Philip and I have stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Boston on previous occasions, the first being in January 2013 as part of a short break that took in Washington, Boston and New York. Our first visit left us deeply impressed, with both the Hard product offered (the building, location, furnishings etc.) and the Soft product (the ubiquitous Mandarin Oriental service, style and staff helpfulness), easily bringing into line with other five star properties we have stayed at.
This review is based on our experiences whilst staying at the property in May 2013, when we returned for a short break with my parents, who had not been to Boston since their first holiday together some 25 years ago.
The hotel is located on Boylston Street, and forms part of the building complex that makes up the Mandarin Oriental Residences and The Prudential Centre, to which it is connected via a passkey locked hallway which leads directly into the shopping centres main thoroughfare. The properties central location – steps from Trinity Church and Boylston T stop – makes it ideal for both the business and leisure traveller, with every amenity and attraction being little more than a walk or T ride away. In terms of the building itself, the hotel is one of the newer properties to the groups portfolio, having only opened in 2008, something that is clear from the exterior that shows little signs of urban wear. The outside of the hotel is clad in an attractive cream stone, with details picked out in an off white travertine marble. Selective use of stainless steel and jet black framing add to the impression of a modern building that has been designed in sympathy with the surrounding area.
On this visit we had arranged for the hotel to pick us up from Logan, requesting an Escalade as our preferred means of transport due to the large amount of luggage we were taking. After departing our British Airways flight, in which we travelled First, we were met by a member of the hotels staff and directed towards our waiting car on the arrivals forecourt. The Mandarin Oriental is a 15-20 minute journey from the hotel, depending on Boston traffic – a pleasant enough journey that takes in the Esplanade and the Charles River before crossing Commonwealth avenue and Newbury streets. Arrival at the hotel was pleasant, with the doorman, Tim, who recognised us from our previous visit welcoming us back to the property and assisting with our bags.
The hotel lobby is one of the largest of the Mandarin Oriental group hotels we have been guests of, with an attractive seating area to the left of the door that is furnished in Asian styled materials and a fireplace that gives the area a warm glow. The lobby has many pieces of unique art that have been commissioned by the hotel, with one piece – Meeting on the Mountain – being particularly attractive. The front desk is located on the rear wall of the lobby, where we were greeted by one of the hotel management staff and escorted to our suite. This is one of the pleasant aspects of being a frequent guest at Mandarin Oriental properties, in addition to staying in a high grade of suite – in room check in gets you away from the hustle and bustle of the lobby environment, and allows for a more relaxed experience.
On this occasion we had selected a Premier Corner Suite for our stay, as it connected to a Back Bay room for my parents. This arrangement worked out well, particularly given the Suites oversized living area which was more than enough space for our needs. Our suite was located on the fourth floor of the hotel, and offered pleasant views of Boylston street with the Charles river just visible in the distance. This brings me to my only – and minor – criticism; the hotel, due to its location, does not command such impressive views as other Mandarin Oriental properties we have stayed at (New York and San Francisco as examples). Nevertheless, being able to look out on Boylston street as it comes to life in the mornings was an enjoyable experience. Our suite was 1300 sq ft, not including the connecting room for my parents, and was well apportioned comprising a large living area with a guest washroom attached, and a small business area with several high speed internet access points. The bedroom is located off the living area, with a kingbed – wonderfully comfortable – taking up most of the available space. There is also a large walk in wardrobe located in between the bedroom and bathroom, which had ample room for all our clothes and shoes. The bathroom is easily one of the nicest I have seen, with dual vanity units, a deep soaking tub, a high pressure shower and a Toto Washlet lavatory all present. The amenities provided were Diptyque, not the rather more typical Molton Brown.
The hotel has a fitness centre, equipped with a number of Technogym CV machines and free weights; however, as with other Mandarin Oriental properties I have visited, the weights are not as heavy as my training regime requires – but this is a very minor point that shouldn’t detract from what is otherwise a good gym. The hotel is also fortunate enough to have the only Forbes 5* rated Spa in Massachusetts on site, which, judging by its evident popularity with guests and day-visitors alike, offers a high quality service at a reasonable price point for the location.
The properties on site restaurant, Asana, offers a wide ranging and inspired menu for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, with breakfast averaging $50pp, and dinner being an average of $75-80pp. The quality of ingredients used is excellent, which combined with the sublime service makes for a very pleasant dining experience.
Overall, I would rate the Mandarin Oriental Boston as one of the best in the group, considering the standard of service, the facilities offered and the general ambiance of the property. For reference, the total cost of our stay, including five nights in a Premier Corner Suite, transport and other sundry expenses, was $11210.00