbury and Arlington, just across from the Public Gardens.
It's got a history that long predates the Taj name, with a dining room dating back to the hotel’s opening in 1927, a bar that dates to the end of Prohibition, and a particularly long-standing service staff, many of whom have decades of experience.
And the guest rooms are opulent in that familiar style, stuffed with rich fabrics and French-style antiques, with plush overstuffed beds beneath down duvets, classic marble bathrooms, and a few ultra-modern additions — DVD players and flat-screen televisions among them. Views are of Newbury Street, Commonwealth Avenue, and in the better rooms, the Public Garden. Some suites feature wood-burning fireplaces, and all rooms come with working windows, a bit of a throwback in today’s heavily air-conditioned world.
Best of all may be the extraordinarily high standard of service. In this environment of past-meets-present, you’re not expected to fend for yourself against the elements <em>and</em> the gadgetry. The Taj Boston offers every kind of assistance, from a Technology Butler for the electronics-impaired to a Bath Butler to those prone to making messes to a Fireplace Butler for those who don’t quite trust themselves with a poker and tongs — at the first sign of trouble we’d recommend taking tea in the lobby lounge and letting the various butlers sort it out.
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