Revere Hotel, Boston: Style and history on Common ground
Sarah Baxter is part-time Associate Editor of Wanderlust travel magazine and a part-time freelance travel journalist and editor. She has written many features for The Independent, as well as for other newspapers, magazines, blogs and books. She loves exploring the great outdoors, and when she's not thinking travel, she's likely lacing up for a run instead.
Saturday 07 December 2013
In April 1775 revolutionary Paul Revere made his famed midnight ride from Boston Common towards Concord, to warn of the approaching British forces. This namesake hotel is only a block from that common, but very much of the 21st century.
The Revere opened in its current guise last year. The building, a 24-floor concrete behemoth built in 1971, is no beauty, and previously operated as a Radisson hotel. With the exterior a lost cause, the new owners pumped their $37m (£25m) renovation budget entirely into the interior with an aim to create something memorable that oozed "liveable glamour".
With 356 guest rooms, this was never going to be a boutique hotel. However, the Revere is a style-cut above your average big-city hotel. The lobby – an almost space-age shiny white – feels a little cold, but staff are friendly and wear, not name badges, but pewter pins – a nod to Paul Revere's silversmith profession – while bellboys sport Minutemen-style coats with a modern twist.
The Rustic Kitchen Bistro is a relic of the Radisson days and, while pleasant, hasn't quite translated to the hotel's new look. However, the new Emerald Lounge, a place for cocktails and finger food, is far more on-brand. It is infused with Wizard of Oz whimsy – a silver ceiling sculpture mimics a tornado, while a maze of corridors leads to a hidden snug-bar that's like being inside a ruby slipper. The hotel also has a full-size cinema with Italian leather seats and private tables. Once a month, it hosts Reel Chefs ($50pp/£33), where celebrity cooks theme a three-course dinner around their favourite film. Screenings so far have included The Goonies and The Big Lebowski.
The biggest "wow" is the new Level 7 rooftop terrace which opened in May. In its Radisson days this area, leading off from the indoor pool, was an unused space; now it's a 16,000sq ft outdoor bar, with sun-loungers, cabañas, New England trees, wooden monkeys (a playful touch by a local artist) and a bar that whips up lobster rolls and hibiscus punch in the summer months. Next year, the plan is to extend the pool outside, so you can swim above the city.
You don't get "Do Not Disturb" signs at the Revere; instead, doorknob notices read "Talent At Rest". These – like the Shakespeare-quote prints – are a nod to the hotel's location on the edge of the theatre district. Boston Common is also on your doorstep. The oldest park in the US has hosted public hangings, British Red Coat encampments, livestock, as well as addresses by Pope John Paul and Martin Luther King. It's now where the city's historic Freedom Trail begins and – continuing the theatrical theme – it also stages free Shakespeare plays in the summer.
The Revere is at the heart of Boston, so restaurant and bar options abound nearby. For breakfast, make your way to The Thinking Cup (236 Hanover Street; thinkingcup.com), which has the best coffee in town. Arlington T-stop station is a few minutes' walk and Boston's Logan airport is 20-30 minutes by taxi or 40 minutes on public transport.
Given the Revere's more staid Radisson heritage, its aim is to provide comfort with a funky edge. Standard king-sizes are generous, with space for sleep, lounging and work. This means large beds (with pillow menus), chaises for relaxing, oversize tables for plugging in the laptop (there's free Wi-Fi throughout), and you can order from 24-hour room service.
Other pluses are iPod speaker systems, robes and lovely Skoah smellies. Every room comes with a balcony, though their concrete construction makes them feel a little sombre, despite the brilliant Boston views. The 30 suites are a touch more rock-n-roll. Decked out in darker colours, they have couches for sprawling, glam mirrored bathrooms and walk-in showers. The penthouse has a personal library and the best views.
There's no in-room information pack, so unless reception fills you in on arrival, you might be clueless of all the hotel's features. Which is a shame because you can watch a movie, lie by the pool, drink or go dancing, all without having to leave its walls – but you should, because from the Revere the whole of Boston's at your feet.
Boston Common, 200 Stuart Street, Boston, Massachusetts, US (00 617 482 1800; reverehotel.com)
Doubles start at $250 (£168), room only.
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