Every autumn, multitudes of ‘leaf peepers’ (think bird watchers, but for deciduous trees) take to the open roads of New England to see the changing colours of the fall foliage. The Ritz-Carlton, Boston, in the great state of Massachusetts, is a perfect ending after you check out the swathes of colour that escort the north-eastern states of America into a new season.
Winding your through the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the green leaves of the summer turn gold (birch and poplars), red (dogwood and red oak) and almost a neon reddish orange (mountain maple). As the chlorophyll (hopefully you remember your plant-based science lessons) breaks down into smaller molecules, you’re treated to a display that’s as striking as any spring/summer catwalk show, and that orange that was everywhere over London Fashion Week Men’s (Christopher Raeburn, we’re looking to you), it’s all over the Acadian forests too.
It’s a technicolour road trip that should be experienced at least once in your life, culminating with a luxury finale at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston.
Having just undergone an extensive $13 million re-fit by the Rockwell Group, The Ritz-Carlton’s Avery Bar (the hotel sits on Avery Street) is the property’s pièce de résistance and is what you will notice immediately upon entering the hotel’s reception. A white glass chandelier dangles vertiginously over horseshoe-shaped bar, while a wall-incorporated marble fireplace in the back plays host to a crackling fire, sided by floor-to-ceiling wood panelling. It’s rich and alluring, blanketed in soft light.
Rockwell Group’s Gonzalo Bustamante says, “The design concept takes inspiration from the soul of Boston— the distillation of its many heritages through the centuries.”
The lifts are tucked behind an impressive autumnal flora display, ready to whisk you up to the bedrooms. Take note of the 17th-century map of Boston engraved into the vintage-feel mirror inside each carriage – a little history lesson as you’re elevated to the top of the hotel.
The rooms have all been upgraded to a colour scheme that seems to have swept over the north-east luxury scene: greys and blues punctuated with an easy shade of mustard. It’s a contemporary colour scheme (custom blended for The Ritz-Carlton, Boston) that feels light but opulent, and makes for a nice backdrop for local artist, Jon Amburg’s work.
Amenities at The Ritz-Carlton Boston have been given over to the British to manage with mini versions of Asprey’s Purple Water decorating the expansive bathroom and bedroom side table (sewing kit and shoe polisher). For an ideal unwinding, you can ring a personal attendant who will provide a drawn bath service – ‘an antidote to jetlag, a reward at the end of a successful business day, or the chance to pamper oneself’. Services include Boston Tea Party (naturally), Make Way For Ducklings (with rubber duck and hot cocoa) and Isn’t It Romantic (with a clause stating that it’s certainly not for the puritans who founded Boston in 1630).
Top tip: make sure you’re on the Club floor or have access to the Club Lounge. The Club Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston has been reimagined for the business (or leisure) traveller with a sweet tooth and an appetite for fun. It’s a lounge you would imagine Richard Branson designing – business and pleasure in equal measure.
The Club Lounge has its own schedule of food offerings from breakfast to evening canapés to late-night indulgences, and the staff’s one goal there is to make sure you’re happy. Upon entering, there is selection of glass jars housing four options of freshly-baked biscuits (American cookies). Moving on, there is a wall of smaller, lidded glass jars, each brimming with nostalgia-inducing American sweets. Around the corner from that is a full buffet of mini delicacies and fridges of cold drinks – anything you could want.
The team at Candid happened to be there on a fondue night, so later in the evening we piled plates with Belgian waffle wedges, macarons and fresh strawberries and drenched them in warm liquid chocolate. If that’s not decadent enough, there are trollies positioned conveniently around the lounge with all ingredients needed to create your own Pisco Sour or Aperol Spritz. Whilst everything is there so that you can serve yourself, the guys in the lounge will happily help – especially if you’re uncertain as to how much angostura goes into a Pisco Sour (answer: we’re not sure).
You’re never going to want to leave this lounge. Seriously. You’re going to want to take your laptop there in the morning, work all day and stay right through to 9.00pm, when the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are starting to run dry.
However, you really should descend to the lobby and grab a drink at the Avery bar, and as tempted as you’ll be by the cosy fireside seats, sit at the bar, where it’s more interactive with the bartenders. Carrying on with a sweets theme, you can have a Desert First (vodka, amaretto, Khalua and cream) balanced out by something savoury. The Avery has a range of top-ranking bar snacks from cheese plates to charcuterie and mouth-watering New England-inspired dishes like Smoked Lobster Mac & Cheese and Clam Cakes & Chowder.
You can’t go wrong with The Ritz-Carlton, Boston. It’s in the heart of everything – fronting the south-east side of Boston Common – the city’s largest, communal green space, but folded down a charming side street. It’s absolutely Boston at its best.
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